Balancing our own needs with being selfless

It is frustrating when I find myself feeling guilty about wanting affirmations from people I love. It is doubly frustrating in that I both want not to need those affirmations, and in that I want to be able to love only for the sake of those I love, with no consideration of myself.

Being needy in wanting to be loved is the hardest thing I can think of to overcome. It is natural to want to be loved – and especially having been raised in an environment largely devoid of that, I understand my own need to try to fill that void. And I have heard all the platitudes that the only love you need is your own. To which I have to say “balderdash”! People are social creatures, and loving and being loved go hand in hand.

Bryant McGill this morning said that “love can be needy, controlling, selfish, conditional and desperate, or it can be confident, open, giving, unconditional, and secure”. But I maintain that as we grow (which is always, isn’t it?), it can also be any combination of those things – and likely in most people typically is some combination of both sides of that “or”. And each exist in each of us – in each relationship – at their own level – not as black and white as the words imply.

As much as we want to be selfless in our relationships, there is an inherent need to be nurtured. But for those with love in our hearts, the desire to see others be nurtured and to nurture others ourselves is just as strong. So love certainly can admit need – and yet be generous. Love can admit fear and yet be unconditional. Of course there is scale, and there are balances. My admission of still being needy today is far less than needy once meant for me.

We cannot ignore the requirements of our own souls. As much as the love in us is paramount, and the love we give others, and the love we have for ourselves being what ultimately drives us. But, for a loving soul – having “love in the air” around us helps strengthen us, helps position us to yet be confident and secure. The balance then, is to keep the “open, giving, unconditional” in our love, as we build toward that strength that allows us to be truly selfless.

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