Another, longer, ramble. All these ideas (I think) will make more sense when I put them into the context of my own life at the end of this mini-series thing. Again, please share your thoughts at the end!
We are always told that we as women feel the desire to be wanted, needed and loved. From my experience this is true, but it is not as strong or as negative as the world makes it seem. We are also told that in order to give love and receive love, we must love ourselves “truly.” This is also true and not as difficult as how the world makes it seem. We are told that in order to overcome these desires we must become a “strong independent woman who don’t need no man,” seemingly ignoring these desires or selfishly getting them fulfilled in the here and now with whomever tickles our fancy.
There is a great DIY, self-help culture lately, especially with YouTube vlogs, which makes it seem as though there is a great journey to reach the point of self-acceptance and where your desires are met. I think the testimony culture within churches escalates this as well, we believe that if we do not have an instantaneous revelation or turnaround that we are on the road of a long journey to freedom. Is there no middle ground? Is it possible to reach this point without the 5 key steps, long wrestling match with doubt and constant stumbling?
I was watching a spoken word piece yesterday that spoke of the guilt of enjoying the physical interactions that we know do not fit in with how we wanted our life’s story to pan out. The lady in the video said rightly, this guilt should not be felt. We were designed to enjoy physical touch so we should not feel guilty about enjoying it or craving more of it, but we should recognise the right time and place for it. Just like within a relationship there are wrong times for PDA and right times and places to enjoy intimacy, in life there are right and wrong times to be enjoying physical touch.
How would love work without vulnerability? If we didn’t have that desire to be needed and wanted would we even go looking for love? We are told that as women we use sex, romance, dates, physical touch and all those things to gain love and that this is a bad thing. Now I’m not advocating going and using all these things to fill the void that can only be filled with love but I am going to say that I think that we, especially us Christian girls, view this desire as a negative thing where it is a natural, beautiful thing that if channelled correctly can enhance love.
As with anyone else, I have made my fair share of mistakes and continue to, so this is written as much to encourage myself as it is to do so for you. It is really hard writing this without including my story as that’s how I processes best, so I will include my journey in the next post. I need to exclude myself though so that I have a set of raw truths to come back to myself.
It all comes back to what I said in my last post, love is a choice that we make, and a choice that must be carefully timed. We must be content without love before we are ready to receive love, otherwise it will become like a drug and we would not be able to function without it. If we approach love as a whole, full person then we will have love to give and not have to rely on another person to fill our empty void.
Okay, so we have the need to be needed and a void that cannot be only filled with love but these must be met and fulfilled before we are ready to receive or give love. How does that even work!? The need we have to feel as though someone needs us and to feel completely, unconditionally loved. No mention of romance there. You can be needed by many people or groups in your life, whether it’s as simple as your dog really needing you to survive, your little sister needing you to hold her while she cries, your gym buddy needing you to keep them motivated to get up at 6am for a run, or your clients at work really needing you, your need to be needed can be met in another capacity if we focus away from finding a significant other.
Non-romantic love can fill that void in the same capacity. The most fulfilling way to satisfy the need for love is learn to love yourself. It is a great cliché, but it is so true! Loving yourself is being content with where you are, accepting where you have been and being determined to make yourself and your future great.
Connecting this back to my original question that started this blog – is this either a journey that lasts a long time or an instantaneous revelation or is there a middle ground? I believe that there is no need for it taking a long time to figure out, however long it takes you to believe that you are loved, needed and desirable and adjust your outlook and behaviour to that is all it takes. There will be no definite finish line as self-worth is something we have to decide daily, but I do not feel as though the journey is quite as long as we sometimes make it out to be.
These needs are only human, but believing that they control us and determine our sense of self-worth is perfectly Freudian. You are needed, loved and wanted in many capacities. Recognising this, deciding this and walking it out on a daily basis is the way that I am finding works to change our mindset to become that “strong independent woman that don’t need no man.” Waking up each morning and realising that you are wanted, needed and loved, complete without a man by your side yet completely and utterly desirable will set you free from being controlled by the world telling you that you need to have your desired fulfilled by a man in order to be happy.
These desires were not built into us to control us, as this normally brings heartbreak and a lost sense of identity. Instead, we were meant to control them in order to and depth and intimacy to our relationships in a safe and healthy way. Without proper control and understanding of these desires we end up in a string of moments to try and quench the here and now. Having a good grip on them will deepen and make a true love more beautiful. Not true love in the Disney sense, but a true love in the sense that your connection with this person is multi-faceted and that it is based on mutual respect, trust and a desire to benefit, grow and bless the other while protecting your heart. A love that you will remain thankful for every day, even if it were to end.