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A Confession of Neediness

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A Confession of Neediness
A woman's hands crossed over her chest

©Shutterstock.com/Elena Ray

If I had a prayer, it would be this: “God, spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation. Amen.” In my last blog post, I shared that quote from Byron Katie’s brilliant book, Loving What Is, saying that it needs to be my prayer. I also said “As long as I look to anyone outside myself for love, approval or appreciation, I am bound to be disappointed or afraid of being.” Amen to that, too!

 

At the time, I was experiencing the most outlandish verbal assaults ever directed my way. They came out of the blue from an old friend who purports and has reason to appreciate me, and whom I really want to support. Pretty disturbing stuff, even though I understand it isn’t personal.

 

I return to Katie’s prayer again now because I realized this morning there’s another situation that calls me to heed her drastic stance. Although the spurning I am experiencing this time around is far more subtle and less critical to my long-term wellbeing than the other one (and it may not be spurning at all), there is a distinct parallel between my unhappy reactions that bares examination.

 

While I am hardly obsessing about the current matter as I have about the other, it lingers on in the back of my mind. It causes me to feel less than good about myself and uncomfortable about how to deal with the people involved when I run into them again, which I am sure to do. That, of course, suggests I am playing a significant part in my unhappiness. It’s a part I must own up to—and really own—if I am to heal my little girl heart from the wounds it apparently still carries.

 

To be whole, let alone holy, I must try to understand and embrace my disappointment and discouragement about this possible rejection, instead of merely wishing them away. The details are so absurd that if I hadn’t already published a book called Bare Naked at the Reality Dance, I might be too embarrassed to tell you. But here it is: Last month, I met two women who seemed particularly interesting and—here’s the (ego) catch—particularly interested in me.

 

Such a winning combination doesn’t occur all that often. Many people are interesting, at least from the perspective of their résumé. But some are so self-absorbed that we talk only about them during our entire first conversation, and (if there are such) the second and third conversations as well. While I find this happens more often with men—sorry guys!—it happens with women too.

 

The other common scenario is people who are interested in me but whom I don’t find all that interesting. So when I meet not one, but two women with whom I seem to share meaningful common ground, and who express genuine interest in me, my ego and I are delighted. I imagine—no, I hope—we will see each other again and be friends. Anything wrong with that?

 

Well, while you and I might not think so, maybe there is. You’ll probably agree that my reaction to the situation was rather normal, and how I followed up appropriate. Both women, whom I met within a week of each other, said they would check out my website. One appeared really enthusiastic about my book, took my card and promised to be in touch soon. The other talked me up excitedly for 10 minutes and suggested we exchange contact information. She promised to invite me to her house to continue our discussion, about a topic of interest primarily to her.

 

So when I heard nothing from either woman after several days, I took the initiative and sent off warm emails. I said how much I’d enjoyed meeting each of them and how I hoped we would reconnect. I offered to follow up on the matter one had said she wanted to pursue with me.

 

It’s been three weeks, and I’ve received nothing but a standard LinkedIn request from one, though I also thanked her for her request. Nary a word from either acknowledging my emails.

 

What the hell is going on?

 

That, dear readers, is what I find myself still wondering a little too often for my own good. Now that I’ve laid it out, I see the explanation could be simple enough. Maybe the women didn’t get my emails, or I didn’t get theirs, though it’s unlikely all went astray. Or maybe they are so caught up in their busy lives they don’t have time for a new friend. Maybe they decided I wasn’t that interesting (obviously the explanation I like least!). Or it’s something else. Who knows?

 

Whatever it is, here’s the bottom line in terms of my own development: I thought these two women were pretty darned cool and I wanted their friendship a little too much. I don’t want to have wanted it, but I did (though I see I am writing in the past tense, a sign I may be moving on).

 

The problem, of course, is that there was at least a hint of neediness in my wanting so much to hear from them and have them become friends. Perhaps they picked up on it and were put off. Either way, that neediness-I-hate-to-feel speaks volumes about my self-worth and my self-care.

 

It says I am not free of the desire for love, approval or appreciation. And I want it from others because I do not yet give enough of it to myself. God bless me, and God bless us all in our ignorance of our beauty—and in the painful fears and desires our ignorance creates.

