The Alchemy of Turning Unmet Needs into Bliss
by Helena Montelius
Have you ever felt needy in a relationship? Or needy because you are single? Needy for more attention, more touch, more sex, more quality time, more help with the housework, more space, more communication, more appreciation, more…Most of us have felt that need/longing for more arise in our romantic relationships and in other relationships as well. And most of us have had the experience of sitting down to talk to our partner; explaining what we need and feeling even more need arise; the need to be heard, understood and seen in our neeeeeeds. And then feeling rejected, unloved, unappreciated, unseen, unmet or disappointed when our partner cannot fulfill our needs for some reason.
If my partner won’t give me more touch, I’ll feel unsatisfied forever, says ego.
If my partner won’t give me more time, I’ll feel lonely forever, says ego.
If my partner doesn’t help out more in the household, I’ll feel exhausted forever, says ego.
Here is a practice to break this cycle of co-dependency:
- Write down a list of what you feel you need from your partner (or, if you are single, write what you need from your future partner that you are hoping to meet), be very specific. For example:
I need more touch. When, where and how do you need more touch? I need my partner to stroke me softly and slowly. I need my partner to hug me when he comes home. I need my partner to reach out to touch me spontaneously and not just before sex. Etc…
I need my partner to see me. What would it look like if your partner truly saw you? He/she would give me a lot of space to share about my feelings. He/she would look into my eyes and speak of something he appreciates about me. He/she would acknowledge my talents and strengths. Etc…
I need my partner to give me more space. What would that look like? He/she would not walk into the office every five minutes to talk about something when I am working. Be OK with me sleeping in my own bed some nights. Let me be emotional and upset when I am. Etc…
The more specific you are; the greater your freedom will be at the end of this practice. Ego doesn’t like specifics; as long as I keep it vague and general (I need more touch is vague) and avoid the how, when and where ego can stay identified as a victim. As the one who is not getting their needs fulfilled.
- Now take your list of specifics and turn it all around to yourself. Write down all those specific things but replace your partner with yourself. For example:
I need me to stroke me softly and slowly. Begin practicing this when you long for touch.
I need me to hug myself when I come home. Sit down and give yourself a welcome home-hug.
I need me to give me a lot of space to share about my feelings. (Sit down with yourself and write down everything you are feeling, or record it on your phone and then really sit and listen to yourself.)
I need me to not walk into the office every 5 minutes while I am working. By allowing you to walk in every 5 min. I am the one walking into the office every 5 min. (Lock the office door or put up a sign “In Session” or “I am working, please don’t disturb” or go to a coffee shop to work or…find solutions to give yourself what you need.
- Now you are busy end engaged in giving yourself everything you need. It’s fun, it’s freeing, it lets your partner off the hook and makes it so much easier for him/her to be around you without this cloud of needy expectations hanging in the air. Let this be your spiritual practice of love for yourself, for God/Goddess. If you are single it will engage you in a deeper relationship with yourself; fulfilling yourself so that when and if you go on a date you show up as this fulfilled person glowing with love instead of a needy, anxious person; and what is going to be more attractive? Isn’t it fine to love at such a level and know you’re not ever going to be disappointed in it? ~Byron Katie
- After some time of the turnaround to the Self, when you feel so overflowing with love and bliss that you just want to share it; find ways to give what you need to your partner, or family members, or friends or even to strangers in the store. This is the turnaround to the other:
I need to touch my partner/others more.
I need to see my partner/others.
I need to give my partner/others more space.
Find specific, practical ways to give to your partner, to others, what you are longing for. There is no need to tell your partner that this is your spiritual practice, just do it. And this is the magic of the turnarounds; while you are engaged in giving your partner more love you get to be in the space and flow of love. You are receiving your deepest longing through sharing it with your partner/others. The receiving is in the giving. It is a gift you give to yourself.
If you want to, you can check in with your partner and ask in what specific ways he/she would like to receive what you are longing to give.
If you find yourself, as I did, in a relationship where the other often is not willing to receive anything from you; pass it on to someone else. When my ex didn’t want any touch or love from me, I would go sit with my dogs and stroke them and just be in a love bath with them. Or go to my daughter’s kindergarten for a few hours and help out and play with the kids and just revel in the love I was sharing with them.
During the times I was really hurting from not receiving what I longed for and not being able to give it to the person I wanted it from the most; finding a dog, a tree, a garden, a friend, a child to give to was hard at first. I felt stuck in my pain, but as I slowly, reluctantly, started giving to another being I came into the flow of love and became fulfilled. That opened me up to living in the flow of love and the boundaries of me and the other dissolved. It’s not like this person owns a certain amount of love that I need to get from him/her, or that I own a certain amount of love that I can dispense or not to another; that is an illusion. While I was busy looking for love I missed the love that is always here. I found that every thought about my needs was a story about the future; in the present moment there is never anything missing.
Seeking love is how you lose the awareness of love. But you can only lose the awareness of it, not the state. That is not an option, because love is what we all are. That’s immovable. When you investigate your stressful thinking and your mind becomes clear, love pours into your life, and there is nothing you can do about it. ~Byron Katie