“What I am to you you do not need
What I am to you is not what you mean to me
You give me miles and miles of mountains and I’ll ask for the sea”
– “Volcano”
Damien Rice

One of the best feelings is having a breakthrough – when you finally comprehend (and truly understand) something that you have been told before. It isn’t the kind of understanding where someone tells you something and you can repeat back that, yes, you get it. Rather, it’s a feeling that you finally understand how it all comes together.

I was a work-study employee for two years in the graduate psychology department at college where I gleaned the benefit of what I call “free advice.” I remember sorting through admissions questionnaires with one of the doctoral students and idly discussing relationships. It turned into an interesting conversation about personal needs and how they ultimately effect relationships. At the time, I’m sure that on a cognitive level, I grasped what he was saying.

It has been a good nine years since I had that job. This morning, while walking to work and thinking about my life, I recalled this conversation and finally understood what it meant.

We have friends, family members and significant others who play different roles in our life. While one person may be perfect for someone else, he may not be perfect for you – the reason being that each of us has different needs. Once you can recognize (and even better, verbalize) what it is that you need, you have better odds of finding someone that really works well with you.

It isn’t difficult to get along with people, and to be honest, friendships and relationships can drag out as both people act out their parts. It feels completely different, though, when you realize that someone knows exactly what makes you tick and what you personally require.

This all came about when I realized how much I like to laugh. I can’t be fully happy being with someone that I don’t laugh with – because I’m not being myself. I am definitely happiest with people who make me laugh and let me be myself, stupid humor and all. I appreciate the person who remembers to tell me “good morning” at the start of my day or “sweet dreams” at the end of it, even if it is just a 10 second phone call or a text. I’m affectionate – not in the creepy PDA sort of way – but can’t deny that it makes me smile to hold someone’s hand or get a kiss on my forehead. I need someone who challenges me to learn more and do more, but doesn’t make me feel inept for not already knowing something about everything. I want to be with someone who wants to get to know me – what’s important to me and why. The most important thing encompasses all of these little things – I want to be with someone where I am totally comfortable being me.

The funny thing was that simply laughing for a few hours reminded me how easy it is to forget what you need from another person – what makes you feel like you. Suddenly, what had been cloudy for weeks now made sense and everything felt just a little bit better.