…has something that makes it tick. For me, I need to be needed. This simple statement is the very core of who I am, it is what drives my decisions, my beliefs, everything. I made the discovery while trying to convince Michelle that life was not about being independent, that it was about the relationships, about having healthy dependencies on other people because a group is stronger than the sum of its parts. She was adamant that independence was key, at which point I realized, not that I was wrong (or right), but that I was different from her in this way. Quick examination made me realize that I’m different from most people in this way.
I remember a conversation with the GD my freshman year about codependence. I thought then, and still think now that I am not codependent. I can survive on my own, but I function an order of magnitude better when I’m in a situation where I feel needed. I found another diagnosis HPD that seemed more inline with me but still off. On one hand, it mentioned needing validation, which I do seek out whether I like to admit it or not, extrovertedness (me in a nutshell), but it also pointed to a character lacking resolution – someone who changed who he or she was just to please others – and a poor sense of reality. That’s not me at all. I’m stubborn, people are turned off by who I am sometimes, and it doesn’t bother me in the least and I’m pretty sure me and reality are on the same page.
But that simple phrase, “needing to be needed”, explains so much. I can point to my love affair with fencing that way. I was needed to be president, I was needed to open a new club, I was needed to be a coach. And when I had taught others to coach, I was no longer needed. It explains why my friendships are so intense, and why historically they’ve had a limited shelf life. It explains my level of job satisfaction at both present and past places of employment. In the context of volunteering I often say “I may seem like a helpful guy, but really I just like making others happy because it makes me happy“. Everything makes sense in this context.
I know have perhaps the most valuable piece of information. My gut reaction was to “fix” it, to become less dependant on others. But I thought about how adamantly I stood by my statement that life is meant to be shared, that others are important when measuring the success of one’s self, and I realized this is not something that would be easily changed. I also looked back at the experiences I’ve had when my need was being met – I have done amazing things, been an amazing person, a person I’m proud to say I know I have in me. So I think I should keep it, and find a productive way to feel needed at work, in my friendships, and in my romantic life, and be the best person I’ve ever seen me be. Next step: Inventory of what I have to offer that someone else might need.