aurum

The Case for Neediness

27 posts in this topic

I've been compiling a list of insights I've had around “neediness” and relationships. In particular, I feel that neediness has become a bit of a bad word on this forum, so I wanted to shake things up a bit.

Some of my influences in writing this were Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (Non-Violent Communication), Teal Swan and Charles Eisenstein. You may wish to check out their work if you resonate with what I've written here.

Would love to hear what you think!

 

**Note**

I will be using the word “need” is a colloquial way that is synonymous with the word “want”.

 

**Note 2**

This advice should be read with extra discernment by those with anxious attachment style or enmeshment trauma. It's also not for people in abusive or codependent relationships. If you're in these situations, please honor your needs and consider leaving. I am mostly concerned here with helping move people from independence to interdependence.

 

 

1. Non-Neediness vs non-neediness

 

We can think of capital Non-Neediness in a Absolute spiritual sense. God is without self and form, yet simultaneously is all things. It is without lack, including even the ability to lack. Therefore we could say God needs nothing. It is Complete. From this perspective, all needs are in fact imaginary, as life itself is a thought in the Mind of God. You as this ego are a thought.

 

We can think of lower case “non-neediness” as more of a relative non-neediness. If I just ate a huge meal, I don't need food at that moment. If I just slept 8 hours, I don't need to sleep more. Needs in this category are generally finite and satiable. They are the needs we are mostly concerned with.

 

We can tap into the Absolute perspective of Non-Neediness, which grounds us. It's sort of a “checks and balance” to living as this finite form.

 

But as a finite entity, perfect non-neediness is impossible to achieve. Even if we are only imagining our neediness. Which brings me maybe the single most important point in all of this...

 

 

2. All human relationships are based on meeting needs

 

Asking people to be totally non-needy in relationships is asking people for the impossible. We cannot not have needs in relationships.

 

In fact, if there are no needs being met, then there is no relationship at all. Needs create relationships. If I truly need nothing from you, and you need nothing from me, there is no reason for us to have a relationship.

 

*note* don't confuse this with a “harsh pragmatism” that sees the world purely from a utilitarian perspective. Your needs actually go far beyond this. Contribution is a need. Love is a need.

 

 

3. You cannot meet all your needs on your own

 

This may be the most controversial piece of this post.

 

We are often taught in spiritual circles to love ourselves, be sovereign, be whole and complete, and to not be attached to anything. Peace comes from within. But these truisms can easily get misconstrued.

 

Not only is it impossible for you to meet all your basic survival needs on your own (food, shelter, clothing, etc), I am going to go one step further. You cannot meet all your emotional needs on your own.

 

People who love themselves and who feel whole and complete do not just sit in a room loving themselves. It's because they love themselves that they seek out and meet their needs. Which often involves others. Self-love includes having others meet your needs, not excludes it.

 

 

**Note** yes, at the highest levels of nonduality where the distinction of “self/other” collapses, this line gets blurry and nonsensical. But it is still practical to make this distinction for our purposes here.

 

 

4. You can either meet your needs consciously or unconsciously

 

There are two choices regarding your needs:

a) Meet your needs consciously and deliberately

or

b) unconsciously manipulate your way to meeting your needs.

 

There simply is no option to be non-needy. Often when people talk about being non-needy, they are only doing so as a strategy to meet their needs. They've learned that when they act not-needy, they (sometimes) get their needs met.

 

When we meet our needs consciously, we can often build synergistic and win/win scenarios with others. We actually become psychologically healthier and can avoid many of the toxic elements of neediness.

 

When we manipulate and go unconscious, it often falls into lose/lose scenarios. Our neediness becomes more toxic and damaging to others.

 

 

5. Clarity of needs is key

 

What do we really need?

 

Much of the toxicity of “neediness” comes not from having needs themselves, but on poorly answering this question.

