My intention in this article is to question your methods of fulfilling the need for love & belonging. It is interesting how we all need it but seek it in the most disastrous way. Almost as if we strangle it to death with our own hands. The more we try to get it the lesser we have.
Stay with me throughout this article and I promise, you’ll gain a very interesting understanding of how we can fulfill the need of love & belonging without strangling the possibility of it’s flower to blossom. I will share with you how counter-intuitive this desire is, some severe psychological damaging effects it could cause and how it can be done right.
Believe me this article is for EVERYONE. (Btw, this is my biggest lesson learned in 2022.)
I want you to understand how deep this need of love & belonging is. Look at this hierarchy of needs proposed by psychologist Abraham Maslow. You’ll see this is the 3rd basic need of everyone you look around, there’s no wonder why most frustrations in life are caused by relationships.
We seek all the “feel good things” from the other person, that’s what relationships are primarily for. But majority of us are extremists, we either cling too much, repel by it or totally avoid it. Its what usually happens right? It is annoying and frankly, kills the very possibility of completing stage 3 i.e. love & belonging . It’s paradoxical! Ever wondered why this happens?
Look at your past relationships or even current ones, are you getting what you need perfectly? probably not. Why? either you or the other person got “attached” and naturally there will be repulsion in the relationship by the other person. Why? because we all love and deserve to have emotional freedom & space while still experiencing the enrichment of relations. The very act of attachment/trying to get more, kills the possibility of what we could receive if we were not attached.
You know this metaphor, The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact.
You see sometimes people show us the love, care, and support we need. We experience a true heaven with them. It feels everything is perfect. We have that flow of positive emotions and we feel alive!
But this positive experience comes with bitter fruit of attachment. It is natural and bound to happen. That’s how human psyche works! Bhagavad Gita explains this concept beautifully in the following verses:
BG 2.62: While contemplating on the objects of the senses, one develops attachment to them. Attachment leads to desire, and from desire arises anger.
BG 2.63: Anger leads to clouding of judgment, which results in bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, the intellect gets destroyed; and when the intellect is destroyed, one is ruined.
We fall into the illusion that ONLY that specific person is capable of making us feel good that is why we start craving/seeking more of those emotions from that specific person. It is natural but dangerously unhelpful. Some develop neediness, others obsession. Some develop separation anxiety and some start showing aggressive behaviors when the other person doesn’t meet expectation like before by acting in a certain way. The behavioral issues and psychological illnesses such as fear of abandonment & childhood trauma caused by lack of love & belonging is beyond imagination.
This attachment or possessiveness can either destroy the relationship or make a person have mental breakdown till suicide idealization.
So what do we want? Maybe, we want all the “good feelings” without the shackles placed by others on us which act as anchors in our way to live as we want with freedom.
Agreed it is a basic need which cannot be avoided but there is a better way to truly fulfill this need. A way without binding ourself to someone or being tied by them in order to fulfill the need love & belonging.
Seeking fulfillment from other people is normal but not effective. Instead be fulfilled in self to the point you don’t need others but want them.Aman Varma
The culprit is the illusory nature of all this happening. We feel that ONLY this specific person can make us feel love & belonging but that’s not true. By thinking this we make ourselves limited. So keep your options open, that’s step one.
Step 2 is to ask yourself if anyone could actually fulfill you? is this over-attachment worth it? is losing your mind by depending on what someone can give you worth it? as they have freedom to withdraw anytime.
I was on evening walk and something dawned upon me. I looked at the faces of people walking down the street. I felt a strange sad feeling. I could see that everyone is going through something. I could see everyone has a short-coming, that everyone is imperfect. No matter how perfect a person might seem but sooner or later we start to see the imperfections. That’s just who we are. If there was such a thing as perfect we would all be the same. Because perfect has to be only one. If no one is perfect, assuming fulfillment (love & belonging) from someone else is ridiculous. One day or another they’ll do/say something which will not meet your expectations. Not because they intend to upset you but because we all have some issues. Then what? you’ll look for someone else? Well… this will never end.
The only perfect solution is to be self reliant or self sufficient. There is power in being self reliant. There is freedom. You want people but you do not need them. It feels as if burden has been lifted. You are simply centered in yourself. The world around you might change, people may come and go, nothing affects you. You have all the good feelings in yourself and that is enough to the point you never seek it from another.
I was embodiment of this self fulfillment philosophy until recently. I was shocked to realise that I had started becoming dependent on others for my love & belonging needs. Upon diagnosing I found fear of abandonment. It happens because of childhood traumas such as separation from parents, abandonment and separation. But it all triggered recently and I am glad it did as it allowed my to do some real good psychoanalysis and deep work on character development.
I am telling you this because you might have become other-dependent. Its an opportunity to ask yourself why did you become so attached to the other person and how you can use those insights to develop self fulfillment so that you will never need anyone ever again to fill your holes. By accepting I had become other-dependent I was able to re-calibrate and become self fulfilled again. Give to yourself what your seek from others and be fulfilled.
It is important to be self fulfilled and find all good emotions in yourself so that you have the strength and power to not be disturbed by the ever changing people or world. And more importantly have freedom for self and let others have it too. This dissolves all expectations, attachments, fears, need for assurance, validation, promises, seeking perfection, trying to be perfect and you are simply at peace with whatever comes and goes from your life. You are at peace with yourself.
I will wrap everything with the below verse from Bhagavad Gita
BG 5.21: Those who are not attached to external sense pleasures realize divine bliss in the self. Being united with God through Yog, they experience unending happiness.
1. Have a vision and stick to your purpose. The satisfaction in doing something that is meaningful to you is beyond anything else. No one can give you more satisfaction than your work & serving other or materializing your skills into useful things for society.
2. Realize your purpose to be number one priority in life, everything else is secondary. If you lose priority of purpose, you start seeking happiness, fulfillment, sense of importance, validation, self worth from others, which obviously never truly satiates you. So never sacrifice your purpose for anyone. That way you will be fulfilled in self and then can be a source of positive emotions to others as well.
3. Experience how others have disappointed you in past, how you haven’t truly gotten what you sought for. That people can never truly meet your expectations as and when you need. This isn’t a pessimistic view, only a realistic thought. This doesn’t mean you aren’t grateful for people. You are happy with whatever you get and don’t try to secure that feeling forever to yourself. You realize people are imperfect, they will change someday as their mind continuously changes. It’s just not possible for them to make you happy. You get happy when your expectations are met. Soon you will be disappointment by them. So why put all burden & responsibility of making you happy on them?
4. Stop thinking about people. Why do we think continuously about anything? Because we feel that it can be our source of fulfillment & positive emotions, and give us happiness which we seek. That is why you cannot get the person out of your head. You have to realize that with happiness comes bondage & misery when you seek it from people whose emotions, desires, and actions change every moment. How can they ever be a constant supply of happiness for you? What will happen when you need them and they are not there? So think about your purpose or God instead and you’ll be free.
5. When you do above things you lose attachment to people. This doesn’t mean you stop caring for them, it only means you accept things as they are and stop unnecessarily straining yourself over others. You allow freedom to self and them or the object you are clinging to. Once the attachment is gone, greed to get more of them is gone, anger when you don’t get what you want is gone, you start to live in reality because of which you maintain equilibrium of mind and prevent yourself from disastrous emotional life events.
This way you are self sufficient and self fulfilled.
I have further expanded in the above diagram. The picture is from my notes. Download the image for future reference. This model is literally the solution to every problem you have and will have in future. Whenever you are facing any problem just look at this diagram and you will know where you are stuck and how you can overcome it. Spend a good 30 mins looking and understanding this chart.