sisters and cousins.
I need you.
Three simple words that pack a punch. You hear it in the cry of a newborn. You feel it when you tiptoe into your sleeping child's room late at night and take in the air of innocence. You see it in the pleaing eyes of your dog. You hear it in the words, I love you.
It's the underlying message behind a recognized job well done, or in a comment like......."we couldn't have done it without you." It hides behind a thank you, a bless you, an "I'm so glad to see you."
When you are given a task because someone knows you're good at it.
When you are hugged by a thankful friend after helping them move.
When you receive an email which reads......."you don't know how much it means to me....."
You are needed.
We may not even be cognizant of striving for those moments of validation. We may think that our actions are performed because we just want to, or we feel obligated, or because it's the right thing to do. But you know what? We do them because we have a desire to feel like we are needed.
What happens if no one needs us? What if we NEVER feel needed, or that all of our needs are met by others due to the circumstances we find ourselves in our lives, and there is never a chance to reciprocate? Why are those words so powerful? Why do we long to hear them?
Because deep down, we all have a need to be needed. Perhaps hearing these words and feeling validated is provides us with the impetus for living. Perhaps knowing we are needed by others keeps our hope alive, especially when the whole world around us seems so dauntingly depressing. If I know I'm needed, I want to get up in the morning again and again.............I want to partake in the life of my community.
I have a REASON to be.
In his book, "Man is Not Alone," Abraham Heschel elaborates on this idea. He proposes that there are many things in life that human beings need in order to survive. And yet, planet earth would carry on because it doesnt need us.
"Who is in need of man? Nature? Do the mountains stand in need of our poems? Would the stars fade away if astronomy ceased to exist? The earth can get along without the aid of the human species. Nature is replete with the opportunity to satisfy all our needs except one -- the need of being needed."
WE need to be needed. It's what gives our life meaning. It doesn't matter if you are the poorest person or the richest person in the whole world. It doesn't matter if you are healthy and independent or living in chronic pain, dependent on others for your care every single day of your life. It doesn't matter if you live in a palace surrounded by luxury, servants and someone who draws your bath, cooks your meals and chooses your wardrobe, or if you live on the street with no home to go to. It doesn't matter if you are you or I am me. WE all live to fulfill our desire to be needed.
It is how we can leave our footprints behind.
No amount of money can buy it. No amount of money can replace the feeling. It's a priceless gift to give and to receive. It is by far our most important human being role.
This year, I said it more times than ever in my life. It has been the most challenging year to overcome rejection. So, I found myself asking for help. A lot. I need you. Please help me. For ideas, for companionship, for practical reasons, for friendship therapy. To help me learn some of the basics of running this house that I didn't know how to do..........like taking a door off its hinges!
Recently I sent out an email to a few people describing a few of my ideas/plans/goals asking for help. I entitled it "Putting it out there..." It was my attempt to put the first pieces of my thoughts into words. To make it more real. I sent it out to make it more real but more importantly, to ask for feedback, advice, support.
I felt a bit naked doing it, but the response was incredible! Not only was it thought provoking. Not only did some of the feedback challenge my novice dreams, thereby fueling my vision. Not only has it put me in a place where I know I have a bunch of folks who will take me to task by asking questions like..... "Hows it going with that dream of yours?" Their individual responses have helped mend me by reinforcing that this dream of mine is doable. If I do it right. If I do my homework. If I plan. With their guidance.
What a life affirming task it is to help one another...... Whether its giving or receiving, the feelings it provokes are broad and intense, which I believe falls under the umbrella of vulnerability. Strip away all the ego feelings, and what is left is a healthy interdependence. The ties that bind.
Sometimes, the person you asked to help you just can't. They don't have the energy. Life may be in turmoil for them as well. Or maybe they havent recognized that as humans we are both givers and takers. Maybe by asking for their help, you may reveal their needs. Is there anything more therapeutic than to help another?
Do you need me? Do we need one another? I need you.