On Needing, Reassurance, and Thirsting for Praise

“How artful can we get with praise?” John Wineland challenged the group of men who had gathered to understand how to interact better with women.

In this clip from one of his workshops, John and his co-teacher Justin Patrick Pierce lay down the principle that the Feminine grows through praise.

And I was like, wait–what?

(video contains brief adult language)

Let me swing back to this in a moment. First, a few thoughts that keep entering my airspace:

“If you had your life together, you would never need anybody”

I have been pondering this for years, and it has never made sense to me. I have concluded that needing people is the sanest thing a person can do.

Sure, we’ve all got our challenges and doubts. Of course it’s not just to expect others to shoulder the whole burden of fixing or completing us, even if Hollywood did tell us that was so.

But fixing and repairing are not needing, and being needy is not the same as needing.


I have watched too many conscious women come apart at the seams because they just couldn’t stand to be strong in solitude anymore.

In an effort to be the cool, perfect girlfriend or spouse, they stifle every instinct that compels them to express a frequent desire to be held, needed, reassured, and praised.

Because needing and wanting to be needed is now one of the worst things a woman can do.

In fact, we seem to consider it one of the worst things a person can do to another person.

In these times, the vogue is to look after yourself, provide for your own needs, learn how to communicate your needs to others, and stand up for yourself when your needs aren’t being met.

These self-centered values have become so acute that we can hardly collaborate, let alone relate with each other in meaningful ways. Why? Because we can’t count on each other anymore.

Of course this makes sense when many corporations refuse to pay retirement to loyal employees and hire contractors who can’t be sure if they will have a job tomorrow, let alone health benefits. It is genuinely becoming a dog-eat-dog world.

And this is why the modern individual is so standoffish. They have developed a callous over the part of their hearts that aches for community, for tribe, for mutual aid and affection.

Humans used to make clothes for each other, hunt together, sing together. We used to clean and preen each other’s hair, and tattoo each other. The sorrows of one were the sorrows of a family.

I don’t know what wire got pulled out of the wall or when, but somehow folks got psychologically removed from the biological fact that we are born from people and raised by people and fed by people.

Humans DO need each other. Interaction is like one of those vitamins we can’t make internally and have to ingest from the world around us.

Am I the only one who feels like this issue is getting to Biblical proportions?

I think the “need shaming” is killing us softly and swiftly, and I’m solemnly asking us to stop–beginning with yourself.

It’s completely (and literally) natural for people to need people, because we do need people. It’s intrinsic, it’s appropriate, and we shouldn’t have to fight it. There’s nothing cool or emotionally¬†healthy about being needless. Humans should reach out often with affection and assistance, and when they can’t, they should use their words to ask for and offer the verbal equivalent.

If you need, ask. If you’re needed, have compassion and answer that call. Nature provides oxytocin to everyone involved just to make sure we do it.

True, weaving your thread back into the tapestry of life will get you into some tangles and misunderstandings from time to time. Your goodwill and well-meaning words will eventually be spent on folks who don’t return the favor. But that’s the point–we’re all really bad at this right now.

Take a breath, center yourself, and have that conversation. We can’t let the unpleasant aspects of relating stop us from giving and getting vitamin I. Our survival depends on it.

“Asking for reassurance is a big sign of weakness and doubt in yourself–you should work on your self esteem”

The way folks are throwing around the term self esteem these days, it has me like, “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Last time I checked, self-esteem was believing you had as much worth as your neighbor.

What I don’t understand is why people connect a lack of self esteem with wanting to discover if or why another person thinks you’re worth being around.

All kinds of folks ask for reassurance, especially when recent events have left them wondering, “Wow. Why would anyone want to put up with me? Am I really worth all this aggravation?”

(Of course, the answer is always yes because your existence on the planet makes you worthy to receive what you need to thrive…and that includes vitamin I.)

But this question, often asked by women to their intimate partners and close friends, is nuanced. She’s not asking to secure her own personal worth, but how others value her.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes (okay, often)¬†it is used as the lazy way to soothe self-hatred.

However, used properly, understood, and answered well, a request for reassurance can be a fantastic opportunity to strengthen a woman.

After watching this video by John Wineland, I think I have discovered why we do it.

Women ask for reassurance within relationship because “the Feminine grows through praise.”

The Masculine gets effective results from constant criticism.

A woman is made more masculine with criticism, and for most women, existing in their masculine is profoundly exhausting.

When a woman asks for reassurance, it is an opportunity to deliver praise for things they have done well, so that they know what to repeat, what to amplify.

What makes women feminine is not weak.

It is not something to get over or work through or eradicate from our lives.

Of course, not all of us have a room full of conscious men ready to practice their arts of praise upon us. It can be difficult when we are thirsty for praise and can’t get it for one reason or another.

Thankfully, as we reach out to be there for others and help them grow, we can also find the masculine within and praise the feminine–make her aware of all her good ways so that she will be strong enough to hold the world.

I would love to hear your thoughts on neediness and all its forms–do leave a comment, and share if you think my perspective could enlighten someone’s journey.








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