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Are You Desperate to Be Liked or Loved?


Are you desperate to be liked or loved? I feel a frisson of discomfort even posing the question, aware that it will pain some of you to accept this truth. However, I also know that if you don’t relinquish this desperate yearning which shapes and consumes your life, you’re bound to seek love in all the wrong places and end up miserable. So, please take a deep breath and read on knowing I have your interest at heart.

Humans are hard-wired to want to be liked and loved; there’s nothing wrong with this desire in itself. However, the downside of an insatiable quest for love, connection or approval that colors your every decision is that people will sense and react to it. For example, narcissists and sociopaths who are abusers and master manipulators will consciously or unconsciously take advantage of this dire need by showering you with faux love—the only kind their emotional dysfunction allows—in order to get what they want: power over you. Sooner rather than later, and definitely in the long run, they will harm and hurt you so badly you’ll end up feeling crushed and totally unlovable.

Another scenario is that, sensing your endless need to be affirmed and valued, more mentally healthy friends, parents, children, co-workers, supervisors, spouses, etc. will pull away from you. Weary of trying to constantly prop up your shaky self-worth, they may back off from the relationship in order to take better care of themselves—no matter how wonderful you are. And, once again, you’ll wind up feeling like yesterday’s trash.

Alternately, you may be targeted by people who want to make you their pet project, believing only they can fill your constant longing to be loved. These co-dependent folks wrongly assume if they just love you enough, all your lovability doubts will disappear. On rare occasion, these relationships may work out, but only if the fixer is good with you, the former fixee, finally loving yourself. If not, they’ll move on to another fixer-upper, leaving you feeling alone and unloved. 

Desperation to be liked and loved will never attract healthy relationships and is almost certain to cause major emotional distress as you continuously set yourself up for rejection and abandonment, or worse, abuse. The only way out is to build a solid core of lovability through the conviction that your imperfect self is lovable and worthy all the time—every minute of every day no matter what—and that you are the sole judge of your value. Only through unconditional self-love will you be ready to enjoy healthy, intimate relationships with people who also love themselves unconditionally. Start by looking in the mirror, hugging yourself, and proclaiming, “I love you just as you are.”