To never need to be needed

I’m feeling a little under the weather at the moment. There will probably be a number of fuzzy days like this in the near future, but I get the feeling that this is not my normal state. If I reflect on who I was several years ago, I think that my normal state has been slowly, slowly moving towards the kind of foundation I described in “Starting from a small life“: self-care and close relationships. That’s there, most days, and so I’ve been starting to think of growing a little further outwards, becoming a bit more involved in the community. That’s why I’ve been thinking about what I can do to support friends. If I have energy and attention beyond what’s needed to improve our household’s quality of life to a reasonable point, I can look into helping and getting to know other people around me.

Fortunately, people around me tend to be geeks who don’t mind when I reach for awkwardly technical phrases like “explicitly negotiated communication protocols” (the phrase “talking about talking” doesn’t quite fit). I enjoy exploring questions, perspectives, and ideas. I tend to combine pessimistic planning with optimistic belief in people and a large dose of loving-kindness and acceptance. It’s not always easy – sometimes I catch myself wishing away the challenges that other people face – but I learn a lot.

Now that I’ve been reaching out to other people, more, I’ve started noticing this strange little quirk. I want to explore it in writing so that I can point to it and see it more clearly, and maybe I can learn from other people’s experiences along the way too.

2015-04-08e On keeping the bigger picture in mind -- index card #connecting #support #ego

2015-04-08e On keeping the bigger picture in mind – index card #connecting #support #ego

Sometimes, after I’ve shared a reflection, I find myself hoping for an equally thoughtful response: another disclosure, another follow-up question, another exploration. I understand why part of me feels that way. It’s part curiosity, part (still!) that slight orientation towards recognition, towards knowing what things are useful.

But I can also see a freer part of me that thinks and reflects and shares without needing reciprocal gifts, and this is the part that I want to encourage in myself. This is the part that is indifferent to being needed, that celebrates when people have found their own stillness for reflection or their own strength to stand.

Even writing about this is something I might distrust a little. I might be writing this mostly for my understanding and long-term memory (having learned the hard way that private notes tend to disappear), but receiving a comment or an e-mail or a blog conversation feels good because of that moment of resonance with someone else.

Still – loving-kindness and acceptance, especially towards myself. It’s okay if I want that moment of shared humanity, that resonant thrum of thoughts in sync. And it’s also okay if I make it a gift, to let the people I want to support choose how much support and when and in what way.

To never need to be needed, but to share life out of generosity – I think that’s one of the freedoms I want to cultivate. Hmm…

  • Patrick

    Hi, IMHO you have created a very well written blog with great content, as a non-native English speaker this helps me a lot.

    Your blog has inspired me to open up more. In previous years I refused to communicate with people, at one point it became quite difficult for me to communicate in my own language (even writing things on the internet made me shy away). In fact at some point I felt almost brain-dead so to speak.

    My goal is to be less passive, more sociable and become adept in something. I don’t wish to be seen as socially awkward. People used to call me “strange boy” or frown on me, not too bad I guess but it does feel quite bad… and makes me feel somewhat insecure.

    I’m also spending more times on my hobbies/projects, like trying to build a quadcopter, digital painting in Krita (I also like traditional painting), 3D modelling in Blender (novice), studying computer science (novice) etc.

    I regret that I dropped out of secondary education (personal reasons). However, I am now studying in order to get a job in IT leaning towards system/network administration for both Linux and Windows. I’m working on obtaining an MCSA certificate from Microsoft (almost there).

    I’m working on creating my own blog. Any tips on decisions like where to host, the infrastructure of the blog, and best practices/techniques/workflow? I have previously been able to configure WordPress. I will first host it locally for learning purposes. Fortunately, my ISP provides me with a static IP address and does not block the necessary ports for web-servers.

    This guide: How to Learn Emacs: A Hand-drawn One-pager for Beginners is awesome! I do experience some problems though like: screen flickering and jerky scrolling. Evil Mode, Org Mode, and Auctex is interesting; I don’t believe Vim, or any other text editor can offer this much functionality/extensibility.

    Thank you Sasha Chua! have a nice day ;)

    P.S It’s fine if you are not able to reply to my writings.

    • Does it display better if you download the image and browse/print it using your favourite program? =)

      I’m glad to hear that my notes have been helpful for you. It’s always so nice to find people you resonate with. When I’m reading a book or a blog post that strikes a chord with me, it makes me feel like there are lots of other people I can learn from and be inspired by. =)

      It sounds like you have lots of great interests. Neato! Good luck with deepening those interests.

      Geeks like us tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the technical platforms for things like blogging, but really, even starting with something simple like WordPress is totally all right. The key thing is to start writing, after all. =)