There’s often a fine line between love and neediness, especially for men. Women have a sixth sense to sniff out neediness, which can leave you confused and unconvinced unconditional love even exists.

But when you look closely into the differences between love and neediness, you’ll see how diametrically opposed these two states are.

Love comes from a place of abundance, neediness from lack. Love is based on internal validation, neediness on external validation.

But if you can’t even tell the difference between the two, it’s impossible to bridge the gap from neediness to love.

So, how can you bridge the gap and transform neediness into love?

In today’s episode, you’ll discover the difference between love and neediness, practical steps to cultivate self-love and suffocate neediness, and how to nurture unconditional love in relationships (even if neediness rears its ugly head).

Listen now.

 Show highlights include:

  • How to spot the early signs of neediness before they wreck your chances of finding true love (1:43)
  • The subtle mindset shift that frees you from the toxic stranglehold of neediness and warps you into love (4:51)
  • Do you cringe when you find yourself becoming needy? Here’s how to bridge the gap between neediness and love (6:08)
  • Why people pleasers struggle the most at finding unconditional love (and how to avoid common mistakes people pleasers make—even if you are one) (8:29)
  • How healthy boundaries prevent unconditional love from morphing into unconditional neediness (10:54)
  • The indestructible two-step antidote to neediness (12:30)
  • This book will not only stop your neediness in its tracks but also helps you build unconditional self-love (18:50)
  • Practical “self-reflection” steps that steer you away from neediness and open the door to true, unconditional love (25:18)
  • How to transform neediness into an opportunity to deepen communication in relationships (28:52)

    Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to take this quick quiz to access my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at now.

For more about David Tian, go here:

    Emotional Mastery is David Tian’s step-by-step system to transform, regulate, and control your emotions… so that you can master yourself, your interactions with others, and your relationships… and live a life worth living. Learn more here:


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Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in relationships, attraction, success, and fulfillment. Now, here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.

David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology podcast. I’m David Tian, your host. By the end of this episode, you’ll have a clear grasp on the differences between love and neediness.

A lot of us mix up these two emotions, these two concepts, love and neediness, as if they were one of the same, but in fact, they couldn’t be more different. When you can’t tell love from neediness, real love becomes elusive, almost like a mirage in the desert. You chase it thinking you’re getting closer, but it keeps slipping through your fingers, and neediness magnifies. It grows until it’s this huge presence in your life, making it harder to find genuine connections, joy and love itself. [00:01:00]

I’m talking about a scenario where you’re like running on a treadmill, thinking you’re getting somewhere, but you’re actually just staying in place. That’s what confusing love with neediness does. It keeps you stuck, unable to meet your own needs for security, significance, joy, connection, and of course, love. It’s like being in a loop where the exit sign is hidden behind the very misconceptions that we hold.

In this episode, let’s clear the air, break down these misconceptions and set the record straight. Get ready to spot, appreciate and enjoy real love, all while understanding how to tackle that painful feeling of neediness head on. Okay, let’s dive right in.

First, let’s look more closely at neediness. At its core, neediness springs from a place of lack, a sort of emptiness inside that you’re trying to fill up with external stuff. It’s like you’ve got this emotional void and you’re out there hoping someone else will come along and fill it up for you, and this can show up in all kinds of ways, especially in the dating context. [02:06.6]

For example, you’re texting someone that you’re really into, and if they don’t reply right away, you start spiraling, wondering if they’ve lost interest, if you’ve said something wrong or if they’re talking to someone else. That’s neediness inaction. It’s the anxiety, the insecurity and that desperate need for external validation, because you’re not quite meeting your own emotional needs for security or significance, or joy or connection, or love on your own. It drains you so badly because you’re trying to draw from an external source what can only truly come from within.

Neediness might have you over analyzing text messages or obsessing over social media interactions, or getting way too invested in someone else’s approval. It’s all about seeking that validation from someone else, because there’s that fear that you’re not enough on your own. [03:02.5]

Neediness often comes from a place of lack or a fear, driven by the needs for certainty, significance and connection, which are all healthy and universal needs, but you’re seeking them in a way that primarily seeks to fill an internal void using external validation.