 

We mistake what we really need all the time. We may think we need a mansion, the latest gadget, or another partner. The potential list of what we could think we need is endless. And due to a lot of trauma and social programming, this list is often thoroughly misguided.

 

If we due not distinguish what our true needs are vs what we have been unconsciously programmed with, that is a recipe for disaster both individually and collectively.

 

What I've found is that most of my real needs are incredibly basic. They tend not to be flashy. Simple things will do just fine.

 

So while it is possible that this clarity will reduce the number of needs you have or tone them down, that is NOT the goal. We are not seeking to get rid of needs. We are seeking clarity, and to let the needs fall where they may. If a surrendering is needed, it will then take place naturally once proper clarity is found.

 

 

6. Commitment requires neediness

 

To commit to a relationship with someone is inherently needy. When we are non-committal and prioritize optionality, it allows us to keep things non-needy. No one is investing too much. We can always change our minds.

 

But when we commit to someone, we are investing. It is no longer non-needy. And yet, the strongest and most fulfilling relationships are based in equally strong commitment. Commitment in a relationship allows for repair when inevitably the relationship struggles.

 

 

7. People want to be needed

This one also goes a bit against the grain. We are told to be non-needy because no one wants to feel pressured. Better to play it cool.

 

And certainly there is some truth there. Coercion or making demands is usually socially unpopular. But in our attempts to play it cool or maybe be seen as “alpha”, we often overlook an obvious point. People want to be needed.

 

To be needed means you are valuable or desirable. It makes people feel like they are bringing something to the table, even if it's just being themselves.

 

 

8. Needing people is where you will find your greatest joy

 

There is a real payoff from isolation that must be acknowledged. That payoff is that you will stay safe.

 

Alone, there is no conflict. No differing agendas or opinions. No one who can let you down or hurt you. No one who can break your heart. No one who can judge you. You can more easily feel into who you truly are, away previous cultural programming.

 

And in this, there is a certain safety.

 

It's important to not demand the part of ourselves that desires this safety to give that up. If that is you, stay safe as long as you need.

 

But eventually some of us will inevitably ask ourselves, is safety our highest priority?

 

Could we maybe redefine safety not as avoiding conflict, but as including it? Could we be safe while still in the jungle that is relationships?

 

Because that is where the most fun is. The complimenting and collaboration of unique forms IS part of the point of being alive and in this world based in duality.

 

But this requires that we NEED each other. And all the vulnerability that goes along with that.

 

 

9. Our social problems come from a lack of meeting needs

 

Why climate change? Why homelessness? Why racism? Why pandemics?

 

These are, of course, extremely complex problems. A full discussion of this is beyond this post.

 

But I will offer one lens here to view these problems, which is a lack of us truly meeting our own needs as well as others. When these shadow needs run unconsciously, it can create havoc socially.

 

It is true that win/win scenarios can be good for those involved but bad for the collective. For example, a corrupt government official and a CEO who work out a deal that is good for both of them, but bad for the country.

 

However, even in a case like this, the problem is that not ENOUGH needs are being taken into account. They are not accounting for the needs of the whole country, just for a small percentage of people.

 

 

10. Telling the truth and honest dialogue requires addressing needs

 

If you do not feel that a person you are talking with is taking into account your needs, you will not listen to them. And that goes equally for the person talking to you.

 

But when everyone's needs are known and on the table, and people feel these needs are being taken into account, it's amazing the dialogue that can open up.

 

We sometimes like to hit people over the heads with the “hard truth” of our opinions. This often never goes far in convincing people, and then we blame them for being closed minded. But often in these scenarios, there are no needs being taken into account by either party.

 

We have to understand that giving harsh feedback is earned through trust and relationship. And this can only occur if needs are being addressed.

 

 

11. Intimacy requires neediness

 

If I don't know what you need, then I don't understand you. And if I don't understand you, we don't have intimacy.

 

So we must know what this person you are in a relationship needs. This causes the person to feel seen, understood, and builds trust. And while intimacy is certainly more complicated that someone knowing your needs, it is nonetheless a necessary prerequisite.

