On Feeling Important Vs. Feeling Wanted

By the time you finish reading this, if you do indeed manage to finish, chances are you will have done at least two of the following: refreshed your twitter timeline to see if you have new followers or @ messages, glanced at your phone in hopes of receiving a text message or BBM, looked at yourself in the mirror, checked your tumblr for new followers and/or reblogs, scoured gchat, squeezed your boobs, refreshed a comment thread on something you posted, or clicked on your Facebook bookmark (you definitely have it bookmarked; stop lying) for new massages, photo comments, wall postings, etc., infinite, forever. While journalists, bonified culture critics and wise old people alike all love to mouth off about how self-absorbed our generation really is, we have news for you: we are just as self absorbed as the men and women who came before us. We simply have the luxury of technology that reinforces to us (with statistics and hard numbers) that: yes, people care about what we have to say, and, indeed we look sexy in our masterfully-posed profile pictures and, of course people are inspired by our witty commentary in 140 characters. We don’t want to be celebrities. We just want to feed our insatiable human desire to leave a legacy. To be known. To be heard. To be envied.

But feeling important should never be confused with feeling wanted.

When we feel important, much like a sip of Hennesee on the rocks or a few shots of Jack Daniels, we might notice a warm, oozy feeling swirling around throughout our insides. We may also feel a bit lightheaded, which is due to our heads growing larger with self-importance, mixed with a tingly sensation like disco balls exploding in our guts. Our confidence begins to manifest itself in ways so subtle, they’re a collective mind fuck: we walk a little differently, we part our lips when we wouldn’t before, we pause a few seconds more before answering a question, we suddenly know how to be coy without trying. This dangerously potent elixir is addictive. Feeling even a little important ignites a roaring fire we feed with constant updates. Constant checks. Constant refreshes. 4 out of 10 of us will end up on Intervention for this, and rehab will be out of the question because how the fuck are we supposed to tweet about our rehab experience if no phones or computers are allowed?

But feeling wanted, however intoxicating, feeds an altogether different monster. To want and be wanted are two of the most basic, primal sentiments. We learn to want when we are barely toddlers. We need to feel wanted even sooner. In fact, if you ever had beef with a kid in your kindergarten class who threw sand in your face and peed in your cubbyhole and couldn’t play a simple game of “I-show-you-yours-you-show-me-mine” without getting really sketchy, chances are, he or she wasn’t held as a baby. And the need to feel wanted by a significant other is just as indelible as the mom-and-dad brand of love. When you know someone else truly wants you, and not just in a “I want you soooooooo bad I’m going to fondle you under the table” kind of way, (which is also nice), you feel a certain sense of wholeness. Unlike the fleeting tingly sensations of self-importance, now you feel full. Ready to burst. You are not intoxicated; you are high. You can go a few hours, a day at most, without seeing or speaking to this person, but their presencevoicetouchlaugh is a drug you would smoke, snort, shoot up and swallow whole. You are perhaps in another part of the city or country or world, but you have a delicate thread weaving its way across miles and state borders and oceans, connecting you to someone and keeping you grounded in a really weird, inexplicable way. If you suddenly feel as if this person has stopped wanting you, the inches around you crumble like a dream sequence from Inception. You disappear from yourself. Do you exist?

Feeling important makes you an obsessive barbarian drunk on yourself. Feeling wanted makes you a human being high on someone else. Big diff. Learn your drugs. TC mark

image – ~Twon~

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  • Charlene

    Wonderfully written. Since you called me out on facebook, twitter, my phone and tumblr, I left them all alone while reading. It was a challenge, of which I enjoyed.

  • http://booksaremyboyfriends.wordpress.com/ Books are my Boyfriends

    HA! I waited til AFTER I finished reading this article to check my Twitter follower count/ replies/direct messages/retweets.

    Smart, thoughtful piece, thank you!

  • jukie

    Hennessee?  do they make it in Tennessee

    • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

      I always thought it was Tennessey. Hm.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198922828 Marianna Elvira

    I always read articles without doing that, based on if they interest me, in which case I close it and move on to the next title that piques me. I read this through without any of those distractions, but I know some people can’t, and it’s funny how honest this is.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10036647 Aimee Vondrak

      Lucky you! You’ve got to teach some of the rest of us how to do it. I mean it.

