I wrote a book called The Needs of the Heart. It is a simple book that speaks to how we are created to need, and describes specific needs. It is well written, well edited, and not popular!
I suspect it is not popular because it exposes our condition as unavoidably and inescapably in need. I think we are ashamed of being in need, don’t like the reality of not being in control of how we are created, in denial of our condition as needy, or just trained to ignore the lives we could have. Or a combination of the above. Even so, facing our needs just makes common sense and benefits us.
The predominant needs after food, water, shelter and clothing are relational.
Yes, having needs make us needy. That reality is simply reality. And the predominant needs after food, water, shelter and clothing are relational.
It just makes sense that we admit and cultivate a living in the reality of our condition. It just makes sense to get on with living how we are created, instead of attempting to manufacture a human that doesn’t exist.
People who will not admit their own neediness in relationship are like vampires, sucking the life out of others through manipulation and seduction. Or they are like werewolves, savaging others with their bullying and control.
Being in relationship with vampires and werewolves is impossible. It requires lots of shame and contempt towards one’s self, and lots of denial or ignorance. I recommend being in relationship with real humans—the ones who are not better or worse than other humans. The ones who live in the reality of how they are created.
You cannot give what you do not have.
So much energy gets wasted in denial and ignorance of how we are made—to need for our own benefit, so we can, in turn, understand and care for others’ needs. Remember, you cannot give what you do not have. If you don’t care about you enough to admit your own needs, you cannot care about others’ needs, not genuinely. No one is above having relational needs. No one.
Needs demand that we live in relationship, if we are going to thrive: 1) Facing our selves and our own needs. 2) Being with others we need and being able to attend to their needs. 3) Giving our selves to needing a God who created us to need and cares about our needs. All three of those relationships require that we risk our hearts, for sure. That reality is simply reality, too.
The alternative to risk is to exist alone. Alone is not a good option. It doesn’t make common sense. Most of our problems come from trying to find a way around having to be human. We search for some cure or substitute to avoid admitting our relational needs.
Fame and wealth is no cure. Some of the most alone people I have known were famous or wealthy, or both. Addiction certainly is no cure, though it temporarily counterfeits intimacy connection and a sense of well-being. Achievement and activity are good, but they only postpone the experience of being alone, if they are a form of avoiding relational need. Even getting married or having children can leave us alone, if we think that marriage or children can allow us to avoid our own needs.
Needs admitted, and genuinely addressed, make us strong.
Being needy is not a weakness. Quite the opposite. Needs admitted, and genuinely addressed, make us strong. They fill us up and allow us to pour our selves out caring about others. Then, when we are emptied, we refill, restore, or replenish, so we can get on with living well.
Being needy just makes common sense. It makes room for having plenty to share with others.
For further reading, check out The Needs of the Heart by Chip Dodd.