Neediness is about seeking that security or attention or validation from others in order to feel whole or worthy. It’s about taking from others rather than giving out from yourself, where the primary focus is on what one can get from the relationship or interaction in order to meet one’s own needs, and neediness will lead to possessiveness, dependency, and a neurotic or toxic imbalance in any relationship.

So, that’s neediness in a nutshell. Now let’s look more closely at love and then we’ll contrast the two.

Love is a whole different ball game from neediness. It’s not about taking. It’s about giving. It’s coming from a place of abundance, not from lack. When you’re in a state of love, you’re not looking for someone else to complete you. You’re already complete. You’ve got a full cup and you’re just looking to share that overflow with someone else. [04:14.2]

Love says, “I’m here for you with all that I am and I don’t need anything in return.” Real love is selfless, generous, and most importantly, freeing. Real love is unconditional and involves deep connection. It’s expansive and giving, and it’s about contribution and growth. It’s about genuinely wanting the best for the other person, often putting their needs on par with or even before your own without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

Love is about sharing, growing together, and supporting each other’s journeys toward fulfillment and happiness. In real love, the focus shifts from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?” and how the relationship can serve as a foundation for mutual growth, contribution and joy. It’s about the power of giving without expecting anything back. That’s when you know you’re acting out of love. It’s when you’re able to feel joy in their joy and not keep a scoreboard or keep score of who has done what for whom. [05:14.6]

At the same time, as a caveat, it’s important to notice when the other person in a relationship isn’t investing time and energy into the relationship, and is thus missing out on enjoying the relationship, sometimes real love for the other person, which includes wanting the best for them, will dictate that you have to give the other person the gift of contributing to you, too. I covered this in depth in my recent two episodes on investment and the cost–worth connection in relationships, but more on that later in this episode. For now, let’s return the focus back onto love.

We can see that another aspect of real love is this act of sharing your completeness. It’s not about you filling my cup or me feeling yours. It’s about two complete individuals in a love relationship coming together, sharing their fullness, their joy, their love. [06:08.0]

So, how do we bridge this gap between neediness and love? If you find yourself basically just identifying only with the descriptions of neediness and not even fully understanding what I just said about love or finding yourself resisting or rejecting the possibility of that kind of love of real love, how do we bridge this gap for you, if that’s what you’re interested in doing, if you have the hope for the potential of love in your life? How do we move from seeking to fill our voids with external validation to finding that sense of completeness within ourselves?

Okay, so it starts with serious introspection, as hopefully you’re starting to do right now listening to this. It’s about getting real with yourself, understanding your own emotional needs, and finding ways to meet those needs on your own. It’s about building a relationship with yourself that’s so strong, so secure, and so filled with self-love that when you do engage in relationships with others, you’re coming from a place of abundance. [07:07.4]

Think of it like two whole happy, fulfilled people coming together. That’s where love becomes a transformative force, not just for you, but for the person you’re with and actually for everyone around you that is in relationship with you.

In the dating context, moving away from neediness means no more obsessing over texts, no more social-media stalking, no more seeking validation in order for you to feel worthy. It means stepping into interactions with self-confidence, with a sense of self-worth that’s unshakable because it comes from within you, not from how someone else sees you.

While for many people, myself included up until my mid-30s when I didn’t understand the difference between these feelings, or emotions or states, the difference actually between the state of neediness and the state of love is like night and day. One traps you in a cycle of insecurity and external validation, while the other frees you to experience the fullness of sharing your true self with someone else. [08:09.0]

Let’s come back to the concept of love and especially the unconditionality of it. I’ve dedicated an entire other episode to unpacking how love, real love, is unconditional. I’m just going to say a little bit about here because it comes up every time I mentioned that love, real love, is unconditional, so just a few things here.

First, unconditional love doesn’t mean you’re a doormat. It doesn’t mean that whatever the other person demands, you just roll over and say, “Sure, whatever you want.” This can be a tough pill to swallow, especially for the pleasers among us, the ones who have grown up feeling like it was your job to take care or caretake everyone else’s emotions.

