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For the life of me, I can’t figure out why we’re so afraid of having needs. Or why we’re so terrified to admit that we do. It’s perfectly natural and healthy to require what’s essential in life, but for many of us, our needs have been the bane of our existence… and I, for one, have spent a lot of years trying to understand why.

Long before I began my own healing journey, I was fascinated by the social sciences and what made people tick. I majored in Sociology. Minored in Psychology. Worked with “special needs” children at a residential summer camp, mainly intervening in cases of homesickness and various behavioral, motivational, and relational issues that required looking beneath the obvious to see what was really going on. As long I was the one doing the looking, I managed to feel pretty good about myself, with no clue that I needed someone to see beneath the surface of my own terrifying need.

I remember hearing Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for the first time in high school. I remember the breakdown of needs, ranging from the most basic (survival, safety, love, and belonging) to the more lofty aspiration of reaching our full potential in life. I remember how it struck a deep chord I couldn’t quite explain, and how I managed to keep it at a safe distance from myself by calling it empathy, compassion, and tender-heartedness for others.

Here’s a little tip for you. If you notice a keen sensitivity to the needs, wounds, and struggles of others, chances are that you have the same needs, wounds, and struggles buried deep inside yourself. If the flip side happens to be true, and you’re easily irritated by the neediness, pain, and struggles of others, look a little deeper {at yourself} and you might just see what’s really going on.

And…if you happen to be as good as I was at denying this bane of my existence, it may take the honest need of a really good friend to chase you down and show you what you can’t see for yourself. Without understanding quite how, a true friend will see beneath your defenses and bridge the distance between the absolute terror of admitting your most primal need for connection and belonging because their very same primal need motivates them to risk being vulnerable enough to admit it.

There ya have it, folks…the beautiful truth that our universal need for safety, love, and belonging doesn’t mean we’re needy. It’s not the bane of our existence at all, but one of the very essentials of a fulfilled life.