 

Perhaps this is a good place to stop and drop into my heart, the one almost sure way to connect with the deep-down Self who knows that I am beautiful and that I am enough. To land there, I may need to cry a bit. I’ll see if I can work up gratitude for the two friends-who-may-never-be, for showing me where I am not yet free and bringing me back to my knees to pray with Katie:

 

God, spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation. Amen.

 

As long as I look to anyone outside myself for love, approval or appreciation—or even for friendship—I am bound to be disappointed or afraid of being. And I am not free. May I please do what it takes to love, approve of and appreciate myself, and to value my freedom above all else. More soon about what it takes. Meanwhile, thank you for holding my hand as I confess my fears and desires, in my quest for clarity and liberation, and in hopes you’ll feel free to share yours.

 

Categories: Self-Care
  • MDR

    Brilliant insight. Was delivered at the perfect time.
    Thank you for the bare nakedness of emotional courage.

    • suzanne grenager

      I am thrilled to hear my words struck a timely chord. Thank you so much for inspiring me to keep stripping down and stepping up. Blessings!

  • Mary

    This is very relvant and thought provoking. Looking forward to rereading it and giving you detailed feedback.

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      Thank you, Mary, I am glad. We very much welcome your wisdom!

  • aegiscoach

    Hi, Suzanne, dear friend of my heart. As I read your beautiful “bare naked” post, my mind flashed to colleague Mary Jane Copps who recently wrote about sales prospects whom she labelled “enthusiasts.” Bottom line: It is their personality to come across all warm and inviting and then to, well, move on. In other words, it is not about you/us at all and, yet, we can, as you say, get “hooked.” Oh yeah … that little girl wants connection AND so doth the soul. What the little girl doesn’t always get is that, at the soul level, we are totally connected. I love you.

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      Your insights are helpful, Sheila. How right you are that the *little self* can so easily forget what the great Self always remembers–that we are one in the Spirit, bound together always in love. I am grateful for yours!

  • Jamie

    Suzanne. Thanks for your open and heart-felt disclosure. Sounds as though you worked it out through your writing. What insight you have!

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      You are most welcome, Jamie, and bless you for those kind words. You are right that writing about my neediness has cleared it, at least for now in this particular situation. Your support and others’ made a world of difference. How helpful it is to remember that we are all in the soup together!

  • Mary Pinto

    My dear sweet Suzanne, I have missed you over the summer and wonder when you are coming home to PA so we can celebrate your birthday. I miss you and have been thinking about you lots. You are amazing at how you put out there exactly what you are thinking and feeling, whereas I, and others never let those things see the light of day, not to mention censor what is going on inside. “To thine own self be true.” As our great Shakespeare said a long time ago. And love that little girl within which I love and I know you do too. Love, Mary P.

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      What a sweet, supportive message, Mary! I am touched you have been thinking of me and will email soon about our return. Thank you so much for acknowledging my attempts to shed light on the dark places within. To be true to ourselves in that way seems like the most pressing and valuable — albeit hugely challenging — thing we can do. Your support helps *me* do it.

  • Vicki Fox

    Wow,
    Suzanne, another well written post that I can identify with. Been there, done
    that, continue to do that, though hopefully I am realizing it is my self-love
    that will heal, and not the love from others. I recently read The 5 Love
    Languages, and then decided to take the quiz online to see what kind of love
    language do I speak. I had always been so concerned with what is another’s love
    language so they would understand and love me and give me what I needed.

    I went on 5lovelanguags.com, and I took the quiz. What makes me feel loved most: 1)quality time and 2)affirmations. Then a light bulb went off. Okay, at the
    moment, no unconditional love in my life. My dear cat Tyson, the one who was
    always there for me no matter what, passed last Tuesday.

    The light bulb was to look at what kind of quality time do I spend with myself.
    Truth be told, the things I love to do get put to the bottom of my to-do list
    as I move forward. All too often, I don’t make them happen. As for
    affirmations, I sometimes talk to myself in a way that I would never speak to
    another.