 


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Awesome work, plenty of good things there.

Though, isn't neediness used as a corrupt version of a healthy need in a lot of spiritual circles?

In one case one is bereft and want to take, in the other one receive and it is gifted.

The attitude makes the difference.

Edited by Etherial Cat

Association with the wise is the root cause for obliterating all misery. -  Tripura Rahasya

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21 minutes ago, Etherial Cat said:

Awesome work, plenty of good things there.

Though, isn't neediness used as a corrupt version of a healthy need in a lot of spiritual circles?

In one case one is bereft and want to take, in the other one receive and it is gifted.

The attitude makes the difference.

Thank you. That certainly could be one way that people use the term neediness. People will use different terms differently, which is part of what can make explaining this so challenging.


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Wow, I love it. And I actually agree with you that we can't meet all our needs on our own. I actually had this insight when I was going through some really rough times and realized talking about it helped. All those emotions were too much for one person to process on their own. I realized that there are many things I can't do on my own. The pyramids were not built by one person. That took many. I realized now that my own sort of wellbeing is very much about giving and receiving emotional support and it isn't functional to expect only myself to be able to handle it all. 

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Good points.

Perhaps a more precise way to frame the neediness problem is as follows:

When attracting people, your neediness level needs to be on par with theirs. If you are significantly more needy than the other person then they will not perceive you as attractive. And the higher quality a person is, the less needy they tend to be. So if you want to hook up with high quality people, make yourself less needy. But of course you will still have needs, and so will they. And that's okay because they will be roughly on par.

This doesn't just apply to girls. I also applies to friends and even professional relationships. People want to be friends with those who are strong and capable. And strong and capable people are not desperate to be given freebies.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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2 hours ago, Lyubov said:

Wow, I love it. And I actually agree with you that we can't meet all our needs on our own. I actually had this insight when I was going through some really rough times and realized talking about it helped. All those emotions were too much for one person to process on their own. I realized that there are many things I can't do on my own. The pyramids were not built by one person. That took many. I realized now that my own sort of wellbeing is very much about giving and receiving emotional support and it isn't functional to expect only myself to be able to handle it all. 

Absolutely. One of the first things I tend to do when I really need emotional support is reach out to someone who I know is good for that. Feels very natural and helps a lot.

2 hours ago, Leo Gura said:

Good points.

Perhaps a more precise way to frame the neediness problem is as follows:

When attracting people, your neediness level needs to be on par with theirs. If you are significantly more needy than the other person then they will not perceive you as attractive. And the higher quality a person is, the less needy they tend to be. So if you want to hook up with high quality people, make yourself less needy. But of course you will still have needs, and so will they. And that's okay because they will be roughly on par.

This doesn't just apply to girls. I also applies to friends and even professional relationships. People want to be friends with those who are strong and capable. And strong and capable people are not desperate to be given freebies.

In general I’d say that’s right.

I think we need to be cautious of that mindset though. Thinking that way feels like it can fall into the trap of forcing oneself to be less needy in order to get something. Which as I mentioned in this post should not be the goal.

But of course, if that’s where you’re at, that’s where you are at. Denial of that could also be a denial of needs.


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4 minutes ago, aurum said:

I think we need to be cautious of that mindset though. Thinking that way feels like it can fall into the trap of forcing oneself to be less needy in order to get something. Which as I mentioned in this post should not be the goal.

I agree with this. To a certain extent, I think this mindset has a lot of parallels with the mindset of "the one who cares the least is the one with power in a relationship." Like, power, having the upper end, or "winning" should be nonissues in healthy dynamics imo.

I also like your last point on how intimacy needs neediness. Being able to express your needs in a healthy way is crucial in being vulnerable and opening up to get to know someone. 

Overall, I think the skill that needs to be mastered is to be able to differentiate between being needy vs having needs. 


