It’s Monday night, 9:15 pm. I’m unwinding from a long day, listening to some old Babs (Barbara Streisand) songs. Someone just told me she has crippling stage fright. Imagine that, Barbara Streisand and stage fright?? I can’t. This isn’t a common occurrence (listening to Babs), but when Babs works her way back into my life, I just love it! “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world,” she belts. You know the song. She’s great, isn’t she? I got to thinking about the lyrics. Do people really need people? Should we? Who should we need and if we do need other people are we the luckiest people in the world because of it?
The word need brings to mind other words like requirement, essential, necessary. The consensus regarding human basic needs starts with the certain and indispensables such as food, water, sleep and others. Now think higher. After these needs are met, we need safety, love, belonging, respect, family and intimacy. There is another level of need, but lets stay here for a moment. Needing family and intimacy engages other people, a person or people we need. Is needing another person a weakness or a strength? I’d easily argue that it is both, but I’ll focus primarily on the latter.
For some, needing another person or having to rely on other people can feel a bit daunting. Maybe they are the kind of people who would rather just do it themselves. It may give them a greater sense of satisfaction or self-worth. Whatever the case, suffice it to say, needing can be uncomfortable. Okay, so I’m talking about myself, but I know some of you feel the same way, too! You (or me) may stroll along, doing or handling everything by yourself, until you completely burn out and instinctively know you need someone else.
Now, I pride myself on being a strong, independent, self sufficient woman and have strategically cultivated my life in such a way as to avoid “needing” other people, but as I get older and wiser I realize that it’s not so terrible after all to need other people. These days I find myself intensely committed to personal growth and have posed the question to myself; how can I achieve true personal growth if I don’t allow myself to need or at least receive a helping hand when offered? I examine why needing is so uncomfortable and know that it is fear. Fear of loss, disappointment, abandonment, the unknown and a slew of other yucky feelings I try to avoid. So what’s a gal to do when she knows she is no longer able to sustain the “I’M FINE!” persona anymore? One word, three syllables…Therapy
Therapy may still be a bit taboo in certain parts of the country or within some cultures but I’m from a city (New York) and people where going to therapy is like going to Starbucks. Everyone does it, so I’ve never been particularly ashamed of it. Nowadays (is that one word??) sentences or sentence fragments such as “Gotta go, therapy appointment in 10 minutes,” or “my therapist says….” Or “I’ll talk to my therapist about it” roll off my tongue quite frequently. Now, not all therapy is the same and not all therapy is helpful, but if you find the right kind and the right person it can dramatically improve your life, as it’s done mine. Good therapy with a competent professional is priceless and I think everyone, including therapists, can benefit from it. Therapy is a safe space for people to explore ways to improve the quality of their lives and work through tough times. It can be an incredible support system during our weakest moments and a wonderful sounding board even when things are going well. It’s very important to find the right therapist for you. Listen to your instincts (not to be confused with your fears) and you will know if it’s the right fit. I’ve gone through therapists like I did hairspray during the 80’s and 90’s and I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for–I just knew that something didn’t click and I wasn’t going to settle. When I found the right one I just knew it, 100%. Although I don’t know a ton of personal information about my therapist I know, and more importantly, can feel, that she has clearly done a lot of her own personal work and growth to be at such a place in her life where she truly excels at what she does, mainly because she is authentic and just an overall great human being with only the best intentions.
Through therapy I’ve learned that is okay to need, even though it can be uncomfortable at times; to release that fear, allow myself to feel needy and then allow someone to help had a very interesting outcome. It didn’t take away my sense of autonomy, but empowered it even more. I’ve been able to grow in ways I don’t think would be possible without the process. Seeing my therapist keeps me in a reflective mode, focused on what is truly important and nurturing to my being. It has been a tremendously gratifying and positive experience. I’ve gained a healthy form of needing, learned to allow my inspiration to guide me, gained a new sense of purpose to my life and resurrected my creativity. If you haven’t already seen it, there is a quote on one of our walls at Wholistic Fitness that reads “To make a difference, women need to do impossible things and think impossible thoughts…and that is only done in community” (Marilyn Frye). It’s there because we recognize the importance and necessity of needing other people and have created a space for women to be free to do just that. We hope you all find a wonderful community of support within our walls. We are the “luckiest people in the world.”