according to some dude (who may or may not have shit for brains, but definitely had way too much time on his hands) named abraham maslow, as humans, we all have a set of needs. they are ordered by importance to our survival of mind, body and soul. maslow's five levels of need are presented here copied and pasted as to not interfere with my need to not type all this shit out:
These include the most basic needs that are vital to survival, such as the need for water, air, food and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most basic and instinctive needs in the hierarchy because all needs become secondary until these physiological needs are met.
These include needs for safety and security. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment, health insurance, safe neighborhoods and shelter from the environment.
These include needs for belonging, love and affection. Maslow considered these needs to be less basic than physiological and security needs. Relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments and families help fulfill this need for companionship and acceptance, as does involvement in social, community or religious groups.
After the first three needs have been satisfied, esteem needs becomes increasingly important. These include the need for things that reflect on self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition and accomplishment.
This is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self-actualizing people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others and interested fulfilling their potential.
Only unsatisfied needs are motivators. Once a need is satisfied, the next level emerges as a motivator...ok, enough of the big girl talk - still with me?
the reason i bring this up has a lot to do with the post i made yesterday about feeling like i'm spinning my wheels as far as my kids go. thinking further on it led me to realize that being needed is exhausting. i don't mean just my kids, i mean lots of people in my life need me. ok so it sounds, once again, like i'm stuffed out the ass with myself - but stick with me and see if i can make it clearer.
as an individual and as an adult, my needs are my responsibility, but i may look to others on occasion for backup and/or validation...ultimately though i should mostly have my shit together by now.
- i'm not nearly as needy as i used to be. i've grown to understand that no one else is responsible for my happiness. the actions of others can cause me pain and/or grief, but they can also bring joy and/or laughter. bottom line is the length of time i allow their actions to affect me, positively or negatively, is up to me. i still get needy on occasion but i work hard to recognize it and seek out someone that doesn't mind letting me need them for awhile. at times, if none of those people are available to me, i definitely become a pain in the ass for some poor sap. my individual neediness is about a 2 out of 10 (10 being as needy as a lone wingless baby bat the middle of the desert, in the middle of summer, in the middle of the day. you feelin me?) (+2.0)
as a mother, my role is to help my kids with all 5 of their need levels. now that mine are older, they no longer need me for the first, they have that down. they do, however still look to me for the other 4 - some kids more than others and some needs more than others. this was my commitment to them when i bore them, it is mandatory. it is, at least to some degree, lifelong and it is my first and most important responsibility. when they are able to handle most of their personal needs on their own, then i become a backup and reinforcer when necessary.
- make no mistake, my children can suck the absolute will to live out of me some days with their needs. most of them are of an age where they have the first three levels of need down. level three is still somewhat on-going and levels four and five are constant works in progress. but just because they are capable handling a lot of their needs on their own, doesn't mean they always recognize it. sometimes it's so much easier to revert and defer to the parent. i get this, i still do it on occasion with my mom. my point is, the lazier or the more insecure the child, the greater chance of revert and defer. my children are NOT insecure, but they are still rather unnecessarily needy...their need scales are much higher - probably they are an 8, a 7.5 and a 6.5, for an average around 7. (-7.3)
- my personal need as a mother runs about a 2 out of 10 (perhaps i would be less frustrated as a parent if i were needier and sought more help, but hey.), i don't need a lot, but when i do, i run to my mom - remember that one is lifetime. (+2.0)
- here, i finally have my shit together. after 45 years, 2 marriages and countless fuckups, thank you GOD! now, i can only take some of the credit in finally becoming a secure, confident, capable, trustworthy and loyal partner/lover/friend...but i do have to give props to those i have spent time with in the past. they showed me some of the right things to do and some of the wrong things to do - regardless, i paid attention and i learned. i still deal with PMS on occasion, so i'm a bit needier at times, lol. (+2.0)
- the other half of the equation though, is who we choose to spend our lives with as a partner/lover/friend. if you choose someone that treats you like shit, your esteem needs are going to be harder to meet, not to mention your love and potential-finding needs. i happen to have a partner/lover/friend who is very secure in who he is and in his relationship with me. neither of us is seriously lacking in the need department as far as our relationship goes. (-1.5)
- my family member-self pretty much saw the writing on the wall years ago and got the fuck out, lol...i love my family dearly and i love knowing - without a doubt - that they are there for me IF i need them, as they know i am for them...but honestly, we rarely call upon each other - i need my ma a bit more than my dad or brothers as she is still guiding me through my personal mom thing. (+2.0)
- i would say my family is somewhat needy only in that they need someone to pull them all together - an organizer, if you will. that was me and i've all but let that go. the older they get, the harder it is and the more resistance i get. i now just kind of sit back and let them come to me and they rarely do. (-2.0)
- here, i'm not all that needy either...i have different friends i go to for different things, it is a very well-rounded group that i've surrounded myself with. i don't think i lean on any one person more than any other - just different people for different things. (+2.0)
- they have varying levels of neediness from 8's down to a 2, so i'll average it. (-5.0)
my point is, i'm not incredibly needy - i'm a pretty consistent 2 out of 10 - towards pretty much everyone i have a relationship with. that's a one-on-one basis...one of me needing one of them.
the need level of the average person i have a relationship with is a 4, but the range is from as high as 8 down to a low of 2... and there's a lot of them, lol.
not too surprising is that the area that i am most needed is as a mom and then as a friend. my partner and family members are pretty consistently low maintenance.
what i discovered after analyzing all of this was that when i stopped and learned about the different kinds of need, i was amazed at how differently i was able to see these people that i have relationships with. if i can pinpoint their individual need levels, maybe i can be a better mom/partner/family member/friend for them. right now i'm just exhausted and overwhelmed by it all, but it will pass and hopefully, i will emerge with a better understanding of what each one of them needs and how i can be of real help to them. some may only need me to step off so they can stand on their own a bit more, some may need more from me than i realized and i will have to address that when the time comes.
need is necessary to some extent, i get that. need is a natural function of the human psyche, i get that. need is not the same thing for every one, i get that. what i don't get is why i'm so fucking tired of being needed...perhaps i would miss it if no one were to need me anymore? i'm not sure, but i don't think i need to be needed. i think being loved and appreciated is enough for me. maybe i'm wrong. maybe time will tell.