Speaking into the void that sometimes answers back 

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Also, another thing that I want to add is that hyper-independence is often times a trauma response that happens to people whose needs have been ignored for so long that they cope with minimizing their needs or refusing to ask for help. In a lot of these situation, these people end up making an identity out of not being needy to where they end up neglecting their emotional, social, and mental needs.

I think some people can also run into this problem in spiritual circles in the way some people can get attached to detachment as a way to bypass suffering. Because it feels like it would be easier to detach from a need than to be vulnerable and ask for help outside of yourself. 


Speaking into the void that sometimes answers back 

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29 minutes ago, soos_mite_ah said:

Also, another thing that I want to add is that hyper-independence is often times a trauma response that happens to people whose needs have been ignored for so long that they cope with minimizing their needs or refusing to ask for help. In a lot of these situation, these people end up making an identity out of not being needy to where they end up neglecting their emotional, social, and mental needs.

Yeah, I fall under this category myself. And it's incredibly hard to let go of as it gets entrenched and built into the ego structure. Reinforcing itself again and again as time goes on.

Really good post, OP.


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20 hours ago, aurum said:

10. Telling the truth and honest dialogue requires addressing needs

 

If you do not feel that a person you are talking with is taking into account your needs, you will not listen to them. And that goes equally for the person talking to you.

 

But when everyone's needs are known and on the table, and people feel these needs are being taken into account, it's amazing the dialogue that can open up.

 

We sometimes like to hit people over the heads with the “hard truth” of our opinions. This often never goes far in convincing people, and then we blame them for being closed minded. But often in these scenarios, there are no needs being taken into account by either party.

 

We have to understand that giving harsh feedback is earned through trust and relationship. And this can only occur if needs are being addressed.

 

 

11. Intimacy requires neediness

 

If I don't know what you need, then I don't understand you. And if I don't understand you, we don't have intimacy.

 

So we must know what this person you are in a relationship needs. This causes the person to feel seen, understood, and builds trust. And while intimacy is certainly more complicated that someone knowing your needs, it is nonetheless a necessary prerequisite.

 

Great post !

Following is a insightful and fun podcast episode to explore this topic and especially the 2 points above :

https://tim.blog/2021/08/25/dr-sue-johnson/

Edited by knakoo

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18 hours ago, soos_mite_ah said:

To a certain extent, I think this mindset has a lot of parallels with the mindset of "the one who cares the least is the one with power in a relationship." Like, power, having the upper end, or "winning" should be nonissues in healthy dynamics imo.

Yes that’s another really potentially toxic belief. It’s sort of a favorite in the redpill / pua community.

I do think there’s a place for being conscious of power dynamics in relationships. Like if I’m just investing, investing, investing and it’s not being reciprocated, then I’d want to know that.

But it very quickly can devolve into cynicism and an unhealthy competitive frame. If you’re spending the majority of your time in your relationships thinking about power dynamics, that’s a really bad sign. Because the fact you even have to think about that shows how unsafe you feel in that relationship.

17 hours ago, Gili Trawangan said:

Yeah, I fall under this category myself. And it's incredibly hard to let go of as it gets entrenched and built into the ego structure. Reinforcing itself again and again as time goes on.

Really good post, OP.

Awareness is half the battle. Glad it helped!

1 hour ago, knakoo said:

Great post !

Following is a insightful and fun podcast episode to explore this topic and especially the 2 points above :

https://tim.blog/2021/08/25/dr-sue-johnson/

Thanks for sharing ?


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Thanks Aurum <3


God is love

Whoever lives in love lives in God

And God in them

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Hey @aurum can you give me your thoughts on my situation?

So to preface I've talked to my girlfriend on this topic of neediness and she says I am not "needy" (in the negative sense) at all. She says she loves my energy and how I'm caring yet uncontrolling. I'm quite strong but also soft and vulnerable when necessary and when the moment calls for it. 

