Monday, 20 April 2015

Letting go of needs in relationship

There’s many a pop-psychology and self-help book that advocates making sure your needs are met in relationship. Many don’t go so far as to say we should expect this directly from our lover; but they do set up the expectation that the relationship itself should meet our needs.

Expectations ruin relationships. This is how it works in a so-called ‘romance’. You meet someone and because you’re both open, and there’s some resonance between you, you connect. But very soon instead of simply enjoying the other person’s company you’re asking yourself if you have a future with them. From that point on you’re constantly checking to see if the person you’re with is living up to your internal image of the person you want to ‘spend the rest of your life with.’ (Isn’t that an awful expression? Spending the rest of your life!) Many couples are still checking their internal image decades into a so-called happy-ever-after.

It’s all pretty narcissistic isn’t it? Especially when you ask yourself a few hard questions: Are you meeting all of their needs? Do you have all the qualities you assign to the perfect lover? Maybe we should become perfect ourselves before we demand it from another.

All day long we tell ourselves and others all about our needs. But are they real?
  • I need a coffee
  • I need to get this done
  • I need him to be more affectionate

Do we really need any of these things? What about these?
  • I need to change my reaction to anger
  • I need to get out of this relationship
  • I need to tell my mother how I feel

These latter could indeed be said to be needs. But when we use the powerful word ‘need’ we create a bond that inhibits growth; better to say the same thing in the affirmative:
  • I can change my reaction to anger 
  • I would like to make some changes in this relationship
  • I will tell my mother how I feel

So really we can probably get rid of most so-called ‘needs’ in relationship, being careful not to throw out the real ones: safety of body, mind and soul, respect, honesty, learning and growth, connection and communication.

When you let go of pseudo needs in relationship you can enjoy a person for the qualities they have, rather than focusing on the aspects they lack. When you allow a relationship to be what it is, you free it to fulfil it’s highest purpose in your life. And when you allow your lover to be just exactly who they are, you can go on enjoying what it was that attracted you to them in the first place!

It’s a perfect system really :)


Anonymous said...

Wise words. As always x

Isa Ritchie said...

"Need" is often related to a particular feeling of yearning. Wanting something is often simpler and choosing something is more empowering, but what if the feeling is of "needing?" What if the pattern of needs are so deep-set that you don't know how to let them go?

Maya Devi said...

I think it is much easier to let go of the things that are holding us back once we become consciously aware of what it is we are holding onto. We need to move these 'deep-set' entanglements from our subconscious to our conscious awareness. The best way I have found for doing this is meditation - by training the mind to stay focused in the present we become more are more able to stay aware and awake in our daily lives.