Maybe your mother or father didn’t respect your boundaries, or didn’t even know about your boundaries or their boundaries and they were continually violating your boundaries in childhood, and you found yourself as a kid trying to manage their feelings, being made to feel responsible for their emotions, their thoughts, their behavior. This is what psychologists call enmeshment and it results in a parentified child, and all of this dynamic messes with your understanding of real love. [09:16.7]

Let’s use an everyday example to break this down. Let’s say you love your daughter more than anything, but just because she’s throwing a tantrum wanting ice cream for breakfast doesn’t mean, because you love her, you have to hand over the scoop of ice cream.

Why? Because loving her means doing what’s best for her, in your opinion, not just what she wants in the moment. You’re not just supposed to just give her whatever she wants and spoil her just because you love her—and that’s the same in a relationship. You don’t just give the woman everything she wants, just because she asks for it, even though that may have been your experience as a child when your parents violated your boundaries and made you feel responsible for their feelings. [09:57.6]

Here’s another crucial point. Unconditional love doesn’t equal an unconditional relationship. You can deeply love someone and still recognize that being together isn’t healthy or right for either of you at that time.

Picture this as an example. A mother’s love for her son can be unwavering, even if she’s forced to turn him over to the authorities for the murders that he’s been committing. It’s a heartbreaking scenario, right, ensuring that he can’t continue to hurt innocent other people, even though it tears her apart while she still loves him?

Or you can think of a more realistic or more mundane example, an everyday example. Think about the toddler stage. I currently have a toddler of my own. Any parent will tell you about the love that they feel for their child, even when that little, let’s say, angel is in full meltdown mode, aiming a toy right at their head or trying to bite you like a possessed demon. Unconditional Love doesn’t mean you let someone harm you physically or emotionally. It means you love them, yes, but you also love yourself enough and them enough to set healthy boundaries for the both of you and to maintain them. [11:08.2]

As a reminder, I like this formulation, the way that Mark Manson had put in the best. Healthy boundaries are when you take responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and actions, and you do not take responsibility for the thoughts, feelings and actions of other adults. This does not mean that you can’t, out of the goodness of your heart, help somebody else or comfort them or assuage their bad feelings. What it means is that it is not your responsibility to caretake their feelings, or thoughts or actions.

As I mentioned, I went deeper into the nature of unconditional love back in Episode 29 of this podcast, so if you’re finding this topic resonates or challenges you, I highly recommend giving that a listen or relisten. I unpacked a lot of these themes diving into how to love unconditionally, while still maintaining healthy boundaries and respect for yourself. [12:03.0]

Remember, unconditional love doesn’t mean losing sight of your own needs or tolerating unhealthy behavior. It means caring, respecting and wanting the best for both of you and sometimes for practical reasons that might mean from a distance, and that’s okay, that’s part of the difference between unconditional love and an unconditional or a conditional relationship. It’s all part of navigating the complex world of human emotions and the practical world of relationships.

Let’s pivot to a couple of concepts that are absolutely essential in understanding the difference between love and neediness, and these concepts are self-love and independence.

Self-love is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. It’s about appreciating and valuing yourself, recognizing your own worth, without needing someone else to confirm it for you. When you love yourself, truly and deeply, you’re not out there fishing for compliments, or validation. You’re secure in who you are and this security shines through making you more attractive, naturally, and more lovable. [13:09.0]

Then here’s where independence comes into play. Being emotionally independent means that you’re not relying on someone else to make you happy or to fill up your emotional tank. You’ve got your own back, emotionally speaking. You’re like a self-sustaining ecosystem thriving on your own, which is incredibly liberating when you reach that point.

When you combine self-love with emotional independence, you’ve got a powerful antidote to neediness. You’re not entering relationships from a place of lack, desperately seeking someone to complete you. Instead, you’re entering them as a whole person looking to share your completeness with another whole person. It’s not about filling voids. It’s about adding value to each other’s lives that are already flourishing. [13:56.2]

In my old Man Up video podcast, in Episode 194, I dedicated an entire episode to unpacking how and why so many nice guys end up looking to what is referred to as “manic fairy dream girls” to make their otherwise boring, mundane daily life exciting and romantic and dramatic, and why this is actually to the detriment of the woman and to himself eventually. That’s in Man Up Episode 194, if you want to check that out.

