The importance of feeling needed
Things have been kind of slow the past week or so. My studies are much less than full-time, and I haven't had many social engagements. As a result, I might only talk to one or two people the whole day.
In some ways I don't mind this. I quite like having a quiet house and being able to do whatever I want when I want to. After a couple of years of working on myself, I'm better company than I used to be, and I don't need to have music or the TV on all the time to drown out my thoughts.
And still, I find that being alone for too long depresses my spirits a bit, especially when I don't have enough to do. I've realized that this is in part because I get lonely, but it's also because I don't feel needed by the world. My children are out of the house, and my husband is abroad, so although they need me occasionally it seems more abstract than immediate. There are days when I feel like I could disappear for a day or two and no one would notice.
Not feeling needed is, in my opinion, one of the worst feelings we can have. We are hard-wired to be social beings, and that means living in a web of connections and mutual dependency that helps define who we are, our status, and our worth. Feeling unimportant or not needed is to stand outside this web of connections, with no way to measure our worth.
So what do I do with this? The first step for me is awareness, the understanding that this is what is going on and this is many why I feel a bit low. Coaching can really help with this, as one of its primary goals is to create awareness for the client about his or her situation. Once you have that awareness, you can find other ways of seeing the situation or ways of dealing with it. For example, for me, it helps to remember that my family does need me, even if they are far away. And another thing is to try to stay busy, even if I don't have a long list of things I have to get done today, there are plenty of things it would be good if I did. Now is the time to pull out that list of things I'll do "someday". Keeping moving is very important. It may not solve feelings of isolation but keeping busy helps distract from the negative feelings.
For my part, I am going to enjoy my slow day today and maybe catch up on some reading.
Wishing you all a relaxing weekend.