Basically I've fallen in love with a woman that is on a different life path than me. I would say this is our biggest barrier: she is potentially going to relocate to a different country for a job and in general she wants to move to a different country in the future but I'm not 100% sure I want to do that. We have been together for several months now and it's hard knowing this and how potentially the relationship will end because of this. It isn't 100% certain she will relocate for this job but it's possible. She has entertained the idea of staying with me here and moving in together (her words) instead but we haven't really talked in depth about long term future plans.

I've remained brave despite of this. I'm trying to balance devotion and faith (which gets a bad wrap today unfortunately when it has a very important role in a healthy relationship) with also being practical. She is heavily devoted to me and has more hope for us than I do actually. I'm just wondering your thoughts on such a situation. It's painful to think about but I knew this from the beginning. I was just going with the flow and being present and we fell super hard for each other. I have no regrets about it though and wouldn't trade it for anything. I've learned a ton about myself, grown a ton, have made unforgettable memories with her and helped her a lot as well. I suppose I just hope things work out for us the long term. I've even been willing to rethink other stuff I never thought I would before like starting a family, if we were to stay together a year or so and still be in a healthy and functional relationship where I felt like this next step would be healthy for us both.

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10 hours ago, aurum said:

You’re welcome!

No, thank you !

You're a blessing to this forum :)


God is love

Whoever lives in love lives in God

And God in them

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5 hours ago, Lyubov said:

Hey @aurum can you give me your thoughts on my situation?

So to preface I've talked to my girlfriend on this topic of neediness and she says I am not "needy" (in the negative sense) at all. She says she loves my energy and how I'm caring yet uncontrolling. I'm quite strong but also soft and vulnerable when necessary and when the moment calls for it. 

Basically I've fallen in love with a woman that is on a different life path than me. I would say this is our biggest barrier: she is potentially going to relocate to a different country for a job and in general she wants to move to a different country in the future but I'm not 100% sure I want to do that. We have been together for several months now and it's hard knowing this and how potentially the relationship will end because of this. It isn't 100% certain she will relocate for this job but it's possible. She has entertained the idea of staying with me here and moving in together (her words) instead but we haven't really talked in depth about long term future plans.

I've remained brave despite of this. I'm trying to balance devotion and faith (which gets a bad wrap today unfortunately when it has a very important role in a healthy relationship) with also being practical. She is heavily devoted to me and has more hope for us than I do actually. I'm just wondering your thoughts on such a situation. It's painful to think about but I knew this from the beginning. I was just going with the flow and being present and we fell super hard for each other. I have no regrets about it though and wouldn't trade it for anything. I've learned a ton about myself, grown a ton, have made unforgettable memories with her and helped her a lot as well. I suppose I just hope things work out for us the long term. I've even been willing to rethink other stuff I never thought I would before like starting a family, if we were to stay together a year or so and still be in a healthy and functional relationship where I felt like this next step would be healthy for us both.

If she is really deadset on this job and moving than it honestly just sounds like a compatibility issue.

You’re both clear with what you want, both with yourselves and each other. But in this case that just doesn’t seem to be lining up.

In my experience, it’s common that there’s sort of “that one fight” that keeps coming up in a relationship. And it sounds like this is yours.

Some couples make it through that fight, some don’t. In my past relationships “that one fight” broke us up every time. But if you make it through I imagine you guys will be stronger for it. It will really cement the bond.

If you have other couple friends, I would maybe talk to them about it. Find people who have worked it out in similar situations and see how they did it.

Wish you guys the best.


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I need a mansion, a few million dollars, at least a dozen Playboy bunnies, my own island, and an endless supply of 5meo, and for basically everyone to just get this and comply already. Not getting any younger here people.  


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4 hours ago, Nahm said:

I need a mansion, a few million dollars, at least a dozen Playboy bunnies, my own island, and an endless supply of 5meo, and for basically everyone to just get this and comply already. Not getting any younger here people.  

Can I be one of those bunnies? xD


Have faith.

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