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need redux

Yesterday, my mom told me I needed to learn to reach out more–to need more. She said, “Sometimes people want to feel needed (meaning her).  You come off as someone who doesn’t need anyone. You’ve always been that way.”

I thought about what that meant and if it was true. I thought about writing this. I thought about a male friend of mine who recently told me that I am one of the most contained women he’s ever met–that I seem to do well on my own and take charge of my own happiness. (true)

I thought about reading how men like to be Knights and serve women and wonder if I am denying them the chance. (I hope not!)

I decided perhaps I’m not very objective so I asked my teenage daughter what she thought. I asked her if I seemed like I don’t need anyone.

She said, “I don’t think that’s true. I think you ask for help when you need it. I think you allow yourself to be vulnerable. I don’t think you need anyone to be happy because you’re strong and independent but I think it’s good for you to have someone to love and who loves you.”

I’ve done so much writing about love and boundaries and still feel like I don’t have that many answers.  Perhaps we all just need different things.  I don’t know.  I do know that I know very few people who seem to genuinely love and care for one another. What I see so often is people coping, projecting and pretending.

I’m not terribly good at trusting people.  I’m trying but it’s hard with the models I see around me.  Personally, I don’t think the expression of need is a litmus test of love.  I think love is about kindness and truth.  It’s about giving what you have to give and learning to accept what others want to give.

My mom seemed really proud that my brothers had expressed how much they needed her in their Mother’s Day cards.  It’s true that I didn’t say that.  I said I loved her and appreciated her loving support because that’s what’s true.  I don’t need her love.  I appreciate it.

Is that a difference between daughters and sons?  I see a lot of women raising their daughters to be self-sufficient and a lot of women still wiping their son’s asses either figuratively or metaphorically.  Is it because they are afraid of being alone and not needed?  Are they afraid to say “no” to their sons in hopes that they will be cared for by them in their old age?  I don’t really have any easy answers but it this topic does bring up a lot of questions.

I don’t want my relationships framed around need.  Romantically, I don’t want to just hook up with someone to fulfill a need.  I want deep, meaningful commitment.  I don’t want to be the replacement for someone’s mommy and I’m (no longer) looking for a daddy.

That leaves kindness, truth, fun, laughter, adventure, care and synergy (and sex if they are a lover).  That seems a lot more interesting to me than need.

What do you think?

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