How to Cure Neediness
Dear Social Man,
Quick question: I’ve got this nagging feeling of ‘neediness’ that I haven’t been able to shake. I think I’ve been too influenced by having had a long-term relationship because my ex-girlfriend and I used to do everything together—watch movies, go on holidays, etc. I’m wondering if you ever experienced the same thing. Any tips on how to resolve this?
Yeah, I totally know what you mean. There is good news and bad news for you.
The bad news
In fact, what you are feeling is something that will probably take a long time to go away. For me, I continued to feel this in any slow period of my life. “Slow” as in I wasn’t busy with work AND I was only seeing one or two girls at the time. It took me over two years to learn how to control this feeling.
The good news
This is relatively easy to correct in the moment. But the corrective is more like a palliative. There is a deeper root issue that needs to be addressed in order to deal with this permanently.
For quick fixes, you should do stuff to change your emotional states.
1. Let it all out.
First, have a nice cry and self-pity session to let it all out, but keep it to less than a half hour or so. Do NOT contact any women when you are in this state.
Then, take immediate action.
2. Eliminate the mental garbage from pop media.
I find that throwing out all those pathetic, cheesy, girly, romantic-comedy movies was a significant factor.
Also, don’t listen to any songs having to do with love or romance. Yes, that’s the majority of pop songs. Instead, I like to listen to instrumental jazz or some martial classical music. It gets your mind moving in the right direction.
In Unbreakable, Christian and Nick discuss the difference between Jay-Z and Dashboard Confessional. The latter is a whiny emo band and all of their songs are self-indulgent pity fests about how in love he is with some girl. The former, well how about this line… “Not guilty, he who does not feel me is not real to me, therefore he doesn’t exist so poof…vamoose son of a bitch.” I always think about drawing conclusions between champs and chumps.
3. Talk it out with a good friend who will challenge you.
You could phone a good guy friend who is more mature than you, and just talk out your feelings of neediness with him. He should challenge you to man the fuck up and to help you realize how irrational you are feeling.
4. Take care of your biochemistry.
Watch what you eat. Do not indulge in sugary or oily foods. That bowl of ice cream or gravy-drenched poutine might make you feel better while you’re eating it, but you will pay emotionally and physically for a lot longer after you’re done.
Instead, fill your body with food that will nourish you and release good neurotransmitters. What you want is the good stuff—dopamine, serotonin, endorphins. Stock up on high protein foods like fish, chicken, eggs, almonds, and dark green veggies. You can also try high carbohydrate foods like whole grain bread and pastas, rice, cereal, and juicy fruits.
Hit the gym HARD. Work out your body. Do something physical. Reconnect with your physicality so that you’re not always in your head. Do some martial arts. Hit the punching bag. Jump in the ring and do some sparring.
As a sidenote, every man should master some martial art. I did Kung Fu and Tae Kwon-do as a kid, rising to the level of a junior black belt by the time I hit high school. But I hadn’t done much training since then until I moved to Singapore, where I quickly discovered martial arts gyms on every corner, including some martial arts clubs with full-on boxing rings, Muay Thai rings, MMA cages, and the works. I’ve since gotten a private trainer for Krav Maga, and it’s been awesome for physical conditioning, preparing me for street fighting, and making me feel more balanced and centered emotionally and mentally.
For a good long-term fix, as well as a short-term kick, Nick advises “drop and go compliments”—dropping random compliments, then leaving. The key is walking away without hesitation after you deliver it. You’re not looking for anything back from her. You’re not allowed to even concern yourself with her response. Just drop and go. That way you’re both giving and tempering yourself to turn your back on a woman, a necessary talent in today’s day and age.
But really these are just band-aid solutions.
THE REAL SOLUTION: The real problem is that you are not yet complete by yourself. You are still looking for external things to complete you. In this case, you are looking for the companionship of a woman.
You need to learn to be content with yourself and all by yourself, like you are stranded on a deserted island all by yourself but you know you’ll still be okay. Sure, it’d be great to have around you lots of people who love you. But you see that as a luxury, not a necessity.
Think of Tom Hanks in the movie, Castaway. Could you deal with that situation if that were you? Would you be cool if all your friends and family deserted you, like literally, cut themselves off from you? Then you’d have no one else to turn to but yourself for strength. That’s what you gotta be like to get rid of this neediness feeling permanently. You’ve got to be okay with being on your own. You’ve got to be a real man.
For me, it still comes occasionally. But that’s usually when I’ve watched too many sappy movies, listened to too many sappy songs, pigged out on sugary foods and not worked out for a few days, and have only been hanging out with women.
One key resource is The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida. Find your current purpose in life. Make women and all those other externals secondary. Also, for a macho manifesto of discipline, self-determination, and hustle, check out The 50th Law by 50 Cent and Robert Greene. These will help give you perspective on how to “man up.”