I know a man who needs a lot of attention.  His wife tells me he was deprived of emotional connection as a child.  Together, the wife and I play psychologist because the neediness drives her crazy.  We devise theories and solutions that are as useless as our self-appointed PhDs.  Although our ideas fail to ‘fix’ the man, we – like good doctors – never stop trying.

That is, until today, when I stumbled upon this quote:

Humans need attention like plants need light.

The logic stopped me dead.  I’m no gardening expert, but I (and every second grader) know that plants need light to survive.  Good ‘ole photosynthesis being a critical process and all.  I also know that some plants are shade lovers and others thrive in the sun.

Applying my new metaphor to people, it would follow that some people do fine with just a little attention and others crave it.  Thinking of it this way makes a little space for what we would otherwise call neediness.  After all, we don’t approach the sun-loving plants and lay blame: ‘How dare you soak up so much sun?!’  We don’t criticize these plants for wanting what makes them thrive any more than we criticize the ones who prefer the shade.  We just give them what they need if we want them to survive.

Perhaps, a wife could, instead of trying to change a husband into a shade-sustainable plant, just give him lots of light (i.e. attention).

I immediately shared my new revelation with friend who thought it was brilliant – our best one yet.  After enjoying a laugh at our own expense, we concluded that it was never husband who needed fixing, it was us!

Elementary my dear Watson.  Elementary.

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.”    – Wayne Dyer

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