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Learning to Need Others

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Beth Anstandig

Does this sound familiar?

“I’m fine.”
“Oh, I’ll be okay.”
“I don’t want to be a bother.”
“I just need to spend some more time thinking about it.”
“I’ll figure it out.”

These are some of the things we say to ourselves or others when we are in denial of our own needs. Denying our needs is one of the most dangerous human habits, and it seems the more advanced our societies become, the worse this problem becomes.

The further away we are from basic survival, the more we lose our awareness for our basic needs. While this can have huge consequences on our own well-being, it also has ramifications in human groups. Remember, in an animal group, an individual who isn’t getting their needs met isn’t able to serve the group and becomes a liability.

Your human herd is your core support system. Our herd provides the sense of community we all need. Humans are herd animals, and we have always relied on community to be more resilient. For thousands of years, we have shared resources and leaned on each other.  We circled up.

But for a few generations now, we’ve become quite self-sufficient and developed habits that have diminished our practices of giving and receiving support. Relying on others does not make us weak. Quite the opposite is true. Interdependency makes us stronger and more resilient.

So, we need to practice leaning on each other for support, even in the smallest of ways. Expressing needs can be a vulnerable experience because there is always a chance that we will not have those needs met or that someone may judge us. But letting people in to support us can deepen our relationships and enrich our lives.

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