Happy to be Needy

"Needy" - wow, do so many people I know fear ever being seen as "needy." I believe our word choices and the meaning we ascribe to those words have a direct impact on our mental health, and I think we need to differently understand this word. Like now.

"Needy" is a cultural repurposing of the existence of needing other people as a shameful thing. It additionally strikes me as gender-skewed, at least within the dominant culture of which I am a part, a way of shaming predominantly women for speaking up for having needs, for asking for attention, for having a voice. Be smaller, be hidden, do it yourself; be a martyr, be a servant, be independent, be chill.

And if it's used against people of other genders, it is a gendered way of shaming someone and calling them "weak" for having needs.

I don't know about you, but I didn't make the shirt on my back. I didn't construct my car. I didn't get the gas from wherever in the Earth to put into my car. I didn't farm my food, I didn't figure out how to make plastic containers or build my home or fashion my pots. Did you?

My daily existence is dependent on other people showing up for their jobs. And others, total strangers, are dependent on me for the money I spend, predominantly; this is an intricate part of my local and international economy, which is dependent on me and people like me to spend the money we make for the goods we need, so we can all interdependently roll.

We are all needy.

Ignoring my emotional and psychological needs is no less idiotic and irrational than ignoring the fact that I need electricity in my home. If I chose to ignore paying my electric bill because I was telling myself "I shouldn't NEED electricity to survive in my home, because that makes me weak," we would all likely agree that that's a deprivational way to view my needs and the resources available to me (an electric company, electricity).

Similarly, it is deprivational to tell myself I don't need human connection, I don't need to check out the realness and abidingness of my human connections, I don't need love, warmth, tenderness, validation, mirroring, laughter, commiseration, empathy, sympathy, tears, conversation, and to know I'm not alone. It is illogical to tell myself I "shouldn't" need these things, just because they are needs. It is a cultural construction, and a fairly young one, that isolation is the pinnacle of human achievement. Take that to its logical conclusion, and where does that really get us? Alone, barren, depressed - and, literally, a dead species.

Just like electricity is available to me, emotional and pro-social resources are available to me. To you. Everywhere. And we need each other. We are a social species; it is part of how we survive. Go get it. No sorry. 

Blog entries should not be taken as therapeutic intervention, diagnosis, assessment or advice.