I’m Needy

by Karen Richter

I’m needy and so are you.

How do you feel about being called needy? Why is needy such a pejorative… one of the worst things we can call someone else? As you’re reading, do you even hear that word differently, like ‘nEEEEEEEEE-dy,’ with an exaggerated tone and a little eye roll?

I'm Needy by Karen Richter, Southwest Conference Blog, United Church of Christ






Our culture, even in our churches, is so infused with American-style rugged individualism. For our children (in lots of families), no skill is prized more than independence. Whether it’s toileting or sleeping solo or shoe tying, we are hell-bent, so to speak, on passing on the values of independence and individualism. English idioms in the US evince a huge cultural preference for NOT being needy.

self-made / ‘self-made man’
pull up by one’s own bootstraps
your own person
independent as a hog on ice
making it / I made that
lone wolf
free mind
live and let live
cup of tea / ‘that’s not my…’
stiff upper lip
stand up / ‘stand up guy’
elbow room
green light
like a dog (doggedness, dog with a bone)
run of / ‘the run of the place’

However… have you tried recently to declare your independence from oxygen? from water? from food? from sleep? … from love?

We need things, and those things are remarkably consistent from person to person. Besides the usual physical needs (food, water, air, shelter), we need respect and fairness; we need to be heard; we need our lives to have meaning; we need a sense of safety. Can you think of other needs?

Today, can you be gentle with yourself? When things go sideways, can you ask, “What need was alive in me when this happened? What need was I trying to meet?”

Today, can you be gentle with others? When you’re tempted to blame and shame, can you ask, “What need might that person be trying to meet?” Even if you guess that person’s need incorrectly, you will have awakened your spirit to empathy.

Stop worrying, then, over questions such as, “What are we to eat,” or “what are we to drink,” or “what are we to wear?” Those without faith are always running after these things. God knows everything you need. Seek first God’s reign, and God’s justice, and all these things will be given to you besides.
~Matthew 6.31-34, The Inclusive New Testament (emphasis is mine ☺)

I'm Needy by Karen Richter, Southwest Conference Blog, United Church of ChristThis kind of empathy for self and for others is a building block of Nonviolent Communication. It’s a helpful skill (I’m totally a beginner).

Explore more about human needs here.

Phoenix NVC Learners meetup

Blessings on your needy human journey!

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