When my neediness cycle reared its ugly head again in the form of another relationship ending, I got to thinking:
How can I offer myself what I crave from other people?
How can I give myself what I so desperately want from my partner?
(Be careful, when you ask yourself a question like this, the universe tends to lead you to the answer.)
When my kids were asleep and I had free time and wanted to talk and the loneliness would creep in and I would feel the compulsion to ring/text/scavenge for a listening ear, I instead, set out to answer my own question.
What can I do to fill this conversational void for myself?
I decided to invite myself to journal the conversation I had wished to have. At first, I did it with an eye roll, but with time, I began to see how when I journaled, I actually dug deeper into myself–not only that, but I didn’t have the compulsion to unload/dump/word vomit on all my friends every time I saw them after I had the full journal conversation with myself!
What I hadn’t realized before this was that processing aloud with others immediately as thoughts came to me only did a fraction of the work that needed to be sifted through. Journaling and spending some time alone allowed me to cleared my process completely. This was a new experience for me; one that brought an incredible amount of peace into my mind… and life.
Another example of how I answered my own request for attention was when I didn’t want to be the only adult (this happens a lot with sole parents since we do everything alone–school functions, sports practices/games, carpool, discipline, cleaning, bedtime routines, theme parks, bad dreams, traveling, all of it).
How can I fill the space I wish someone else was filling?
I decided to change my perspective. Instead of dreading another trip to the zoo (or grocery store) with two kids and no other adults, I chose to fully embrace each experience I have with my kids, knowing one day they will look back and remember me. Always there. Taking them on adventures (or to get a new box of cereal). I mean, I always have fun, but this was a next level thrill once I made the shift!
I know I won’t be alone forever, but being alone has opened the door to allow me to answer my own questions about myself: my worth, my value, my place in the world–and I treasure that. I am learning to transfer my low key (sometimes not-so-low-key) neediness into alignment with self. I get to create the space and mindset that will free me to live fully in the moment.
It takes courage to put down the remote, turn off your phone, and not reach for your partner to fill the emptiness inside. It’s socially acceptable to keep your mind cluttered with social media, a drink, or a night out when you’re feeling uncertain about yourself. I was actually so dedicated to NOT doing my own work that I kept myself engrossed with fixing all my friends. It’s a tricky thing being a little Miss Fix-It for everyone but MYSELF.
News Flash: Trying to solve everyone else’s problems is distracting you from what is waiting to be aligned within YOU.
If you are tired of the cycle of neediness, anxiety, and emptiness, try committing to paying attention to yourself and learn how to be the answer to your own heart questions. Observe, take notes, lean in. Become an expert on your moods and triggers. Make a practice of not running from your uncomfortable feelings.
Every feeling we have is an invitation to take a deeper look inside of ourselves. What are you feeling right now? And what are those emotions trying to tell you?
So stop reading this, turn off your device, and get to it!