Never let the neediness of others detract you from your purpose.
You are not responsible for them. They are responsible for them. You are responsible for you.
This is especially true if the needy person is a full-grown adult. I’m not talking about a child. I’m talking about people who desire your attention, affection and time because you help them escape their loneliness and solitude. You help them escape their boredom with your on-demand entertainment.
Don’t be an emotional booty call. Don’t do it. Don’t be that. You are better than that. You can only set the example of what the better way is. Show them a healthier way. You can teach them, if they are willing to learn, but you cannot save them continually until you deplete yourself and your resources.
They challenge your loyalty by contacting you in the most inconvenient times and ways and they use guilt to coerce you into doing something for them. They want to see how far they can get you to go for them. Your 24/7 availability has an inverse relationship with their appreciation of your time and attention. The more you are willing to succumb to their ever changing wants the less they will appreciate your presence overall. The more you bend over backwards for them the less they value you. This is not true all the time for all people but it is often true for needy people. They are selfish because they are hurting. This lends them to be more controlling. You will not only damage yourself but you will damage your most important relationships and connections because you are neglecting your true purpose.
If they play the victim, don’t play the hero. This is wrong. Their purpose is not to be the victim but to rise from it. Yes, they may have legitimate concerns and hard situations but it doesn’t give them the right to take advantage of you. They must grow the strength to support their own independence. Making them dependent on you is only prolonging their paralysis and lack of growth. Ultimately, this is not fair to them or to you. This is not a kindness. It’s manipulative. You can sabotage their future by constantly rescuing them. You don’t want to enable this way of thinking and this sort of behavior. You may feel you are doing something of importance because they make you feel you are “needed.” Your true influence lies in fulfilling your personal purpose and not catering to their comfort or appeasement. They need to struggle otherwise how will they develop stamina and endurance? Yes, the struggle is humbling but the struggle is the opportunity for strength to develop. It is good to have a heart for the hurting but love will let them develop their own strength even if that strength is found through the process of failure.
The needy avoid pain by asking you to come back again and again to soothe their aches. I know you are thinking about that person right now. We all have people like that in our lives. Read what I’m about to write carefully. You ready? Here it is. Do not be their coping mechanism. They need to process through the pain. They need to grow. There is a purpose for pain. It is to inspire us to get moving along. Pain oftentimes drives us forward into something greater. Like a woman who is pregnant in the later stages of her term, she becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the extra weight and changing body conditions as she approaches labor. Because of the discomfort, she becomes so ready to start the process just to get the child inside her out. This is the purpose though, to give birth. The pain is just a catalyst to move us to where we really need to be. Discomfort in our present will stir us to greater purposefulness. We need that type of agitation. It doesn’t allow us to remain put. As friends, we must let our friend’s pain demand a response from them. They can always search for someone else to “need.” Some things we just have to go through alone. It’s perfectly fine for you to wait by the sidelines and root them on but you can’t step in to do it for them. It’s so easy to be this selfish but it costs too many opportunities. Some people keep hopping from person to person for comfort and to avoid pain. Others can face their suffering head on and struggle their way out of it. If we care, and if we are the leadership, we must let our loved ones grow. More often than not, they will find their own way.
“Ok. I read this far. But honestly, I’m the needy one. I keep hurting people around me. I don’t want to do that. What do I?”
Easy. You don’t need a sidekick or a person who can be your crutch. You don’t need a friend with benefits to keep you sedated with sensuality. You need a mentor. You need someone that you respect. You need someone you can confess your struggles with. You need someone older than you. Someone with authority over you who can reprimand or discipline you. You need that agitation. You need that discomfort. Who loves you enough to tell you how it is? Who has the guts to look you in the eyes and plainly show you your failures? Embrace the discipline. This type of mentor will not embarrass you but will work to keep guard over your weaknesses. Open that door of honesty with them. Hide nothing. Share your failures and vulnerabilities and they will help you through the process of growth and development. It’s painful and humbling. It’s hard. You, my friend, are worth the investment. They can help you become the person you always wanted to become. They will also hold you accountable and ask you hard and personal questions randomly. Allow them that authority. Keep them updated with honest updates. Don’t try to negotiate with how honest you will be. That’s already trying to manipulate stuff. You’re the one who needs the help. Submit to the process they guide you through. Remind yourself not to bring other people down or distract them from the calling that God has for them. Stay out of their way. You work on you. Don’t worry about them. God will work with them. Once you have worked on yourself enough to fix all the cracks in your foundation, you will feel healthier, more independent and more capable. Your focus will not turn inward so much but towards greater opportunity that the world has to offer. That moment is a great moment. Then! If your mentor agrees, maybe one day you will become a mentor yourself. It all begins with not getting on that phone and sending that text. Open up your Bible instead.