Posted on August 3, 2019 by Jenn Zatopek
Somewhere along the way we stopped thinking it is a beautiful thing to have needs and wants.
Perhaps it was compassion fatigue or ongoing trauma or a destructive relationship that cultivated the notion that our needs our bad, wrong, or shameful.
Maybe we learned from an early age that our needs were not going to be met by our parents, teachers, or other adults in our lives.
Whatever the causes, it is one of the greatest lies of our time, the idea that we must swallow our neediness with fake smiles, false laughter, and carefully constructed presentations of doing well when really we are hurting inside. The pretense of forced laughter amid deep pain can kill a life slowly, one day at a time. I see it in my counseling clients whose bitterness at life or silent resentments have twisted their souls into unrecognizable humans, bent on perishing rather than flourishing.
As I continue to grow and transform into the woman the Divine has made me to be, I realize the depth of my needs, wants, and desires. The Imago Dei is indelibly stamped on my soul, as it is for us all. Again, this notion of neediness is a good thing, a holy thing, an important thing for humans to accept, nurture, and celebrate.
However, I do not expect others to meet many of my needs all the time, for love and companionship, for friendship and support. But neither do I isolate from other humans and pretend that I am self-sufficient island, an archipelago unto myself.
Rather, I am like these sunflowers pictured above. I used to feel great shame enjoying them as a child. They aren’t grand, right? They are not fragrant roses or delicate bluebonnets or wispy alyssums, blooming in the cool early morning.
Sunflowers are communal. They grow in packs. They thrive together. They lift each other up, and in the wind, their radiant heads dance together and we stand in wonder at such beauty in the midst of the harshness of summer weather.
As a writer and therapist and human, I encourage you to find people who will let you be you, in all your neediness and imperfection, in all your challenges and weirdness. The people who allow you to be fully yourself and love and accept you are like gold coins scattered along life’s paths, like these sunflowers.
Please remember it is good to cry and receive love. It is important to have your worth affirmed by others, and it is equally crucial to find time alone to have your worth affirmed by the Divine who is the author and source of all wisdom and love and compassion.
May you enjoy being a sunflower and know if you are lonely you can be surrounded by others, if only you look around.