The Need to be Wanted

If you think you’re pug-ugly, it’s a bold-faced lie. You’re beautiful. Someone needs to tell you that, so I will.

What We All Need

A universal need in all humans is the need to know they are wanted. When this is in doubt it will become a problem for them. Strong performance in any area can masquerade as acceptance should the outcome be equated with their being wanted by the significant others in their life.

Being wanted is something we as humans crave and expect. And why not? Everyone deserves to be wanted and should be wanted. A conflicted perception will arise and cause us to ask a telling question when our sense of “being wanted” is in doubt.

We ask ourselves questions like this, “Do they want, like, love me for who I am or do they want, like, love me for what I do?” “Do they want, like, love me for what I look like?  provide? or financially support?” I remember asking myself this question in my marriage those times when I wasn’t sure of my mate’s affection and love. I saw myself in a deficit position because the outcome hadn’t delivered the goods.

We want to be wanted, liked, and loved for who we are.  People learn to perform to gain the acceptance of others. Lines of acceptance are often tied to conditions. Parents, beware of equating performance with acceptance and approval. Do you withhold affection or acceptance when your child messes up? Be careful. Some things should never be used as a punishment tool. You can break or damage a child’s spirit. Be careful with your child’s emotions. Negative imprints can stamp your child for life.

An elderly woman told me her father frequently called her “Pug-ugly.” After her father passed away, she was looking at some photos from her youth. “I wasn’t ugly?” she expressed in a surprised voice. An older relative heard her and said, “Your father thought you were the cutest little girl ever. He called you pug-ugly so you wouldn’t get the big head.” All those years she saw herself as pug-ugly. How unfortunate. That was a word curse she never knew was a falsity until she was a grown woman.

A relational structure–as in family, professional, or intimate–which withholds acceptance until it is earned, that insinuates acceptance is conditional, that infers a person’s value is arbitrary, granted more to some and less to others, creates tension in its lesser-valued, lesser-wanted, lesser-accepted members. Thoughtless, unkind words attack a vulnerable person’s inward sense of self and their self-worth and can deftly destroy self-image as it attacks and erodes their fragile person-hood.

To meet this human need, to know they are wanted, loved, and valued, takes people to extreme lengths to find it. Even then it may not deliver. People devoid of nurturing love and human bonding–with its negative realization of having been denied the basic components of self-worth–are in a deficit position.

This is true of them until love is freely offered, and they are able to receive love without doubt, suspicion or fear, and they know their trust is well-placed. Some severely, emotionally damaged individuals may not be able to receive love when their scarring runs deep. An insidious dearth of emotional health has damaged their ability to access and apprehend love.

Those individuals whom have been hurt deeply will heal slowly. Wounds can heal, but they leave scars. I know this because I have experienced it. My injury went deep. A few years later after two decades of blight, I experienced the warmth of acceptance and love. Once I knew I was loved in the right way, the realization made me cry.

To know I was accepted and valued by a man I deeply respected was like a healing grace. I saw it in his eyes. I felt it in his touch. This love was all the more sweet because of the lacks I had experienced before in an empty union. Rejection had marked me and kept me trapped in a cycle of pain. Knowing I was loved and valued helped modulate the residual wounds caused by not being loved well or valued for who I am. Make sense?

A strong sense of healthy-self is an aspect of the spiritual side of the human condition. I am happy to say that God is in the restoration business. He helps us achieve wholeness in a highly personal way. One of the joys of spiritual life is that you know you are wanted, and not only wanted but loved . . . with a pure, holy, love without conditions.  Knowing this love produces an inner peace and fullness of joy.

Wholeness brings richness to your life. A person’s inner soul-need is met and abundant life is actualized through the full-bodied transforming love of God. God assigns value to all his children. He does not withhold affection from the poor performers or the ones struggling with life. Instead, he helps each one by assisting them in their spiritual journey.

We come to God with the innocent trust of a child. He welcomes us like a kind, loving, doting parent. Christ says “Forbid not the children to come to me for such is the kingdom of heaven,” and that’s us. For those whom have yet to experience what it is to be loved without strings, I’m glad to say you can find that kind of love in Christ. We mess up but that is not cause for being discarded or unwanted. “For God so loved the world.”

Embrace the love.