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When my cat Frankie found me in my room, he mewed as if to say, "Here you are!" and then jumped up on the bed, positioned his body right next to mine, and started purring.

“He really loves me,” I thought. But I knew this was a wish to fluff up my flat mood, a logic that could just as easily drop me down. Because if no one comes looking for me, does it then mean that no one cares about me?

We live in a world soaked in an ethos of individualism and independence. I have absorbed the message that strong, successful people don't need anyone. Like skyscrapers piercing the sky, they are lone and impressive. The less you need others in this culture, the more worthy of respect and admiration you seem to be.

The truth is we need safe, nourishing relationships with people who accept and support us. They're as essential as food, water, and sleep. When we feel secure and supported, we are able to grow into our full selves, to bloom.

My cat's seeking me does mean something about me, I realized the next time he looked in my eyes as he poked into my room. Not that I'm special somehow -- it means that I’m like him. Just as this pink-pawed creature needs closeness and companionship, so do I.

Acknowledging my inherent vulnerability releases a compassion for myself, a compassion that clears a space of warmth and safety inside. From this place I am more likely to reach out for relationships that nurture me, and to be able to express the exuberant creativity within, the creativity that is within all of us.

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