I hadn’t realized that my need for affirmation, the need to be respected and loved, was so strong. It’s always felt like the wishy-washy teenager-in-a-bad-movie motive. I can understand why I feel that way. There’s a lot in my culture about being independent, about not caring about what other people think about you, and about, I guess, how there is this basic arrogance that all stable people have which allows them to not need love or approval. And how that’s good.
Need is seen as weakness, especially a need for other people. And affirmation comes from other people, and a sense of belonging requires people to belong with. These are needs for other people and, worse, they are needs that are internal. If I had a broken leg and I needed someone else to get me food, that’s one thing. Needing someone to tell me I’m worth it? That’s an entirely different and much more serious kind of need.
I’ve never thought of myself as weak.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that one of the things I really fear is being told I’m not good enough. Imagine my surprise when I find out that one of the things I really want is to have people tell me that it was hard, that I’ve done a good job, that they’ve seen me and they love me. That they won’t leave me.
Because I’m scared. I’m scared that people will leave me.
I’m scared that no one loves me, that I’m not worth it.
So I’ve discovered that I need other people. I need them very badly.
I want to be independent too, like all those cool people out there. I want to be able to shrug off the world and its opinions about me. I feel like the only opinion that matters is God’s opinion. Why do I care about the others? Can’t I just let them go?
And maybe that is good, and maybe I will in the future (although something tells me that’s not how it’s going to work for me) but that’s not where I am right now. And I have to deal with where I am right now.
And maybe it’s not good, and I need to embrace my dependence on my community and my need for affirmation and love.
Either way, I’m mad and feelings are dumb.
Because I’m mad and feelings are dumb, this week I will be practicing accepting my feelings. Because if I wasn’t me, I’d let me talk about my feelings even though I thought they were dumb. And yes, I am rather bitter about this. This self compassion stuff sucks.