It’s a common example of how so many guys who are actually emotionally immature and are unable to meet their own needs for adventure and playfulness, and excitement and fun, and look to women to do it for them. Hopefully, you understand, at least theoretically, why that’s so toxic and you’re interested in now to shift towards self-love and independence.

That shift doesn’t just happen overnight, of course. It requires intention, effort at the beginning, and it will require soul searching, but the rewards are immense. You start to see relationships not as a necessity, but as a choice, a beautiful addition to your already fulfilling life. [15:03.5]

That’s when relationships really begin to flourish, when two people both full of self-love and emotionally independent, come together to kind of pool their resources to create something truly special. They’re not clinging to each other out of fear or insecurity. They’re choosing to be together, and to share joy, love, and mutual respect.

Now let’s take it even deeper and take our understanding of love and unconditional love and relationships to a much more advanced level, and we’re going to introduce something that I’ve mentioned in many episodes before, the IFS therapy model, the Internal Family Systems therapy model.

IFS therapy introduces us to the idea that we’ve got multiple parts within us. They’re like subpersonalities of their own, all with different roles, emotions and perspectives. It’s like having a little community, or maybe not so little, inside your head and body and mind where every part has their job to do. [16:00.7]

But sometimes they get a bit out of sync or they don’t actually like their jobs, that it’s just all they know and they’re probably exhausted after having to be stuck in these jobs, and that’s where self-leadership comes into play. It’s about stepping up as the leader of your own internal family in your mind, ensuring that all parts of you are heard, respected, and under your leadership, work together harmoniously.

No matter their physical strength, for many men, emotions are too much for them to handle. It’s why they can’t give women the deeper levels of emotional intimacy and connection that they crave. It’s why they fail to be the man that modern women desire most: a man with inner strength, a man who has mastered his emotions.

Find out how to master your emotions through David Tian’s “Emotional Mastery” program. The Emotional Mastery program is a step-by-step system that integrates the best of empirically-verified psychotherapy methods and reveals how to master your internal state and develop the inner strength that makes you naturally attractive, happy, and fulfilled.

Learn more about this transformational program by going to

That’s D-A-V-I-D-T-I-A-N-P-H-D [dot] com [slash] emotional mastery.

Okay, so that was covering a lot of ground there in a very little time, so if this is the very first time you’ve heard of IFS therapy, I recommend you check out my other episodes or just Google IFS therapy real quick so you have a basic background. But do it after you’re finished listening to this episode. You now have enough understanding to make sense of the rest of this episode.

So, you might be wondering, okay, so what does IFS therapy have to do with love and neediness? The IFS therapy model is the most effective way to understand the difference. When you lead your internal parts effectively, you cultivate a sense of completeness and self-assurance. You’re no longer looking for someone else to fill your cup because you’ve learned how to do it yourself, because part of the process, a major part of the process of the IFS therapy model, is getting to know all of the various parts of you and discovering what their needs are, and then fulfilling them. [18:14.0]

As their needs are met by you and their trust in you grows, they let go of their neurotic or toxic old roles and jobs and adopt new ones, and they become naturally harmonious, and this internal harmony reduces your neediness because you’re no longer seeking external validation in order to feel okay, or to feel that you’re worthy or enough. Instead, you approach relationships then from a place of love, self-love, offering your full self without the desperate need for them to validate you or for anything in return.

Richard Schwartz, the founder of IFS therapy, gives us this beautiful metaphor in his book, You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For. I highly, highly recommend Richard Schwartz’s book, You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For, and in that book, he builds on a metaphor from originally Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Mastery of Love, which I also recommend, and this is the “magical kitchen” metaphor, which I’ve mentioned in other episodes in this podcast. [19:15.0]

Imagine you’ve got this magical kitchen that can produce any food you desire. You’re never hungry, because whatever you crave, your magical kitchen will provide. Now, if you think of the different parts of you as the children in your family and you as the head of your household, and you’re providing food for your kids, and you’re providing all the food that they want and it’s healthy and meets their needs, and they enjoy it and you care, and it’s prepared with care and so on. Right?

