Marilyn Briant is the author of The Pax Principles - a Red Ribbon Winner 2020, in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards (UK)
“Before entering into any kind of intimate relationships, whether friendship, familial re-connection, or romance, the idea of “needing” or “being needed” must be eliminated. It's harmful to me and others. Need is no kind of foundation for anything. Rather, I choose to be wanted. “Want” is a deliberate choice. Wanting is not based in fear or ego (which are one in the same, I believe). Want comes from recognition of someone else's goodness and loving them for it. Being wanted is unconditional. It does not require emotional games be played, it does not require reparations be made or obligations be met. Being wanted is good, in and of itself.” Jennifer De Lucy
I can’t remember where I came across this quote, and I have to admit I haven't given a great deal of thought to being wanted in this way. But I love the insight offered. I like the statement “being wanted is good, in and of itself.” And I like how this quote asks me to look more deeply into how I view "wanting" and "needing".
When I think of relationships and how I used to feel about relationships when I was younger, I know that often in my mind was “what’s in it for me?” I was happy to give, but I needed to get back too. In most intimate relationships I remember needing to play emotional games, because my thoughts always led me to: “if you loved me, you would…”
Like many of us who don’t love ourselves, I was “needy.” I demanded attention, needed to be liked and loved. If I was hurt, I reacted by hurting back.
I sought love outside myself and although it may not have been a conscious thought, I thought it was good to be needed. I didn’t consider this might mean I was living with fear, that there was something missing in me. I also never thought about how someone else needing me, may reflect the truth that they didn’t feel whole.
In fact, I didn’t really give much thought to what was motivating me or my behavior, in relationships with others.
Not until spiritual awareness opened my eyes was I able to see how I was thinking, and therefore behaving. Only then, did I realize that needing to be with someone was not the same as wanting to be with them. As with so much I was learning, the recognition that fear was behind the way I was feeling and living, helped me unmask what was behind my “needing.”
Being able to connect with the energy of my soul-self prompted me to start intentionally changing my ideas and beliefs about myself and relationships. Recognizing and letting go of fear was a simple enough concept to grasp, but not quite as easy to do! However, as I got more comfortable releasing my fear, the reward was an amazing feeling of freedom—the joy of feeling good just by simply knowing and being myself.
For most of my “unaware” life I’d had a strong need to conform to and/or meet other people’s expectations of me. But letting go of having to do this meant releasing the need for anyone else—it showed me how strong I really am. It was like being given a key to unlock my own goodness, which then opened the door to allowing me to see the goodness in others.
And it felt so good to live from my heart, to embrace forgiveness and practice loving kindness. It felt wonderful to take responsibility for my own happiness, to let go of needing anyone to make me happy.
Perhaps I had not really understood it so clearly before, but l started out on my life’s journey looking for purpose, seeking some kind of peace. And I believed the answers were outside of me. But I ended up realizing that what I wanted was right here inside me.
I discovered I was not who I thought I was! And I exchanged other people's ideas of who I am, with the truth about myself. I began loving who I am, and allowed this self-love to move me towards wanting to love others, for who they truly are.
Instead of needing to have or control anyone else, I chose to offer unconditional love—to want what was best for myself and others.
I understood that when I first thought about it, needing and wanting seemed to be one and the same. Then I realized that wanting comes from a completely different place in me. Needing indicates the absence of something and creates a fear that I may not find or cannot have what I want. Wanting conveys the loving desire to have something that adds to what I already have in my life.
Yes, wanting—not needing—allows me to be who I am. To love unconditionally in a relationship. To let go of expectations and give and accept love as the gift it truly is.