Open Gently

Musings on the introspective life.

Are you Needy?

Knowing what you need is essential to taking care of yourself.

 Are you needy?

American culture glamorizes independence. Our country was created by immigrants--people who were brave enough to leave their homelands. 

This is also a country of pioneers--people who pushed into the open country and built farms and ranches. We prize the strong, the self-reliant, the cowboy on the horse on the hill in the sunset.

The other part of that picture? He comes home and drinks himself into a stupor.  

My definition of neediness is allowing your needs to remain unmet. By that definition the cowboy is needy because he is seeking from alcohol what it can't give him---companionship.

In personal relationships, needy behavior includes asking twice or three times after hearing a No.

If you try to get people to behave out of character or beyond their capacities, you are behaving needily. If a talkative woman is married to a taciturn man, she may think of herself as too "needy" because she feels badly when he is silent at the end of the day. Her need for conversation does not make her needy. She's behaving needily if she keeps badgering him or resenting him. Let's say the marriage is beneficial in many other ways: they are financially stable, faithful, and still enjoy making love.  Self-reliant behavior might mean finding a friend who likes to check in on the phone most nights. It could mean trying new things: even if she's never been a reader, she could join a book club and read at night when her husband is silent, knowing she'll have a good talk at the club. Self-reliance can require creativity and persistence. 

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Calling yourself "needy" or burying your needs isn't the answer. Brave is not the same as fearless. You may be brave and full of fears based on experience. Self-reliant people are not without fears or needs--no one is.

It's simple to say but harder to live: You are self-reliant if you find ways to meet your needs. Knowing what you want and need is essential to taking care of yourself.

For editing and coaching on writing, contact me at expertediting.org. 

 

 

 

 

Temma Ehrenfeld is a New York-based science writer, and former assistant editor at Newsweek.

more...

Subscribe to Open Gently

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.