Long ago and far away, I was once a little kid with the average, random assortment of needs. Yet because of the configuration of my dysfunctional family, those needs didn’t always get met. So, like a lot of us, I learned to hold on and deny my needs.
Throughout my adult life I often made choices that left me doing work I didn’t love, listening to the drone of narcissistic bosses, or tolerating the manipulations of anxious friends and lovers.
As recently as a few years ago I was still telling myself, “You can get through this … it’s almost over.”
That kind of stuff is never okay. It just isn’t. And yet … if you’re like me, you trained yourself to put up with it. Mainly because you believed you had to. For me, I decided that my innermost need for respect, safety, etc. wasn’t actually ever going to be met. Somewhere the small me decided that this was as good as it was going to get.
And yet, Life is an abundant cornucopia wanting to feed us all the riches in heaven … if only we will let it. In the three years since my daughter’s death, I have had a dramatic re-awakening. I have learned, step by step, to dissolve the barriers to my own needs and begin to feed them. It began with acknowledging I even had needs – that I wasn’t, actually, a Bionic woman with Teflon skin and nerves of steel.
What I discovered is that I am actually quite tender. I cry easily and am afraid often. I find I need time and space to make decisions and be productive. And I need remarkable amounts of contemplation and quiet. Life at a not-hectic pace is just right for me these days; I revel in it.
What has come of this is a balanced life. Now that I’ve stopped rushing around, I actually have time to feel those long-suppressed feelings. I have attracted love that is whole and fulfilling with a woman who deeply cares about me, and has no need to control or manipulate me. Nor do I need to do this to her in order to feel safe. Along with her has come an entire community of women just like me, all of us quirky adventurers just happy to be ourselves.
Things like alcohol, sugar and caffeine have disappeared from my life – as it turns out, real life feels better. At the same time, I am happy living far more simply. I no longer need to buy a pair of cute shoes to feel whole and complete. I am discovering I really actually am okay just the way I am.
And so listening within and meeting our needs becomes a loving, spiritual practice.
In this way, I said no to my former business – a successful powerhouse that chipped away at my sense of self. I took down every last piece of it and felt washed with relief.
At the same time, writing work found me that is not only fun and rich, it gives me plenty of time for the rest of life. It is in this environment that I have begun to develop as I was meant to – a woman with needs who, in the end, really doesn’t need that much.
This is the supreme irony. By acknowledging and feeding my needs, by deciding I’m worth it, my frustrated, unmet needs are no longer driving the bus. I no longer need to control those around me, overwork, or bulldoze my way through life to ‘get what I want’. And I am no longer haunted by the hungry ghost that whispers, eternally, that I am not enough.
I am enough, and so are you. Right here, right now, in this sublime moment, is all the joy we can stand, lovingly packaged by God.
May you, too, make time to stop, rest and enjoy it. You do, indeed, deserve it.