Want To Be Needed? People Need You To Be Unnecessary

I’ll admit it: I really like to feel needed.

I like to know that there’s something I can (and must) bring to the table for others. I like knowing that I have unique skills. I like knowing that I give more value than I take.

And (like many people) I’m frightened by the idea that I may one day be unable to bring value to others – that I will need them but won’t be needed myself. I might have dementia. I might lose control of my body. I might cease to be a source.

There’s something innocent about all of this desire, of course. We all want to *do something* with our lives, and we all want to add value to others.

But this desire also springs from motivations which *take* value from others. A desire to be needed can also be grounded in unsustainable neediness – neediness for the affirmation of “being needed.” This desire seeks out and promotes neediness in others, never letting people stand on their own two feet. In the end, while we may fill the needs of others, we leave them just as helpless (or more so) than ever by always being there to fill a void. In “being necessary,” we actually become harmful.

There may be only one way to escape this trap.

We have to realize that – more than anything – people *need* to become free and independent beings. In other words, there comes a time at which people *need* us to be unnecessary.

Maybe we can drive our desire to be needed in that direction. Maybe we can find our necessity in being unnecessary.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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