If someone walks along your home or your house outside and offers these kids some pizza in exchange for following them or for loving them, your children will be like, Hey, thanks, that’s nice, but I’ve got my own really delicious food that Dad or Mom has made for us. [19:59.5]

But that’s not most people’s experience. For most people, their inner-child parts are starving so that when someone comes along the street and offers their inner child or their different parts some food in exchange for following them or in exchange for love or attention, or adoration or whatever it might be, their parts feel compelled to do anything that the other person asks in exchange for that slice of pizza, because they don’t have access to their own magical kitchen and their own the leadership of their own true self, which is, in this metaphor, the caring parents who is preparing the food.

So, this magical kitchen metaphor perfectly illustrates the difference between acting out of neediness and acting out of love. When you have your own internal magical kitchen, in other words, when you’ve nurtured your own internal parts and lead them with confidence and compassion, then you don’t depend on someone else to come and satisfy your emotional hunger or needs. You’re already fulfilled, so your offer to connect with another person comes from a place of wanting to share your abundance, not from a desperate hunger. [21:03.4]

When two people with their own internal magical kitchens meet and come together, it’s like, “Hey, I’ve got this food. Oh, you’ve got that food. Hey, let’s pool together,” and so you have a little potluck, right? “Let’s go have a picnic with our magical kitchen food produced for us, and then we can share it. We don’t need each other to feed us. We’re all sharing in the abundance that we all experience,” and that’s actually the experience of unconditional love.

You’re feeling unconditional love when you feel it primarily flowing from you, through you, in fact, outwards to others from a place of abundance, like an overflowing well of water. You’ve got so much water flowing out of your well that you can’t even drink it all, and so you invite others to share in it, and that’s what it’s like when you go out into the dating world or into a social setting from a place of unconditional self-love. You’re just overflowing. In fact, the feeling of love is completely different from the inside versus the feeling of neediness, which is the opposite where your well is dry and you’re desperately looking for somebody else to fill your well with water. [22:11.2]

Okay, so the natural next question is “How?” Achieving this state of self-leadership and internal harmony means engaging with your own internal parts, understanding their fears, their desires, working with them to ensure they’re not running the show based on outdated scripts or old roles that they took on out of fear or from the burdens of unhealed wounds.

It’s about recognizing that every part has a positive intention, even if their actions might not always be helpful, and acknowledging and appreciating all of the parts, especially the ones that you may not have yet discovered that you might even, at this time, find shameful and that you’d like to keep hidden or that you’d like to exile or disown and get rid of. [22:55.6]

So, it’s a multi-step process to get to the point where you have enough self-leadership that you can bring the parts that you’re aware of into harmony, but it’s an ongoing process and it, hopefully, will continue for the rest of your life, because it’s a beautiful process.

Though at the beginning, it might feel very painful, because it will bring up things that you’ve been avoiding or hidden deep in your unconscious, a lot of hidden pains that you may not be aware of but are acting in response to, the more your own internal parts trust you, the more they’re able to step aside and the more space there will be for your higher self, which is naturally full of compassion and confidence, and creativity and care, and clarity and calm.

The more that you, as from the state of your higher self, can lead your parts with empathy and curiosity, the more that you can help your parts feel safe, valued and integrated, it will then strengthen your own sense of higher self and enable you to become more self-sufficient and thereby reduces the neediness in your interactions and relationships. So, actually, the most accurate way to understand self-love is the love of your higher self for the various parts of you. [24:09.4]

When you come from this place of internal abundance, your intimate relationships transform, and even your dating interactions will completely transform. You’re able to give freely because you’re giving from your surplus, not from a place of scarcity. Your connections become more authentic, more meaningful, and ultimately more satisfying. You’re not trying to get someone to love you in order for you to feel okay about yourself. You already love yourself and you’re simply inviting someone to share in that joy, that abundance and that love.

