Ever find yourself going to the same person for something whether it be comfort, help or understanding even though there are numerous examples showing you that they are not able to meet this need?
It could be a friend, parent, partner, ex, or coworker, and we just keep going back to them and hoping things will be different this time.
Do you feel frustrated with yourself when once again, you are let down and you just cannot understand why they fall back on the same patterns even though you’ve expressed your need to them?
And yet, we still keep going back… Why?
The answer to this is twofold:
First, we all have fundamental needs from childhood that never go away. The basic needs, physical and emotional safety, acceptance, love and belonging, and having power and control over the course of our choices.
If we are to look back at our upbringing, this need that goes unmet, probably has its root from whether those needs were met as a child.
If we were hurt, did someone hold us and soothe our wounds, or did they tell us to toughen up and be a big boy/girl?
When we were confused about a choice that was made on our behalf and a limit was set, were our voices heard and respected, or was it more along the lines being told that we are to do as we are told and not to question authority?
All of these experiences, whether great or small, shape how we perceived our needs to have been met and here is the challenge- those needs are still there as a gaping void of what should be there.
The Should’s I am referring to here are general expectations of how our needs are to be met. For example, our parents should be someone we turn to when life gets blown to pieces, our partners should be our source of support and encouragement or our friends should be there to listen without judgement.
These Should’s are also an extension of our values that color how we perceive the world and those in it.
Going back to how we initially started this conversation of why we keep going back to the same people for elements of our needs that do not consistently get met is where the second piece of this puzzle comes in.
Because we all have these should’s, it is east to fall into the trap of the Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
In theory, it is a fantastic way to live your life in alignment with your values. The issue this becomes for some people is we believe that if we love someone hard enough, they will eventually love us back.
Replace love with any other behavior, and you can see the motivation is the hope to get these needs back.
So then the cycle continues of feeling frustrated, hurt and let down that they cannot meet our needs, validating the negative belief that if we mattered enough, they would give it to us and striving to meet more of their needs so that they will eventually recognize our worth and be there for us.
Often times, we work harder to meet their needs at the expense of our own mental, physical or emotional health.
We give until there’s nothing left for us because of the underlying fear of what the consequence might be. Our parents may be disappointed in us, our partners will think that they are not as important, our friends may feel rejected.
We feel this way more often than not and would never want to be the ones to be the cause of our loved ones ever experiencing this from us.
Ultimately, we fear that those we that mean so much to us, will not accept us as we are, and we will be rejected.
It is that fear of the consequences that leaves us trapped in this cycle.
It is EXHAUSTING! A lot of emotional energy is spent in this game of chess.
This dance of trying to figure out the motives or perception of those around you in order to behave in a way to be met with the least amount of consequences.
If only it were as simple as recognizing this pattern of behavior and NOT doing it.
Changing roles is not the same as just deciding to do it. We have to allot for the shifts in mental capacity, physical adjustments, perception changes and emotional variations until all elements of your being is in alignment with the new change.
As I have mentioned before, these needs will not go away, and so, we have to start accepting that those we keep turning to just do not have the capacity to meet these as we need them to.
There is nothing wrong with what we need and how. That is part of what makes us as who we are as the color of our hair or the shape of our eyes.
The key is finding those who are able to meet these needs naturally.
Building a village of friends, mentors, co-workers, lovers, partners who can give these effortlessly because they are similar to their values.
It is not for us to change our needs, it is for us to recognize that we deserve to be treated in this way- in the way you are able to provide these for others naturally.
It is our responsibility to accept those around us for who they are instead of who we are hoping they may eventually be- just as it is our responsibility to ask for others to accept and respect us for who we are.
My friend shared this recently: Stop going to a Chinese restaurant for Mexican food.
I couldn’t stop laughing because it is so true.
Identify your needs, where they come from and why it is important to you.
Ask for them in that manner so those around you can understand your worldview.
Respect yourself and those around you if they are not able to meet those needs and build a village for your support system that is able to meet those needs effortlessly.
This will take time, and remember that we cannot hope for one person to stand for all of them. It is too much pressure on that person, and it is too much power to hand over.
Over time, as you get to know yourself better and accept what makes you undeniably you, it will become easier to provide those needs for yourself and have those around you as support instead of relying on them to meet these needs for you.
We are in a continuum of becoming, not on a journey with an end result.