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful and honest. And true.

  • Lons

    Couldn’t test to see if I could read the entire thing without checking Twitter or Facebook, cause I stopped when you wrote “bonified” instead of “bonafide.” Ugh.

    • Guest

      Bona fide.

      • http://www.facebook.com/m.paigekelly Megan Kelly

        hahahaha

      • http://eccentricerrant.wordpress.com/ Alexandrea

        Zing

    • Brianne

      I’m an abhorrent creature. I “ugh” at myself every morning and contemplate suicide whenever I commit a grammar or spelling error.

      • Leah

         i’m not trying to be a bitchy commenter here but the content of this article is insightful and thought-catalog worthy– for sure.  but make sure to cater to your audience, who will surely notice when you misspell “messages” and “bona fide,” and misuse a colon. hello, journalism grad school?

  • Asdf

    By the time I finished reading it, I predicted I’d have already made two or three comments about it. But, really, this was absolutely fantastic. Good job. :)

  • Guest

    new massages?

    • http://twitter.com/MissKimball misskimball

      it’s a new feature they’ve just rolled out to stop people transferring to google+

  • what

    i always hope for a new massage on facebook.

    • Brianne

      they’re the best. AND there’s an option for a happy ending. 

  • http://www.twitter.com/mexifrida Frida

    Great piece.
    I especially enjoyed the part about weighing yourself on how much a certain person, however far way, gives you importance.

    • guest

      me 2

    • guest

      me 2

  • http://twitter.com/yanyun92 Lim Yan Yun

    i was hoping this could go on longer.

    • shane leach

      agreed

  • Robertbenesh

    Fantastic. Thank you.
    Please write more pieces like this.
    I enjoyed your other works on this site,
    but they did not nearly affect me on the level that this has.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10036647 Aimee Vondrak

    So great. After reading this, shared it on Facebook (while checking my messages/comments, ha!) and insisted that had I nodded my head any more vigorously in agreement with, especially, the part about feeling wanted, it probably would have fallen right off my neck. Thanks for this beautiful and honest piece.

    • Brianne

      not to sound like spam, but thank you for your comment. this piece resonates with people solely because we all want to feel wanted, damnit. feeling important is something we can create for ourselves

  • http://twitter.com/godworm Nicholas Cox

    You diagnose the internet-sickness perfectly. We need a lot more articles like this.

    • Brianne

      we’re all guilty of it. I am sitting at Starbucks (because I have no wifi in my apt right now) and came here to pay bills, catchup on emails, etc. Since I’ve been here, I’ve stalked my ex-bff, checked Twitter 7 times, and am obviously creeping on this comment thread.

      I’m the worst

      • http://twitter.com/godworm Nicholas Cox

        But you’re NOT the worst—you just feel like you must be. But so do I. So do all of us. The whole thing about the Internet is it keeps us from knowing how bad everyone else has it.

  • http://www.alexandrahoey.com Alexandra

    So, “disco balls exploding in our guts” = one of the best images ever.

  • Sam

    Going a bit further, it’s been suggested that each time we check our facebook/email/twitter and receive a new message, our brain releases a small amount of dopamine, which leads to the addictive behavior. Not to mention the massive amount of dopamine that is released when we get positive attention in real life. You point out that this attention can be intoxicating, and you compare it to being high. I think that’s very appropriate.

  • Guest

    I wish my Facebook gave me massages.

  • Tyson

    Sometimes I feel like Facebook wants more than I can give. It’s scary, but comforting. Cool post. True.

  • http://twitter.com/arhcamt R

    SO TRUE. i was thinking of deactivating my twitter account to get my life back but then i realized it IS my life. i’m over facebook though. the only reason why i haven’t deactivated mine is because i still need the birthday calendar.

  • http://eccentricerrant.wordpress.com/ Alexandrea

    Maybe the reason why some people are self-important because they don’t feel wanted enough.

  • https://ambitiousdiary.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/the-feeling-of-wanting-to-be-wanted/ The feeling of wanting to be wanted | My Blog
  • https://bornsinner20.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/the-feeling-of-wanting-to-be-wanted/ The feeling of wanting to be wanted | Born Sinner
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