I Have a Need to be Needed

Called in to work…

Sometimes my sister and I get “called in to work” for my mom and her catering business. Last night was such a night. My sister and I packed up our things and hopped in the car. The drive out to Tebbetts is a long one and usually the time is spent listening to pop culture on the radio.

Well… unfortunately, I don’t really like a lot of songs on the radio right now.

So, I turned the radio off and decided our time could be better spent starting a book club! Exciting, right? I had a couple books in the car. I informed my sister of this plan and then asked if she might be willing to read aloud while I drove.  Luckily, I have the kind of sister that is always “game,” and I had to do very little convincing. As it turned out, she was not only willing, but happy to do so.


I chose the book entitled “On Caring.” Bri started reading and when our brains were full to capacity we would pause to stop and discuss it. It’s an extremely thought provoking little book. We usually only made it about 2-3 sentences each time. (verysmallbrains ;)

This is a particular passage that stood out to me:

The experience of belonging that stems from being needed by my ‘appropriate others’ helps ground me; it is an ingredient of basic certainty… I have a need to be needed, and the need of others for me goes hand in hand with my need for them. Belonging in this sense, goes with my own actualization, and is very different from morbid dependency in which I lose my own integrity.

In this passage, “appropriate others” is a term the author uses to generalize all of the people, ideas, and things you care about. “Basic certainty” refers to the self worth and importance we feel despite our changing environment and circumstances.

“I have a need to be needed…”

How much time do we spend lying to ourselves that we don’t need anyone? How many times do we tell ourselves that WE’RE the only one we can count on? Everyone else will let us down?

First of all, we have to stop lying to ourselves. We can’t count on ourselves anymore than we can count on each other. We’re all flawed. You mean to tell me that you never let yourself down before? You’ve never set a goal and not reached it? You’ve never messed up your priorities and put yourself last?

We are incomplete persons. Not only that, we’re highly flawed, incomplete persons. It’s our caring for others and our need to be needed that helps us feel complete.

Where I am weak, you are strong. 

Humans are like an interconnected web of dependence. I cannot live alone without the help of my brother and sister. It’s absolutely imperative that we are all made so differently in order that we might be able to live together as a whole.

I get frustrated that I’m not like everyone else – who is?! The goal should not be to conform, but rather to know yourself and actualize your own potential. What do I have to offer? AND, what do I need from others? That’s our job to know.

You’re a product of your environment, the contribution you make towards your environment and the people you surround yourself with. All of these things add up to a cohesive story that is your life.

Dependence is reality. Who do you need? Who needs you?

4 thoughts on “I Have a Need to be Needed

  1. I completely agree with all of this. This is very true! Thank you for this. You really are a great sister!! Love you girl!

  2. Awww, I’m totally doing this with my sissy. Even though the books may be 5th grade level….who knows, there may be some great insight in one of those books….right?! lol

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