Why Neediness Makes Us More Human

Our needs drive us to connect with other people.

In times of adversity, when the future is uncertain, we cling to what we know. It’s impossible to survive if we’re holding on to inconsequential, unimportant frivolities. Abstract ideas don’t sustain us; fulfillment of imminent needs does. In desperation, we clutch what we value most.

On a superficial level, we need sleep, food, and activity. Beyond those, we may find what we value to be surprisingly different than what we expected. But many times, we realize we most deeply value the essential things of life, like our ambitions and the people we spend our lives with.

Here’s an example:

If you were to go backpacking on a wilderness trail in the mountains, far from civilization, you’d pack the food and supplies needed to survive in the wild. But if something hazardous occurred, such as a water filter breaking or food falling out of your pack over a cliff, your survival would be threatened. Your resources are limited, unless you’re the Chuck Norris of wilderness experts who can take anything and fashion some handy improvised solution.

To survive, you’d need help outside of yourself. Your needs for food or means of warmth or pure water would drive you to seek a solution beyond your own capacity.

If you came across a camp of other backpackers in the wilderness, in your fragile state, you’d seek their help. Your needs would propel you to ask them for supplies or food, or dry clothes, or whatever it is you lacked.

Or, if you were stranded with a flat tire on the side of the highway, you’d be indebted to whomever stopped to help you change the tire or gave you a ride to get a new one. Or maybe you’ve even benefitted from the group of people you spend a lot of time with, because they surprised you with food or assistance when your family was in a tough spot.

Neediness drives us to other people, because we cannot survive alone.

Because humans are needy, we seek to fulfill those needs. Emotional needs, physical needs, mental needs, relational needs, and even spiritual needs each present different priorities that somehow connect in the human psyche. Needs help us realize how each part of ourselves is connected, and how we are connected to other people.

Admitting our needs is the first step to fulfilling them.

To live a healthy, balanced life, I need a good diet, exercise, meaningful ambitions to work toward, and substantial relationships. I need connection to the God who made me and designed me to live in community, giving and receiving love and seeking truth.

Other people are a primary means God uses to remind us we are broken, incomplete, but not without value. We find our value in our Maker, the identity He’s given us, and how we relate to the people around us.

God connects us to other people through the needs we have.

The band Lord Huron performs a song called “Brother,” which has some great lyrics about the strength of relationships to help us through adversity:

“Don’t turn away, don’t tell me that we’re not the same.
We face the fire together, brothers ’til the end.
Don’t run away, our time will come but not today.
I stand beside you, brother, with you ’til the end.”

Being human is about understanding our neediness and helping others deal with theirs.


How have your needs helped you connect to other people?


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