The Need to Feel Valued
Most of us at some point or another have noticed that place inside us that longs for belonging. We want to feel that our existence matters to someone.
This is why we long to find that special someone or why we choose to have children or pets. We want someone to miss us when we are, for whatever reason, not around.
Unintentional slights from our loved ones pokes the wound that, most likely, was birthed inside of us long before we embarked upon any of our current relationships. A parent who was absent, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. Not receiving healthy doses of nurturing as a child. For those of us who believe our soul is much older than our current incarnation, the need may have followed us here from some other place in time, or we may even have inherited it from our ancestors.
What to do…
No matter what our relationship status, there will be times when we begin to feel the lack of belonging, the absence of someone we love and who makes us feel wanted and important.
One of the principles of Buddhism states that suffering arises from desire. When we desire something that we perceive we are lacking, suffering is born. The way to eliminate the suffering is to eliminate the desire. Thus, the principle of detachment from a specific outcome is the remedy.
That is easier said than done.
In “The Four Agreements” author Miguel Ruiz states that one of the keys to happiness is to not take anything personally. In other words, if an important person in your life behaves in such a way that results in a feeling of being marginalized or unimportant, choose to believe that that person was telling their own story at the time that had nothing to do with you.
For me, the need to make others feel important, other than a desire to see the happiness of others, seems to point back to my childhood when, as a bashful, quiet, plain looking and often overlooked little girl, I stood in the background and longed to be included in whatever was happening at the moment, but often found myself on the outside looking in. I didn’t quite fit in with other children, and the adults forced me to spend time with them anyway.
I can’t point to abuse or neglect as the source of my pain, so it must have come from some other place and time.
Fast forward to adulthood, I always seem to notice the outsider, and particularly when someone I love was not included or made to feel important. I always want the primary people in my life to feel valued, but I often fail, and they often fail me.
The truth is, whenever our happiness is dependent on another person, we will always be disappointed. People we love will always, at some time or another, fail to live up to our expectations.
Here are some tidbits of wisdom that I have picked up over the years to help combat the wound of exclusion.
1. Feel important to yourself! I love positive affirmations! They make me feel good. They don’t work for everyone, but here are a few to get you started:
· I love and approve of myself.
· I am important
· My life has value
2. Schedule a session with a therapist, energy healer or wellness practitioner. There may be old wounds that need to be healed. An intuitive healer like myself may be able to uncover the source of your pain and assist you in healing or resolving it.
3. Forgive those who have hurt or disappointed you. This may be obvious people like lovers, parents or authority figures, but it could be more elusive like religious figures, political or social groups, or even racial, gender or sexually biased groups of people.
4. Release victimhood. When we feel we are powerless over our own experience of life, we are giving away our ability to heal. Shift your thought processes and own your power.
5. As much as possible, live in the present moment. Forgive and release the wounds of the past. Detach from fear of the future. If you are wounded, one of the most common tendencies is to play the movie over and over in your head and live expected outcomes based on the triggering moment. Don’t project your wound into the past or the future. Feel it and release it.
6. Don’t judge a cat for being a cat! (I got this example from “The Four Agreements”) You can’t expect someone to be anything other than what or who they are or to give you something that is not within their power to give. Release expectations.
7. Be important to yourself. If you find everything you need within yourself, you are less likely to feel the lack of it from outside yourself. Pamper yourself. Don’t wait to get roses from someone else, buy them yourself. Be your own best friend.
8. Be kind. When we take our focus off of what is lacking in our own lives and begin to be a blessing to someone else, we may find that the things that trigger us hold much less value than we first believed.
9. Be present when you are with other people. Listen. Express an interest in their lives. Set aside your need to respond. Lay down your cell phone! This step seems to be my fatal flaw. Hubby constantly chides me for not being present with him or for responding before he is finished talking. I recognize that the flaws we see in others are often the blind spot we don’t see in ourselves.
None of us will always be the perfect friend or lover.
None of us will always do the right thing every time.
None of us will be able to do all of these steps all of time or even remember them at the moment we need them.
But sometime, one day, you will realize that you are making progress. You realize that the gaping hole inside of you that longed to be important to someone is smaller or even gone. You will be trigged less often.
Give yourself a break. Give the people in your life a break. We are all doing the best we can. Love yourself. Love others. And that is enough.
If you are ready to resolve some issues keeping you from experiencing the love you long for, or to finish or resolve old patterns which seem to reoccur over and over, consider a private session with me! I see clients by phone, Zoom, and in person in Winchester, Virginia.
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