Beggars Can Be Choosers

As one of the world’s greatest introverts (great in the sense of degree of introversion), I might seem an unlikely one to be raising questions about the very human need for interaction and companionship. But even hermity old channels find themselves sometimes wishing or yearning for or trying to find some soul out there who can pump up the old ego or dole out some tender loving care—or just show me a good time.

It’s no big deal. Every now and then we all need a little help from our friends, right? After all, one is the loneliest number, no? It takes two to make a thing go right. Right? A multi-billion dollar recording industry can’t be wrong about what love’s got to do with it, can it?

So I asked The Shower Team about my occasional—okay frequent—need to run to someone when I’m feeling lonely. This celebrated and lamented need of ours to reach out and touch someone—it’s not a bad thing, is it?

You can and often do really chase your tail on this subject. You talk yourselves into quite the idealized and socially reinforced notion that “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world” when in fact you tend to be the most miserable. You so romanticize this idea that you ‘must’ have validation from others, that you ‘must’ feel loved and appreciated and valued and affirmed by others in order to be happy.

You give a great deal of air time to the concept. You write poems and songs and novels and plays and movies about it. You train yourselves into such a belief about it, that you really do have a hard time seriously considering the alternatives.

And yet we continue to say to you, that your flawed premise about ‘needing’ others . . . your seemingly perpetual and so often ill-fated or unrequited search for one or more who will complete you or fill some void or fix some defect or heal some wound or simply give you the reasons you need to feel good . . . is always a slippery slope that tends to lead you in the opposite direction of what you really want.

“But we are social creatures,” you say. “We all need validation.” “We can’t live in a vacuum.” “We can’t help wanting companionship or comfort or connection.” And of course, all those statements are true enough. However, the way you go about trying to get any of those things is frequently at cross purposes with what really brings all those things to you, and in nearly every case, what you really end up doing, over and over, is giving away your freedom, your power to choose your own happiness . . . and even your chances for truly attracting the sort of connection that your heart most desires.

Consider the possibility that every single time that you are feeling lonely . . . or feeling the need for some form of validation, or feeling the absence of some warmth or affection or connection . . . what you are actually feeling is the result of you having pulled away or having turned your attention away from who You really are. You cannot be seeing yourself as Source sees you, and feel lonely or sad or neglected or inadequate or insecure . . . And so when you do feel these things that typically send you off in search of someone who can reflect back to you a more pleasing view of yourself . . . you are, every single time, cutting yourself off from your own knowledge of your own well being . . . and then asking someone else to help restore it.

So what’s so terrible about that, you may ask. And of course, there is nothing “terrible” about that. If you’re fortunate, you have someone around who is willing to offer that affirmation to you, or you can go find someone who is willing to provide a reasonable facsimile. You feel temporarily better and you reinforce your belief that sometimes you just can’t make it without that external pat on the back.

It is not that this is so terrible, it is that it could be so much better for you if you would realize that each time you go in search of that one or more who can help you feel better, all you are really finding is someone willing and able to do for you what you refuse to do for yourself. And how much better would it be if you could skip that middle man and go straight back to the well being that you have turned away from?

How much more attractive would you be if you were inviting others to play with you from a position of strength and satisfaction and well being rather than from a place of need or dissatisfaction or discontent or worse? How much happier with your partners and playmates might you be if you were attracting ones who were a match to your contentment and your fulfillment and your joy and your exhilaration rather than to your sadness or loneliness or sense of lack?

So what‘s a sad sack to do when they really need a friend? Here’s an idea that may really knock you off your assumptions. Try giving what you think you need. Try being what you think you want. Instead of looking near and far for someone else to mirror back to you some worthy aspect of yourself, search yourself for some worthy aspect. Don’t rest until you find something about yourself that you have to give . . . something worth offering to another . . . and then find a lucky recipient for it. It can be you. It can be someone else.

The point is to turn your attention back to what You never really lose sight of, which is that you are worthy, you are valued and valuable. There is so much about you to appreciate and that others would appreciate. Instead of embarking on some quest to find someone who can give you the boost you think you need. . . . try giving a boost instead of searching for one. See how quickly you shift from lost to found, from needy to needed, from helpless to helpful.

When you feel yourself sinking into that place that sends you begging for morsels of affirmation, choose instead to reach into your pockets—always deeper than you remember—and find something to offer. Give it away freely and eagerly and then be prepared to be dazzled by the immediacy with which you begin to feel yourself returning to a sense of your own worthiness. Prepare to be shocked and amazed at how quickly you come back to the empowering knowledge of who You really are and how deliciously you dip back into the stream of well being that always abounds.

And then the really good news: Watch the caliber of your companions and playmates and partners begin to improve as you continue to allow yourself to go with that flow of being—and sharing—the You that you really are. As you turn, each time, from self-pity or self doubt to self-empowering generosity and giving, watch how your view of you changes. And then watch how those viewing you change along with it.

We promise you . . . as you continue to make that choice, your days of feeling the need to beg for affirming handouts will be over.


I know some pop stars and record execs who are not going to be happy to hear this. What’s a co-dependence diva to do if we all start deciding all we need is self love?

Food for thought. It could save me a lot on CD’s for sure. More important, I wonder how much more fun it would be to be the one who has it to give . . . I wonder what I’d find if I really dug deep into my sometimes seemingly empty pockets and handed it over . . . What transformations might await us if all the beggars of the world suddenly realized we don’t need handouts. What difference could that choice make?

As Ms. Alanis Morissette once sang, “I’ve got one hand in my pocket and other one is giving a high five.” Even if it only lasts as long as the song, it feels better than a lot of the other tunes I go around singing. And that leaves me more willing to see what I’ve got to give me—and others . . . and feeling, for the moment, complete.

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on October 7, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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