I recently took a pretty substantial roadtrip (total mileage: 2500ish). If you’ve been reading along with me for a while, you know that I love the chance to get out and see new things. I also get the chance to listen to some good music and a few good audiobooks along the way. This time, my music shuffle offered up Bill Wither’s classic “Lean on Me” several times. I think everyone knows this song, at least enough to sing along to the chorus. But what struck me on this trip was a verse that I had not heard clearly on other listens:
“Please, swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show.”–Bill Withers
This verse spoke to me so powerfully, because it seems to describe exactly what I hear so many of my clients say. Many of us have needs (or hopes) in our relationships. But we don’t always do a great job of letting those needs show.
There are all kinds of reasons that we might keep our needs to ourselves. Maybe we don’t actually know what we need. Maybe we believe that people who really care about us will understand our needs without needing them explicitly stated. Maybe we have tried stating needs before and been let down. Maybe our trust has been damaged by the actions of others, and stating our needs feels dangerous. Maybe we have taught ourselves to be small, to not take up space, to not be demanding or needy. There are many things that can happen in life that might make it feel scary to share our needs.
But the song nails it. If we can’t identify and communicate our needs, first to ourselves and then to those in our life, then our odds of getting those needs met go way down. I’m not saying that this is a simple process. However, it’s essential.
So, today I’m inviting you to think about your daily life. Can you list the things that you need, from yourself and from others? Being able to name your needs is the first step. Once you’ve named those needs, then it’s time to determine who can help you meet those needs. And once you’ve identified who can help you meet a need, then its time to “let your need show.”
Have you had an experience of taking the brave step of letting needs show? How did it work out? Please feel free to share in the comments. As always, if you need some help dealing with these issues, just tag that button on your right. And, for your listening pleasure, here’s a link to the song itself: