When you start to feel needy or insecure, celebrate it completely. Ask your partner to sit in a chair or on the sofa, and sit at your partner’s feet for a few minutes. Enter into your fear of abandonment, the need to be loved completely. Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me. I beg you. I need you so much. I can’t live without you. Please stay with me. Look at me. Look at me. I want you. I need you. Please don’t leave me.
As you enter more fully into this practice, It will overflow from this exploration into deeper feeling. You may find yourself crying. It may evoke long-forgotten memories in you, or even the call of the heart to the divine. If you are the one sitting in the chair or on the sofa, do not react in any way. Above all do not try to reassure or comfort your partner. But equally do not reject him or her. Just look and experience your partner without reaction. Do this practice for about five minutes. Then stand up, shake, and let it go. If you choose to, you can reverse roles. Many couples find it helpful to do this practice every day for a month and then stop. Any feeling you resist will eventually become ugly and something you feel ashamed of.
If you repress sex, it becomes perversion.
If you repress anger, it becomes bitterness and tension.
If you repress neediness, it becomes aloofness and distance.
The dilemma we all get caught in is whether to repress our feelings to try to keep a good façade, or to act them out and risk alienating other people by being “too much.” This is true more than ever with the feeling of neediness. If we show signs of being dependent and clingy, we are afraid that we will become ugly and repulsive to our partner, especially if the relationship is new. The way to transcend this dilemma is through transforming neurosis into art. You can turn any feeling you might otherwise be ashamed of into an art form when you introduce an element of awareness and conscious choice and, even more important, a sense of humor. Whatever is celebrated in this way, neediness, jealousy, control, or criticism, becomes a form of entertainment. Why do people enjoy the films of Woody Allen so much, or Rowan Atkinson? The same personality traits they exhibit could be painful to watch if they were hidden and repressed, but by being celebrated and slightly exaggerated, they are transformed into an art form. When neediness is celebrated in this way, you will actually come to enjoy it. It is a relief to let it pour out; in your totality you will feel passion, tremendous aliveness. And your partner will enjoy it also:
neediness can be sexy, funny, and energizing when it is celebrated as a work of art.
This is an excerpt from my book, Leap Before You Look. Order your own copy here: