Last updated on 07/06/2022
This week, we’re doing more shadow work, connecting with our inner emotionally snotty selves. I know. Almost scarier than connecting with that higher, wiser more miraculous self but just as potent…
Lizzo has been such an amazing role model for me – listening to that phenomenal voice, her lyrics, her exuberance, her JOY and her ownership of ALL the feelings – that I thought y’all might like this.
‘Oh, Eve’s being needy again.’
At a lunch a few weeks ago, I was hugging some of my favourite people on the planet between lunch and dessert and someone said, ‘Oh, Eve’s being needy again.’
Because I was pausing to hug each person. Having ALREADY hugged them all when we first saw each other.
I laughed and asked if they really thought I was needy.
And they ALL said YES.
I shame spiralled
I withdrew emotionally (hello, attachment styles!).
And I mentally scanned all my relationships wondering if I was somehow pathologically needy and never even realised it.
But this hit a nerve
I asked other loved ones, ‘Am I needy?’
Well, I THOUGHT about asking them but figured that would be too needy.
I tapped on it (‘Even though I’m SOOOOOO needy, I deeply and completely love and accept myself).
I worked with my needy subpersonality (in psychosynthesis, we aim to integrate our whole selves by recognising EVERYTHING. By recognising that we each contain multitudes, eg, a Needy subpersonality and an Independent subpersonality, we’re able to observe (with compassion and curiosity), learn from even the parts of ourselves we struggle with the most and integrate more fully.
Something shifted in me.
There is nothing WRONG with being needy
I thought about the gazillions of times I’d encouraged clients, supervisees and students to listen to that needy and vulnerable part of themselves. That emotionally snotty part. Really unattractive. Gross. But…
To be open to its wisdom instead of trying to NOT feel whatever they were feeling.
I made plans to see loved ones who LIKE hugs and asked if a friend was around for a phone call, another if she was around earlier in the day so we could catch up for longer and generally let that needy part of me realise that YES. I’m too much for some people.
It’s OK that I’m too much for some people
(Cry. Weep. Wail. Sob.)
I knew my London visit was around the corner and my loved ones there would be delighted to hug me when I caught up with them all (having not seen most of them in nearly 9 months).
Another friend, when I confessed that I hate being vulnerable, reminded me that NO ONE likes that but we all know from Brene Brown and others that without shining a light on that shame and vulnerability that we ALL have in common, there’s no hope of wholehearted living.
When I remember to treat everything as information, I can ground and centre myself and give myself a mental hug before asking myself what DO I need?
How might I meet that need myself?
As a resourceful 46 year old? How might I connect with my fellow mammals (because let’s face it, we ALL need people. We’re human) in a way that honours all of our styles?
I listened to Lizzo celebrating her feelings and started watching her show on Prime.
I reconnected with the magical west of Ireland landscape that heals me everyday and watched the tumultuously beautiful weather remind me to welcome all the feelings.
I was able to come back to a place of loving these favourite people on the planet without wishing they were more huggy / I was less huggy.
How do YOU feel about that needy, vulnerable part of yourself?
As I draft this, I have part of myself saying, You’re not REALLY going to post it, though, are you?
But yes, I am.
Because when we are shame spiralling, we feel alone. We feel like we’re the only one who ever feels too much / not enough / unlovable / all of the above.
Sometimes all at the same time.
I’m HOPING that by sharing this, you’ll be able to find more compassion for the parts of yourself (subpersonalities in psychosynthesis terms) you find harder to love and accept.
And, of course, the MagnifiCat helps me with this, too.
Cat Coaching for Self Care
When I was drafting this, I heard a howl from the hallway. It continued. On and on. ‘Hello, Gorgeous,’ I called out, hoping she’d accept my half-hearted attempt.
But the MagnifiCat continued.
Urgh, I thought (secretly). Maybe I’ll just give her a treat even though it’s not time for her to have a treat.
OR, I laughed, I could see what she NEEDS.
So I pawsed my work and stood up and asked, with my full attention, How you doing, ‘Angel Cat? What do you want? To be scooped up for cuddles?’
Her purrfect little paws padded up the hallway and into the room I was in. I said, ‘Come over to the front of my feet if you want to be scooped up for cuddles.’ (I usually remember to ask her to do this rather than using my size against her.)
She stopped in front of my giant lobster slippers, I scooped her up and carried her from room to room, showing her bits around the house and repeatedly telling her how wonderful she was.
Yup, I sang to her, too.
And when I put her down, she was quiet and I felt better.
I’ve been offering Cat Coaching for a few years now and it still astonishes me how well treating ourselves as if we were a beloved cat / dog / lizard etc works. If ONLY I believed my own howls of neediness were as adorable as my little Creatchy McCreatchface’s.
Still, as SOON as I applied some Cattitude, (again, Lizzo really helped), things began to shift but for the almost 24 hours I regretted wanting – needing – hugs and having felt so happy to see everyone I hadn’t even questioned getting up to ask for hugs, where I was angry with myself and with them…
This is me after DECADES of working on myself
This is my WORK. It ‘shouldn’t’ have taken nearly 24 hours for me to shake it off (was another unhelpful thought. Which I shook off).
We’re all human.
Step by step, with lots of self compassion as well as care and compassion for others, we can get better at wiping those emotionally snotty noses without compounding the pain we all find ourselves in from time to time.
One of my favourite lines from any movie is Albert Brook’s bereft lamentation, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if needy and desperate were attractive qualities?’ in Broadcast News.
What does that vulnerable, needy part of YOU need right now?
Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know.
And (at the risk of sounding needy and desperate) please feel free to share this post on your social media etc so others who may find it helpful can read it.