A long time ago one of my friends told me, “I’m fascinated by people who feel a need to be teachers, because I think they really need the people.” I always thought that was an interesting twist on things because most people who become teachers do so because they feel they’re needed by their students.
Something that came to me the other day (I get some of my best ideas in the shower) was, “Who am I if nobody needs me?” Note that’s not, “Who am I if nobody wants me”, because that’s an entirely different subject. But who am I if nobody needs me? It’s an interesting question. We all feel a need to be needed, don’t we? This thought really gave me pause. There was a time in my life when the desire to help people was very strong and my romantic relationships were based on finding someone who was looking for something. I’d help her find out what it was she was looking for, and when she found whatever it was, invariably what she was looking for wasn’t me, and then she’d leave. It came to a point where I’d begin a relationship by asking myself what it was this woman was looking for before she left; leaving wasn’t an ‘if’ at that point, only a ‘when’. Still all of this, for me, was based on an intense desire to be needed by someone, to be able to give something to someone. It was only when I reached a more balanced place within myself that my relationships changed and the type of woman I found for a partner changed also. Eventually it led me to Marcia.
So, what does it mean to live in a world where nobody needs me? A world where I am wanted, but not needed? What does the world look like when I have wants, but not needs? We tend to separate our world into wants and needs, with needs being essential and wants being superfluous. We tell ourselves we can do without our ‘wants’, but we can’t do without our ‘needs’. If we change that picture, what does it look like? What if there are no needs, only wants? What if there are no wants, only needs? There’s power there, because in that world we have only choice. Our idea of needs as ‘essential’ takes away choice, at least to some extent. We tell ourselves we can’t live without these basic needs, and so our choices are taken away with them. In that world we become powerless with respect to our needs… some really intriguing ideas here.
There’s one more aspect I’m going to include here, and that connects to ‘value’. If someone needs me, then I have value, at least in his or her eyes, and from there I can find value in my own. If nobody needs me then I must ascertain my value in other ways, or I must redefine what value is.
I’ve asked a lot of questions in this page, and I’m going to end it here because I think sometimes it’s better to have questions without answers. Sometimes the questions themselves are important. Mull them over, and discover your own beliefs and understandings with regard to this. Is there anyone in your life who ‘needs’ you? Are you certain of this? Is it because you need to be needed? And how do you find value for yourself, within yourself?
Follow this link to read Marcia’s View.