Whether you have personally felt the crushing weight of self-doubt or not, you have probably experienced its strange trappings in some aspect of your life. Maybe it was the girl you fell for who went from your star-crossed sweetheart to the incessant triple texting nightmare, or the guy who went from confident and collected to falling apart in three weeks. Or maybe it’s you. The one who can’t stop worrying, wondering, inferring, and analyzing every word or glance. The once proud and capable human suffering a crisis set to swallow your existence. There is one thing you need to know: Need is not you.
Need is not a choice you make, a life you commit to or a person you can count on. Need is not 3 am stargazing in a field outside town. Need is not the fleeting feeling you will never forget that day at the beach when you swore nothing could get better. That need you feel for love, for reassurance, for some merciful glimpse of certainty, is a call. What you feel that you need is rooted in a thought. That thought becomes lodged, morphing into a nagging emotion. When you let that emotion coerce your higher self to act, Congratulations! You’re now needy. Looked down upon as inferior, unworthy, or crazed. That neediness that now demonizes you in the eyes of the world does not define you, but merely signifies a thought gone too far. And the compassion missing from society’s perception of neediness is where you must begin your healing.
Needy behaviour can be attributed to several deeply held issues that give a voice to your emotions. That need you feel for love that sends your mind buzzing with thoughts like “why isn’t she answering me, does she not love me?” is your inner child afraid to death that mom was right, you really are useless. And so who could love you? That need for attention you feel, resulting in your 6th missed call of the evening is your young self; petrified that your boyfriend won’t be there for you, just like dad wasn’t. The endless concern that she doesn’t really care about you is your grade 9 self, flinching at the thought of being blindsided with another New Year’s breakup. Here lies the secret blessing of your neediness: your SO can never replace the love you never felt, or makeup for the pain you feel. If you’re feeling needy you have been handed down by divine grace the single best opportunity to confront your past and reclaim your life. And it all starts from within.
1. First, understand that your thoughts become your reality
The tape you play in your mind becomes your truth. Find out who the voices are on that tape. Understand where your neediness stems from. A difficult childhood made worse by the ineffectual parenting you received, culminating in an inner void? You must know that no one can fill that void except for you. Identifying your negative self-talk and challenging it with positive, true, and meaningful alternatives will slowly tip the scales in favour of your true self. With dedication, you will see yourself as you truly are; a radiant human the world is blessed to home. Best of all, you will begin to feel it.
2. Understand that your partner is not responsible for your happiness
They may add to your life in ways that make you happy, but they are not your sole light or saving grace. Take stock of your life: write down what makes you happy in your world and what makes you happy about who you are. Read this list every morning and every night, add to it as you go. This will shift the ownership of your happiness back into your mind and reclaim it from your partner’s sovereign life.
3. Understand that your neediness is not your fault
You are not broken, damaged, or weak. You are a person subjected to life and who now must deal with the past. Do not berate yourself for the way you feel. The way someone else has made you feel about yourself is not who you are, only a challenge you must face on your journey to self-acceptance.
Listen, you don’t need to meet an imaginary standard of self-love before you love someone else. You can love blindly, guarded, or not at all. What you must do is acknowledge your pain, shift your perspective to one of self-compassion, and develop the relationship you will have for life. If you love someone, love yourself the way you love them. You would do anything for him, right? Now, what would you do for yourself to make you happy? Prioritizing your own well-being does not mean neglecting love. It means creating an emotional space within yourself capable of sustaining meaningful relationships and fostering the resilience you deserve. So when you feel like calling, texting, or asking “do you love me?” again, remember: first, ask yourself. If the answer is no, get to work.