Incorporating the principles of IFS and self-leadership into your life is the most powerful way to navigate your internal world and, by extension, your external relationships. It’s about becoming the one you’ve been waiting for. Great title, highly recommend that book, again, by Richard Schwartz, You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For. [25:00.6]

As you become the one you’ve been waiting for, you can show up in your relationships, not as someone hungry for love, but as someone overflowing with it, ready to share without conditions, without demands, not needing it to come back to you, and that is the most beautiful, freeing place to be.

Okay, so let’s get even more practical now staying on the how-to and I’m going to be walking you through some suggestions here step by step. Okay, first, let’s look at self-reflection. This is about getting to know the different parts of yourself. The best way to do this is actually to get started on IFS therapy for yourself.

In the process, at the beginning, especially, you’re going to be asking yourself some powerful questions. For example, what parts of me feel most needy right now? When do they show up? What are they trying to protect me from? In a way, it’s like becoming an internal detective uncovering clues about why you feel the way you do. [25:55.0]

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’ve got a part of you that’s always seeking approval. You can dive into a conversation with that part of you. You might find out that it stems from feeling overlooked as a child. Understanding this can help you reassure that part of yourself, showing it love and attention that it’s been craving for probably decades. This kind of self-reflection is crucial for healing and moving towards a place of love.

Now, when it comes to IFRS therapy, I highly recommend that you get a professional to walk you through the process. After you get the hang of it, because I didn’t even understand it after reading and it turned out I didn’t really understand it even though I had read many books about it, until I got work done for myself in person at the official IFS therapy trainings. Then I was like, Whoa, this is not what I imagined it to be just based on reading, and the experience was completely different and far more powerful. So, I highly recommend you find an experienced, trained professional. You can look up the IFS Therapy Directory. Just google that and look for someone who’s certified, or at least a Level 2. [27:00.3]

Now, around the world, there are long waiting lists for most good therapists, especially IFS therapists. While you’re on the waiting list, you can check out different resources like the books I’d mentioned earlier, You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For by Richard Schwartz. I also recommend No Bad Parts by Richard Schwartz. I’ve dedicated an entire other podcast episode to analyzing Richard Schwartz’s book, No Bad Parts. Very readable and approachable.

You can also dig into the more textbook book called Internal Family Systems Therapy, also by Richard Schwartz, which is now in the second edition. On the Insight Timer app, on the free version, there is a user account for Richard Schwartz where he has uploaded, I think, eight or so meditations, IFS meditation, so you can give those a shot. I think it should be accessible even at the free level, the freemium version of the Insight Timer app.

I’m aware that there are online courses for IFS therapy floating around out there. I don’t recommend them for the most part, especially if they mentioned anything like exile work, which is working with very vulnerable parts in people. It’s at that point that it’s really important that you get a professional to guide you through that process. [28:13.7]

Full disclosure, in case you didn’t know, I am a certified IFS therapy practitioner, and as of the recording of this episode, I have one opening for a new client. That changes a lot, so I don’t know if I will have any openings when you’re actually listening to this, but you can always reach out to us at or you can go to my website and go to the header navigation and look for the therapy dropdown from the dropdown menu. Then you can look for the registration page for IFS therapy and see if there is any availability there.

Okay, now let’s move on to the concepts of self-love and independence, and when it comes to self-love and independence, besides the IFS therapy model, there are other ways that you can do this that can be incorporated into your lifestyle. The key is to start small and pick something that you enjoy doing alone, something that makes you feel good about yourself when you’re doing it. [29:08.7]

This could be reading, hiking, cooking, anything that fills you with joy or has filled you with joy in the past and that you’ve been itching to get to and haven’t made time for. Now is the time to do it, and then if you can, make it a regular part of your weekly routine. This practice reinforces in you the idea that you are a complete whole individual who is able to meet your own need for happiness within, and it doesn’t have to just come from outside you.

