As the end of 2017 passes us by and we get through January, I cannot help but think: what lessons have I learnt? In what ways have I grown? What have I learnt about myself?
What appears most clear to me, and what I will readily carry into 2018, is acceptance of the fact that I am needy.
I am embracing my neediness. I need validation and that is okay. This is scary considering I have always glamourised being indifferent and independent of needing any reassurance and acceptance from others, and I don’t think that’s uncommon. But truthfully, this apathy just hasn’t worked. Neediness is typically associated with insecurity and self-doubt but it shouldn’t be. Society praises being stoic and self-sufficient but the reality is, we never are.
Humans thrive on validation.
The word for human in Arabic is insaan. The root words for insaan are naaseeya and anisa. Naaseeya means to forget, and therefore in need of constant and consistent reminding. Anisa relates to relationships with others and to our social nature as humans, that friendship, companionship and intimacy are necessary components of our livelihoods and in a spiritual sense, our souls naturally desire closeness with the Divine.
So as social beings we need interaction, our existence needs to be acknowledged by others and we feel worthy when we are. At first, I thought, how can this be? Surely I’d prefer to independent of anyone but Allah – but this would be impossible. We all l receive some sort of validation in our relationships; when our bosses tell us we’ve done a good job when my two-year-old niece tells me she loves me, when my husband shows he appreciates me, when a friend compliments me and so on. All of these interactions are emotionally fulfilling and literally fills me with happiness, like water fills a cup.
They make us feel good about ourselves and the other person – it’s in our fitra. So I’m embracing that.
If I’m not getting that validation then I am going to ask for it – the cup does need refilling every now and then. This will of course sound different with different people. We have the ability and maybe even the right to ask the people closest to us to fill us emotionally. It may sound egocentric but I’m assessing my needs and isn’t that what #selfcare is about?!
I have considered that perhaps it could seem almost insincere to ask someone to validate me, as they might say meaningless sweet nothings just to make me feel a bit better. But if the person I’m asking is someone that is honest, whose opinions I trust and value, then my fear is relieved. In turn, I will be compassionate with others, wear my heart on my sleeve a little more and make the people around me feel appreciated, whether it’s my mother whom I speak to every day or the barista that I might never see again.