This final principle of love, is usually the most controversial. It states, “Love is a response to need.” In this culture, we associate need with weakness and we don’t want to appear that way, because it will turn-off prospective partners. I used to be terribly independent. I saw myself like one of those Valkyries in a Wagner opera, with the whole metal breastplate and the spear. I believed that God helps those who help themselves. The process of changing began when I discovered a spiritual path that advocated reliance on a loving higher power. I began to surrender a lot of my control, and trust that God would provide, and the universe somehow always did. But I still didn’t quite trust people. In my final year of healing school, my armor finally dropped. I was pregnant with Ariana. I could no longer do everything I wanted, all the time. Sometimes, I couldn’t even carry my own books to and from class. And I started letting people help me. I had a need that they could fill. And as they did so, they reported that they found me more accessible. I actually was more loveable in my vulnerability and my need!
I still don’t love being needy. I also don’t like feeling sad, or confused, or limited. But the truth is, I am. As one of my mentors reminds me, welcome to the human condition. We are all of it, strong and broken, brilliant and stupefied. So why is love a response to need? Well, you can’t love someone who has no needs. You can want to love them, but it will always be a one-way street. It’s like making food for someone who has already eaten. They don’t want to consume what you are offering, they are full. A person who acts like they have no needs, has no way to let your love in. For love to be a two-way street, I have to need something from you, say respect,or affection. When you give it, I receive the gift of your attention, and I give you the experience of yourself as giver.
Here’s a great story that I heard second hand about a man who was part of a monastic order and who went out every day to beg alms. When he asked his master why they did it, he was told, “You are giving these people a tremendous gift. You allow them to get in touch with their surplus, and their generosity.”
These days, I am a lot more willing to ask for what I need. I always get it, although it doesn’t always look like I was expecting. It doesn’t always come from the person I was hoping would fulfill it. And I have to be willing to take responsibility for getting that need met, I am no longer a child that can lie in the crib and cry, hoping my mother will intuit what I need and come and feed me. A lot of what we do in The Desire Course for Women is practice asking for our desires (and needs) to be met, and being willing to fulfill others desires. We break through the obstacles that say “don’t want, don’t need, don’t let anyone see your desire.”
I have some needs you can fill! I ask you to invite anyone you think would benefit from The Desire Course to read about it on this site, and consider joining us in Asheville on Feb 28th. I would also love it if you let me know what you think of this post, by commenting below. And hit the subscribe button on the left to get these posts delivered daily right to your inbox!
Tomorrow: The Skills of Loving #1 Seeing