    My intention is to be present to slowly giving myself and that lonely, sometimes
    very fearful little girl inside the quality time she needs. My two-year-old
    grandson is one of my best teachers. His parents are so affirming of just about
    everything he does, that when Gael completes a puzzle, tidies up his toys, and a
    host of other things, they say “Good job, Gael.” Now when Gael does those
    things, he says out loud, “Good job, Gael.” Sometimes, he even claps for
    himself.

    I am starting to say “Good job, Vicki,” every time I remember. I have even
    progressed to clapping for myself at times. And you know what? It feels
    good.

    I heard Cheri Huber speak this week at The Unitarian Church of Harrisburg. My
    favorite quote from her talk was, “The quality of your life is determined by the
    where you place your attention.” The message for me was to pay more attention
    to myself and love me, see what an amazing woman I am and how lucky I am to have all the many blessings in my life. Not a small task, but one I think I am up
    to.

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      “Wow” right back at you. I hear a very strong, admirable intention to shift your attention back to YOU, which you well know is where the source of the love we all seek *lives*. Yes! I especially enjoy that you are learning from a two-year-old how to affirm yourself for the good you do. “Good job, Vicki!” I am sure those of us who know how amazing you are join me in putting our hands together for you and with you. Please keep us posted on progress.

  • Donna Fleetwood

    Thought of your post today when I saw this beautiful sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi dipping a toe in the water. Inscribed on it is ” I am not asking to be loved, I want to love”. As always, I appreciate you sharing your vulnerability with all of us so we may examine our own need for love and acceptance.

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      Thank you, Donna, and I appreciate the connection. You and St. Francis have added another dimension by shifting the focus from *being loved* to *being the lover*. That’s important, because when we feel loving towards others (or our self), we are the first beneficiaries of our own opening hearts. We ourselves will feel that love — we’ll feel *loved* — from the inside out.

  • Dagmar Hempele

    Hello Suzanne!! Its been a long time in person or on your blog. Hopefully with my new computer, I’ll be able to join the party. The topic for me is quite timely, since I’ve just gone thru a similar experience, only mine was 6 different women and 1 man. I was not surprised by the lack of a response, I kinda expected it, after all this is central pa!! It does set you back, you put your energy and good intentions out there, wait for that followup that never happens. I was sad to see you describe yourself as perhaps needy, given your description of the encounters, these women blew their chance to have a wonderful friend in you. You did nothing wrong- why is our 1st impulse always to look for self blame? The folks I encountered may still call me, timing is everything. Ultimately I find that all of life’s seeming roadblocks and setbacks are teaching me how to better love myself and unconditionally love others. PEACE SISTER YOU ARE LOVE

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      Welcome back to the party, Dagmar. It sounds as if you are handling your similar situation beautifully. Many thanks for your support in *mine*. But there is no need to feel sad. I didn’t intend to blame myself, either for wanting the women’s friendship or for feeling needy about it. It is what it is. I meant to convey that I became aware of unhealthy feelings — both of trying too hard when I was with them and caring too much about whether they got in touch with me. That didn’t feel good and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. My hope is that being conscious of when I am acting and/or feeling needy will lead me, as you put it, “to better love myself and unconditionally love others.” I did see the women again. They were friendly but, more critically, I felt much freer of needing them to be, which I like to think means progress!

  • Karen Latvala

    Hi Suzanne, I appreciate your sharing about this deep topic. It’s a common theme for many of us. When I have experiences like that, I stop and remember 2 things: “expectations” and “it’s not about me.” When I can let go of the expectation and realize that either they don’t care (which is okay) or they’re too busy (as you said), it much easier to move on. I trust you’ve been able to love yourself enough and do that! Thanks for the always provocative topics!

    • http://suzannegrenager.com/ Suzanne Grenager

      Thanks for weighing in, Karen. It’s always lovely to have your succinct wisdom added to the mix. “Letting go of the expectation” seems like another, perhaps more palatable version of Byron Katie’s “Spare me from the desire for love….” You are both rightly saying stop looking to others for validation. Your second thing to remember — not to take seeming rejection personally — is equally apt. And yes, thank you, I realized the busy women’s non-responsiveness wasn’t about me, have moved on and am very grateful. Writing about it here and getting comments like yours has helped a lot!

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