Neediness as described by The Free Dictionary is:
1. Being in need; impoverished.
2. Wanting or needing affection, attention, or reassurance, especially to an excessive degree.
When we are being needy, we are operating from the belief that we don’t have something that we need, rather than the empowering belief that we are perfect, whole and complete in this moment.
We know deep down that no-one else can make us happy, but boy do we try that route anyway! We think that getting a partner will make us happy, but find ourselves feeling the same once the initial romance has wore off. Nonetheless, we still think they should be a certain way... and then we'll be happy. We know this way of doing things doesn’t work but we still hold on to it. “If only my friend would pay me more attention”, or “if my colleagues were more helpful”… then I’ll be happy. It places a lot of pressure on others and puts our own happiness constantly out of reach. Putting our happiness in the hands of anyone else is a recipe for disaster. We’ve all worked with annoying co-workers and have had friends who we think should behave in a certain way; we’re only human after all. But what would it be like to drop those expectations and “shoulds”? What would it be like to stop expecting someone else to make us happy or start behaving in a certain way before we can be happy? What would it be like to become our own knight in shining armour?
So, how do we move away from needy feelings and behaviours?
1. Spend Time Alone
One of the best antidotes to neediness is learning to spend time alone and getting in touch with your own wisdom. One of the signs of neediness or being out of touch with your own needs is "busy-ness" or feeling over reliant on the company of others. If that’s the case for you, ask yourself honestly “What am I avoiding?” A meditation practice or carving out even ten minutes a day to sit quietly can help you to start getting in touch with yourself and what you need.
2. Ask Yourself: What Do I Need?
What are your needs? When we are feeling needy, we have lost touch with what we really need. If you find yourself feeling upset or irritated that people aren't doing certain things for you or being a certain way - ask yourself what would you like from them? Is it love? Attention? Understanding? Use the needs list to identify what you need. On a practical level, we often need a lot less than we think we do. If you are feeling needy for material possessions, have a look at what need that is flagging up and challenge your own assumption that you need more things to be happy.
3. What Can You Provide for Yourself?
Now look at what you can provide for yourself. The thing is, you can provide for yourself everything you are looking for "out there" and more. If you want love, attention and understanding start giving it to yourself. Getting to know yourself and what makes you tick and providing for your own needs comes down to loving yourself. I'm a big fan of Louise Hay's work, the basic idea being that loving yourself can solve any problem in life. When you love who you are, you take care of yourself. This doesn't mean no-one else will take care of you, it means you provide for your own needs. Then when you are with others you do not “need" something from them. You are perfect, whole and complete. Your relationships become much more satisfying when you don't need anything; you can be really present with the other person.
4. Why Am I Feeling Needy?
Use your feelings as a guide. If you are feeling particularly needy in a certain situation, take a step back and have a look and see what is really going on. What triggers that feeling of neediness in you? Maybe you're in a relationship where the other person is aloof or unavailable, which is leading to those feelings arising. What is the message that your feelings are providing? What are you not getting, that you need? You can then look at providing those needs for yourself as described above and also at the situation you are in honestly and objectively. If you are not getting what you need in a relationship for example, you can then decide the next best step. You can work on transforming that feeling and taking actions to restore balance.
A few years back I was working in a job that was a good fit at the beginning but which over time became oppressive and negative. There were external factors that contributed to these feelings and I can see now that I was out-growing the job. My needs changed. I was ready to step into the calling I was having to be a coach and mentor and was also becoming more interested in entrepreneurship and being self employed. Nothing stays the same, so use your feelings as a guide as to what you are needing right now.
5. Reduce Expectations
Reducing expectations is a good practice to get into and can help reduce the feeling of neediness. Reducing expectations doesn’t mean that you accept less than you deserve, but it does reduce a lot of friction and upset. If we can stay present and learn to detach from expectations, we can learn to accept each moment without it being “less”than we would like.
6. Stay Grounded
The feeling of neediness originates with a thought and can be magnified by over –identifying with our mind. Get in the habit of grounding yourself and bringing yourself back to the here and now. Remind yourself that right now, in this moment, you are fine. Practices like yoga and meditation can help to bring us back to the here and now and reduce the feeling of anxiety or that something is missing.
Remember, you are perfect, whole and complete. Anything else is an illusion.
I have delighted to tell you that I created my first ebook: "Beyond People-Pleasing" and it is now available for FREE download on subscribing via email (if you haven’t already, you can do this at the top right hand corner of my site. Current subscribers will receive a copy by email).