Aside: The Human Need for Love and Connection And An Equally Important Need for Emotional Independence

A question that has been on my mind lately, is: why is that we all seek love so desperately, yet we fear it equally as intensely? Most of us who do not have love or companionship in life find ourselves at one extreme end of the spectrum, whereby we either crave love and companionship and seek it tirelessly, if we don’t have it, or we avoid love and intimacy at all costs because we realize that once we taste the sweet, irresistible nectar of love, that to potentially lose it seems like far too scary of a risk to take.

The truth is, that we have a basic human need to connect with other human beings and to feel like we belong. Since we  were separated from our mother at birth, we unconsciously seek the similar kind of primal union with other human beings through our relationships in life. It is a never-ending search to feel wholly connected once again. This need to love and be loved and feel connected is an essential part of human nature and I would venture to say it’s even an intrinsic part of all life, not just human life. All beings seek union, do they not? Perhaps there are some animals or beings that can serve as exceptions to this rule, but for the most part we can notice an inherent pattern in life, whereby all beings yearn to be connected.

Sometimes, there are periods in all of our lives where we feel somewhat isolated from others and do not have the fulfilling connections with others that we so primally yearn for. Usually during these times we an experience an emotion that we have labeled loneliness. Loneliness is something each one of us must experience at some point in our lives, and it is a very difficult emotion to deal with– this is due to the fact that it underlines a human need gone unfulfilled. We’ve all heard it before, humans are social beings. We need social connection to thrive. It is how we evolved as a species: relying on one another.

Nowadays we are so connected through our various social networks, but so disconnected in terms of real, intimate human interaction. This phenomena has resulted in a whole slew of lonely, isolated individuals who are not getting their basic need of companionship and connection met in their daily lives.

In our society we value family and our intimate relationships with our partners as the primary source of social interaction to be had (as opposed to a tribe, community or clan). However, some of us were not blessed to be born into the most supportive or tight-knit family, so we must build this social network called family for ourselves in life. Sometimes we build this feeling of family or community with our group of friends, but usually it is built through meeting someone of the opposite sex and forming a long-term intimate relationship with them, and in time, creating a family together.

This brings me to my next point, for many of us, the person of our dreams who we dream of fulfilling our utmost needs for connection, does not come until later in life, or in some cases, they never do arrive. So we are stuck in a society where we are taught to just wait around for the “one” to come along and save us, the one who will supposedly fulfill all of our unmet needs.

I think we need to change our way of thinking. I think we need to stop waiting around  for “one” person to satisfy us, and we need to stop pining over this concept called a ‘soul mate,’ the one who hasn’t arrived yet, and learn to seek out that much-needed connection for ourselves in alternative ways. I know many people who are single and very miserable about it and spend most of their time thinking about their lack of love life. These individuals are simply (and rightfully so) expressing their dissatisfaction with a very important and basic human need, for connection and intimacy, which has gone unmet in their life. However, in this day and age, because connection and intimacy is very hard to come across in our various social circles, such as those we encounter at work or school, we must look that much harder to pave a life for ourselves and to found our own meaningful connections with others.

Most importantly though, we must all learn to become self-sufficient and emotionally independent. We must learn to find solace during those periods of loneliness and isolation in our lives, that at some point we all must inevitably experience. Even if we are blessed enough to have many wonderful loved ones on our life, we still will face periods of isolation even within these very relationships.

We should not depend on other human beings to be our primary source of satisfaction. Our relationships with others should simply enhance our lives, not be our lives. We must learn to find peace within ourselves and find the truth within ourselves  that we don’t need anyone else to determine our own value and self-worth. This can be difficult, because so much of our identity and self-worth is derived from our relationships with others; but we must face this hurdle in life: the struggle to become self-sufficient. Once you have learned to master your own emotions and to not depend solely on others for your sense of self and happiness, you can finally lead a stable, fulfilling and peaceful life.

What do you all think? Comments and questions are always welcomed.


One thought on “Aside: The Human Need for Love and Connection And An Equally Important Need for Emotional Independence

  1. Are You Emotionally Dependent? | Kwabena Dwomoh

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