Now, for addressing neediness in relationships, it’s all about making conscious choices. Before reacting in a situation where you might typically feel needy, pause first, ask yourself, “Is this coming from a place of neediness or a place of unconditional love?” If it’s need, take a step back and reflect on what part of you is feeling insecure and why. Maybe it’s the first time. When was the first time you recall feeling this way? Tracing it back to your childhood and maybe being able to find the initial root cause. [30:12.6]

By the way, I do have guided meditative processes in my courses, like Freedom U, True Self, Purpose, Heart, that will do this for you, that will walk you through the inner-child work in helping you to uncover the original sources of the neediness.

Then once you have had the space between the initial feeling of it and then this moving into introspection, after the introspection, you’re then better equipped to or at least better positioned to act from a place of love, both for yourself and for your partner.

Okay, let’s use a case study to illustrate. Let’s say his name is Alex. Alex felt needy whenever his wife spent time with friends instead of him. Using self-reflection and the therapeutic process that I walked him through, Alex realized that his neediness came from a fear of abandonment, rooted in his childhood experiences. [31:08.8]

Then acknowledging this, Alex was able to work on developing his own interest in friendships outside his marriage, reinforcing his sense of independence that he could fend for himself, take care of himself and make himself happy.

He also communicated his feelings to his wife, not as a demand, but as a shared vulnerability. “This is what’s been going on for me and this is what I’ve discovered when I looked inside.” That’s how he shared it with her, and this opened up a deeper level of communication than they’ve ever had at that point, and this strengthened their bond from a place of unconditional love rather than need. As a result, he found out his wife didn’t actually notice how he was feeling, and so, then they were able to plan more together. [31:51.8]

Cultivating love and addressing neediness is a lifelong journey. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about consistent practice, patience and self-compassion, engaging in self-reflection, introspection, nurturing your self-love and your independence, and then making conscious choices to prioritize unconditional love over neediness. By doing so you’re not just enhancing your relationships. You’re transforming your entire approach to life and love, and the experience of life.

Okay, so let’s take a moment to recap the major insights that we’ve unpacked. We kicked off by distinguishing between love and neediness, underlining that neediness often springs from a sense of lack or insecurity, while genuine love flows from a place of abundance and giving without expecting anything in return.

We then explored the crucial roles of self-love and independence, emphasizing that these elements are foundational for avoiding neediness and cultivating genuine love.

Then we dove deep into the Internal Family Systems model to highlight the power of self-leadership in harmonizing our internal parts, thus fostering a sense of completeness and self-assurance. [33:05.6]

Then we walked through some practical steps for nurturing self-love, engaging in self-reflection, and making conscious choices to prioritize unconditional love over neediness. Imagine for a moment a relationship built on a foundation of neediness, like so many are.

These are like houses built on sand, vulnerable to every tide of emotion and insecurity. Relationships like this lead to a cycle of dependency, where both partners are trapped in a kind of death dance of trying to fill each other’s voids, and this will lead to resentment, conflict, and if you leave it long enough, heartbreak.

But let’s pivot to a brighter vision, a future where you are actually able to meet all your own emotional needs, where your own internal parts are in harmony relatively, and you’re overflowing with love. From this place, if you choose to be in a relationship, you’d be in that relationship, not because you need to be, but because you choose to be. [34:04.5]

You and your partner are two whole complete individuals who come together to share, grow and celebrate life’s journey. This is a relationship of courageous love, to use Richard Schwartz’s term, where vulnerability is strength and independence doesn’t mean isolation, but rather the freedom to love fully and openly.

Love then is not a scarce resource that you cling to out of fear, but a boundless energy that you offer freely that flows forth from you out of abundance. Your relationships then are rooted in mutual admiration, respect, and a deep, genuine connection that enriches both lives. You’re not looking to your partner to save you or complete you, because you’ve found that wholeness within yourself. It’s about finding that magical kitchen within where you can nourish yourself with an endless supply of love, and then from that place of abundance, choose to share that love with others. [35:01.4]

Thank you so much for sharing this journey through the differences between love and neediness, and what to do about it. If you like this, hit a like, subscribe or follow, and if this has helped you in any way, please share it with anyone else that you think could benefit from it. Let me know your feedback. I thrive off your comments and feedback, so leave a comment or send me a message.

Thank you again for listening. I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. Until then, David Tian, signing out.

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