Have you ever found yourself needing to be needed and no clue what to do with yourself if no one needs you? That’s what we’re taking about today.
It’s a wonderful thing, if by nature, you’re a giver or caretaker and you have a strong desire to help people and make a difference in the world. It’s commendable if you’re the kind of person others can rely on and draw from as a source of strength during hard times. This depth of character is as valuable as it is rare. But when you need other people to need you, it crosses the line from healthy to toxic.
Drawing your worth and significance from how much others need you is not a healthy place to be. It builds a wall around you and pushes others away. It can be unattractive and damaging to relationships. There have been many people that I’ve wanted to help, people I cared about, but when I needed them to need me and need my advice, it was no longer a gift for them. Because the second we need to be needed, it’s became all about us.
Serving with the intent of caring and supporting the person right in front of you is very different than serving for your own ego. When you need to be needed, your ego is desperate for validation. Being needed can make you feel good about yourselves, it will make you feel useful and important, but it can quite literally tear relationships apart if done out of desperation.
I’ve learned over the years that people don’t need saving.
People want to be seen, heard, and held capable, not viewed as helpless victims. There is such a difference. When you go through life trying to save other people, it’s like seeing them as a victim, incapable of doing what’s necessary to overcome their circumstances. And if you’ve ever helped someone only to have them lash out at you later, this is likely why. No one wants to be treated like a victim.
This can be confusing for all those sensitive helpers and healers out there in the world. I know you’re just trying to help, but then, your ego muddies the waters.
What about being there for yourself? As a single mom for years, coming out of a divorce and learning how to literally crawl again, then walk again, then run again, I had to learn how to be there for me and my child because there was nobody else. Sure, I had a community of support. I had coaches and therapists, but ultimately, the buck stopped with me and my kid and our life together.
When we recognize that there is a version of ourselves that’s greater than we give ourselves credit for, and when we meet another person or engage with another person and recognize that the life in front of us has greatness in it as well, man, what a difference connection that builds.
If you help freely, it is a blessing and bonds you together. But when you need people to need your help, you begin taking instead of giving. And a wall forms between you and the distance widens.
I’m not saying go live your life alone, and I’m not saying don’t help others. What I am saying is help in a way that empowers and truly serves, not as a way of stroking your own ego. Opportunities to help and serve are all around us, every day. Don’t miss yours.