No One Person Can Be Your Everything
No one person can be your everything.
We all have needs. Knowing what you need and don’t need, and what you can and can’t get from any one person is so, so useful and important. If we all paid more attention to this, our relationships would improve tenfold.
I mean this In terms of all relationships: romantic, parent/child, friendships, family.
A friend of mine is a big dreamer. She’s got a million beautiful ideas of things to create in the world running through her head always. And every time she tells her sister about them, her sister’s fears and own limitations create her to have a negative, shutting down response. So when she goes to her sister with her big dreams, she always walks away from the conversation feeling squashed.
Each time she tells me about this I say the same thing: STOP going to your sister to talk about big dreams. You’re asking her to support you in a way that she can’t; she doesn’t know how. And you walk away feeling like now you have a million reasons why you can’t do something.
I asked her what she COULD go to her sister for; what was she great at? “Celebrating,” she said. This is great – so when you need to celebrate, have her be the first person you call. Because you’re asking her to support you in a way that she’s great at – so she gets to feel good in that, and you get the celebration you’re looking for. But when you want to talk about big dreams, find someone else who can hold that vision with you.
When you have a need and it can’t get met by someone, ask yourself where else you can go to get that need met.
Needs are interesting things. Many people will not own that they have needs, they think it makes them somehow selfish. This is not true at all – everyone has them, knowing what yours are and acknowledging them is the first step to getting them met. They can be anything, and they are different for everyone.
The difference between a need and a want is this: when you don’t get a need met, there will be a negative consequence that follows. When you don’t get a want met, you might be sad, etc, but it won’t negatively impact you in the same way.
A need I have is to eat good food, all the time. That doesn’t necessarily mean expensive food (though sometimes it does), but it means delicious food. I know it’s a need because when I don’t have the experience of eating delicious food, and instead something I’m eating is underwhelming, I become crabby and irritable. The negative consequence when I don’t eat good food is that it drastically affects my mood, which affects my whole day.
One day last year I was in Vancouver eating brunch with a friend. We both ordered the same thing: avocado toast. She has the same good food need that I have. Two bites in we both looked at each other and agreed that our meal was awful. It was dry and bland and just all around not good. We’d already paid, so we just left. And found somewhere else to eat that was much better. So I paid for a meal twice because getting that need met was so important to me.
This is fortunately a need I can meet for myself, because I like to cook and am good at it. If I wasn’t or didn’t, I’d have to find a different way to get that met. Maybe I’d eat out more, or who knows?
Sometimes we need things that we just can’t get in the way we’d like to. We all need parent figures – the kind of people we can go to for advice when we’ve lost our way or need sage advice. Maybe you don’t have that in your life for some reason – your parent(s) are no longer here or maybe were never around or couldn’t show up in the way you wished they could. So look around you – to whom can you go to in times when you need help? Where they want to give and you want to receive their assistance and wisdom? They might not always be older than you either, you might be surprised:)
What in your life do you need? What can’t you live without?
And more importantly, where and from whom are you trying to get needs met where you keep falling up short, because the person you’re wanting them met by simply can’t meet them?
No one person can be your everything.
But a lot of people can be your someone for many different areas of your life.
Knowing this can change your whole world.