Why did this turn into a bad word? Human beings have always been social by nature. This includes needing to feel seen, heard, acknowledged, cared about. Neediness is the excessive form of this, which yes, is toxic. But it’s not the needing that’s a problem, it’s the imbalance.
We are told our self-esteem must not depend on other people. It must also not rely on what we earn or what we own. And we must find peace & joy in the lives we live. This translates to settle for callousness, never call out exploitation, do not expect kindness and further, paste a smile atop it all. Dissatisfaction is a reminder of how we fail each other. So the cruelty-as-inspiration school of thought relies on shaming a person for having needs, when needing is a sign of being alive. I reject this.
I like being liked. I find joy in shared delight and in relating. Yes, it is succour and support. In contrast, I find myself struggle when I feel disliked, hated, unsupported. My efforts are around making a more comfortable, inspiring life for myself and the people I care about. I reject most labels but this, I embrace. I am defined by my willingness to care for and about other people. This includes allowing room for people to participate in my story. It involves trusting that humanity is larger than my self and has a role for me. It means to let love play a part, not hostility.
I matter enough to myself to let other people matter. Because I share a planet with 7 billion of you and it’s too burdensome to live it pushing all of you away.