Do you need somebody?
Or are you strong, independant and totally self-reliant? We live in a world where relying on someone else means you're weak, being called needy is an insult and independance is a badge worn with pride. We're also lonely, disconnected and addicted to all sorts of poor substitutes for deep human connection. I used to think I was really good at 'non-attachment', I thought I was free. Then I realised that I wasn't loving with the completeness of my being and I wasn't totally letting my partner love me, because I was keeping him at a distance. By looking after myself entirely I couldn't get hurt, if he left I'd be sad, but nothing would really change. What happened when I let myself really need my partner? I stepped into the relationship 100%.
But I'm a strong independant individual!
Thankfully we've come a long way since the days where women needed men for putting food on the table and men needed women to cook it. But did we throw the metaphorical baby out with the bath water? Babies raised in long closed orphanages with all their physical needs met but no loving touch didn't just fail to thrive, they died. Children raised by parents who are unable to provide a consistant message that they are open, available and responsive to their emotional needs fall behind developmentally, and we know that even years later as adults they have higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol and lower levels of bonding neurotransmitters such as oxytocin and vassopressin. They usually suck at relationships too, because we tend to favour what is familiar, even if it's negative.
At what age do we magically stop needing
to know someone loves us?
That they are there for us when we reach for them? That we matter to them and are deeply important and cherished? Research on parent / child attachment showed us that babies who are securely attached (who know their caregiver is consistently available and open to them) are much more confident at exploring the world. It makes sense; they know they have a safe base to come back to. Isn't it the same now? If you know your partner choses you 100% , is there when you really need them, choses you over Facebook, or work or anything else and is authentically present with you when you are connecting aren't you far more willing to step up, take risks and live your authentic truth?
Reaching for your beloved, letting them know you need them and being totally available in return is a recipe for a delightful relationship.
Instead we pretend that sex is only for physical pleasure, we really can do everything ourselves without help and sure the company is nice, but heaven forbid, we don't actually need anyone. There is nothing wrong with sex outside of an attachment relationship- but if you don't have an intimate partner- do you have someone? Who is your person? Who do you call the morning after and share how amazing (or not) your night was? We are wired for bonding, our highest evolutionary potential is our ability to experience interconnectivity with others, our greatest joy in life is to Love.
Be someone's Safe Place
Please don't take this as an invitation to become so enmeshed with a partner that you lose who you are as an individual. This type of dependant relationship usually signals that you haven't allowed yourself to surrender to your partner, to trust they will be there for you and so cling to them fearfully. Frightened to go beyond the confines of the partnership incase they are not there when you return. In response you miss out on the exquisite experience that comes with knowing you are someone else's Safe Place.
Become attached to a Higher Power
What about the Yogic and Buddhist Masters who teach that attachment to material things and people keeps you bound to the illusory world and prevents spiritual realisation? Very few reach spiritual enlightenment or even high states of meditation without a secure attachment to a spiritual master or a Higher Power. Like the baby and her mother, we feel safe enough to explore our inner and outer worlds when we know someone will be there for us when we get back, has been out there themselves and can help us make sense of it when we return. You could do it alone, but devotion is a short cut to expanded states of consciousness.
Allow yourself to need someone and be needed in return.
We long for connection, the honor of being trusted with the authentic suffering of others, the gift of seeing their vulnerable heart. And when it comes to intimate relationships, if you want to reach the heights of soul rocking conscious connection and full authentic love, then needing your lover, surrendering to the safety of their deep, open heart and being available and responsive to their needs in return is a very good place to begin.
Sounds good but where do I start?
1. Trust your own autonomy. Know that you can do it all alone if you need to. People come and go, death follows life, the only person that will always be there for you is yourself. When you know you are whole, you no longer have to prove yourself through fierce independance.
2. Outsource to someone you love. When you stand at the bottom of a hill and look up, the brain perceives it as steeper than it actually is. (Your clever brain doesn't want to waste energy going that way). However stand at the bottom of the same hill with a friend and it appears LESS steep. You literally have greater capacity to achieve when you have a loved one by your side.
3. Become available. When a loved one is struggling and grumpy, it's so easy to let their mood rub off on you and become grumpy back or simply keep away from them. Instead go towards them. Be like the parent with a crying child and soothe them with your gestures and words. Share the load emotionally and feel what it is like to be inter-dependant, where one plus one becomes something far more powerful and beautiful than two.