Do you get excited about being wanted by others? Perhaps it is evident in your career or within your personal relationships. How does it make you feel? Reflect on these feelings as we delve deeper into this topic.
There’s no denying it—being wanted can boost our self-esteem and self-worth. We may feel better for it, but it is a false sense of worth manufactured by the ego to convince us of our worthiness. But let’s be clear: being wanted is not the same as being appreciated or valued, as I will outline below.
Consider this for a moment: The ego thrives on being seen and heard; it needs to be validated. Because if the ego doesn’t receive validation, we become depressed, angry, or emotionally deprived. It is why people are addicted to social media, such as Instagram, where constant validation is common. But this is disingenuous admiration that feeds our ego without nourishing our soul.
Validation Must Come From Within
“What makes people weak? Their need for validation and recognition, their need to feel important. Don’t get caught in this trap.” — Paulo Coelho
Reflect on this for a moment: Being wanted comes at a cost to our self-worth because we become accustomed to seeking praise instead of giving ourselves the validation we deserve. Are you with me so far? Nod your head in agreement that you understand the difference between being wanted and being valued. The Instagram influencers who thrive on social validation manufacture their lives to appeal to a certain audience. They are promoting a misleading way of life out of reach for many people. I don’t intend to demonize them but highlight why validation is a double-edged sword we can become addicted to.
To take this idea even further: There is a difference between being wanted and being valued, evident in the energy we give to something outside of us. The energy of being wanted drains our life-force because it is grounded in desire. We become addicted to the intoxicating emotions that feed our ego. But being wanted does not enhance our personal growth because we become addicted to having our self-worth substantiated by others. We surrender our power to someone who may misuse their power against us. Nothing outside of you can validate your self-worth. It must come from an enhanced self-worth and unyielding self-respect. These are the virtues of a healthy character and the foundations of noble virtues.
The final point I wish to emphasise is this: Being wanted is a self-serving pursuit which I liken to a one-way street; it only serves you. In contrast, being valued arises out of our commitment to serve others. Think about those in your community who perform honourable work, helping under-privileged groups. The value they provide is selfless and grounded in a dedication to serve others. You see, when we are valued for who we are and what we do, we connect with a deeper meaning and purpose for our life. Therefore, the meaning we ascribe to our actions arises from our commitment to enrich other people’s lives.
Are Your Relationships Self-Serving Or Self-Empowering?
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” — Dale Carnegie
Are you satisfied with these ideas because it’s important to understand the difference between being wanted and valued? If we place importance on being wanted alone, we create an imbalance in our relationships, awarding power to another person. Conversely, being valued is the foundation of our character and cannot be taken from us. In contrast, if someone stops needing us, our self-worth may diminish because we have entrusted it to them instead of owing it ourselves. Recall when you were in a relationship and your partner broke it off. Think about how you felt following the breakup. It may have taken you many months to get over them, and it probably challenged your self-worth. This is because we are social beings and crave meaningful connections. But we must recognize whether our relationships are self-serving or self-empowering.
Therefore, we ought to place greater importance on being congruent in our actions, our character and self-worth. In doing so, we live harmoniously to uphold these values, given they are the bedrock upon which character is formed. Character cannot be taken from us because true character is revealed behind closed doors when no one is looking.
With this in mind, I’d like you to consider three important relationships in your life. Choose an intimate partner if you are currently in a relationship, a professional relationship, and a friend. Analyse each of them to see whether you are wanted or valued in the relationship. If you are unsure, ask them. Find out what qualities they value most in you. Why do they value these qualities amongst others?
In the long run, we must nourish our soul because it is the foundation of our true nature and indicative of the value we bring to other people’s lives. If we expect to form deeper connections in our relationships, we must transition from being ego-identified to soul centric (heart-based living). After all, being valued expands our self-worth and enhances our true character more than the validation that comes with being wanted.