We all have a need for validation -- being told a job was well done or being told that we are valued, wanted or attractive.
Some people have a greater need to be validated than others.
Do you find yourself being drawn to situations or experiences in life where you feel needed?
Check the following and see if any of these fit you personally or someone that you know.
· Volunteering or being in a position for recognition
· Building up partners to validate/be validated
· Being whom you think you should be for others
· Overachieve at your career
· Prefer to be with company avoid being silent or alone
· Feelings of being rejected or cheated when you’re not the center of attention
· Feel left out and take it personal when you’re not in the loop
· The sounding board, you listen well, you have the idea that you might be able to fix them
· Positioning yourself in relationships with partners who you believe are less than you
· Not having boundaries, feeling uncomfortable saying no
· Giving people the impression that you’re self-centered
· Using others to be your ‘rock’
· People tend to gravitate away from you, feeling uncomfortable and not knowing why
· You don’t attract trustworthy people/partners
· You feel that you’re needs aren’t being met
A person who moves thru life with the pretense of taking care of others has a hidden agenda. Although taking care of others or situations in life appear to be the good thing to do, they have an expectation attached to the outcome of their deed. They feel deprived of validation.
When one has an inner need that isn’t being met there is a feeling of general loneliness, sadness or even anxiety. Someone who avoids addressing internal needs often looks for ways to be needed. A person who needs to be needed can become addicted to distractions with several concurrent situations to feed their fury. Generally, as a situation is on the threshold of completion, the person has sought out and found a couple more distractions to fill its place. Thus avoiding the feelings of loneliness, sadness and anxiety. Instead they receive an addictive rush, which leads to more external distractions.
Generally needy behaviors impose an icky feeling or an expectation on others. I grew up believing that it was the man’s job to take care of the woman. My mother expected my Dad to take care of her, for the most part he did. I learned to expect the same. I had men taking care of me – providing me funds, paying my way, purchasing materialistic items, and providing me a home. I depended on the man to take the lead in relationship and when things didn’t go the way I’d expected I’d play the victim as It was easy to get sympathy from those who’d commiserated their tragedies with me. I generally selected someone who was stable as a rock as my life was so unstable. I’d tell myself that they would give me stability. (It never dawned on me that I could provide this for myself.) There have been different times in my life when a guy would pay attention to me, and in turn I would hold him hostage to my incessant mach 90 vocal performance. I swear I went on and on for a good hour. I thrived on the attention and being the center of attention was primo. I followed my parent’s examples. I was needy and I needed to be needed. I always found myself at the mercy of someone and while I prayed for change I continued this behavior for a good part of my life.
Here are some examples of the ‘need to be needed’ behaviors that I employed:
· One year I submitted several items that were overqualified to the fair for the ribbons
· Being super woman and available to do things for others
· Having foster children
· Owning businesses
· Prior to returning to school I was everyone’s unpaid counselor; I spent hours listening to venting with the belief that I could ‘fix’ them
· Allowing others to make decisions for me
· Staying in unhealthy relationships
· Talking about other people
· Building others up/gift giving
· Not saying no, uncomfortable with setting boundaries
· Saying things that I thought people wanted to hear
· Having material items as an identity
With years of life not working and believing that there had to be a better way of living life, I decided to examine my actions and my way of living. I felt needy, the need to be needed and I felt abandoned. I complained a lot. Sometimes I nagged and other times I behaved like an unruly tyrant. I was like a magnet, there were always people who had situations for me to take care of, thus the need to be needed was fulfilled, except it was a temporary high – behaving like a junky on the lookout for another fix to make me feel good. I kept myself occupied with distractions, as I didn’t want to address my inner world.
The thought of slowing down and going within was a lot of bunk. My need to be validated kept me hooked to the point of exhaustion. Eventually I learned the only person to quench my thirst of neediness would be me. That meant re-evaluating my actions and taking time to take care for my needs.
Several possible solutions for you to consider:
Quiet your mind. Listen to your inner voice. Honor you. With the fast pace of daily living, and having an agenda filled to the brim, you say, “Who’s got time to slow down?” Mach 90 keeps you running from one stressor to another, taking care of everyone else’s needs – which continues the unhealthiness of being needy or the need to be needed. Slowing down can be difficult. Sitting still and quieting your mind might seem next to impossible, yet even five minutes will create phenomenal results. Giving yourself permission to be still and quieting your mind is allowing your mind and your body to replenish and become healthy. When you have one of those ‘gut feelings’ (also known as inner voice/ inner wisdom) listen to it and take action on it. Your body is a messenger. These messages are provided to you for a reason. It’s my experience they aren’t wrong. I find that when I don’t listen, I wished I had. Listen to those messages. The more that you listen to your inner voice – your gut feeling, the more life will work for you. Honor you being who you are and all of the wonderful ways that makes you special. Compliment yourself! Having difficulty with this? Make a Victory log.
Generate a list of all of your experiences that you’ve accomplished in your life. Monitor your daily successes and each evening prior to going to sleep add them to your Victory Log. You’ll notice the things on your list are positive and supportive of believing in you. Listening to your inner voice assists with releasing being needy or the need to be needed.
Take care of you. If you don’t take the time to take care for yourself, you will become more needy. You will seek out validation and attention from others. Spend your energy filling yourself with positive fuel. You’ll get more for your mileage. Seek ways that make you feel good such as reading, exercise, walking, taking a bath, journaling, gardening, learn to play an instrument, get creative and learn how to paint or take a class for the fun of it. Hire a coach or seek counseling.
When you find yourself feeling needy – listen, listen, listen. Sometimes you will find yourself back in old thinking patterns. Make a new choice immediately. Tell yourself that these old patterns and thoughts aren’t going to get you healthy. And move on. As you practice paying attention to your inner dialogue, question your underlying motives. Check your feelings. Spend time alone with you; although that is the last thing you might want to do. Journaling, self-talk and taking care of you goes a long way towards supporting yourself in being healthy. And healthy experiences lead to a happier life.
Have people in your life that you trust and feel safe with. Be brave and ask them to coach you and intervene. Ask them to mentor you with behaviors that are acceptable. As you learn to reprogram your behaviors your need to be coached will be less and less.
What ever you look for, if you look hard enough you’ll find it. Start acknowledging the healthy ways that you are supported and appreciated. Bring to mind the things that come easy to you – smile and be grateful. Seek out the things that you take for granted and acknowledge them as riches in your life. Pat yourself on the back and say good job! Do it. Look around and identify those people who are mentoring you and give yourself credit for your courage to change. If not, you’ll look for others to reinforce your neediness, and someone will always be there. Seek the evidence that you have a constant inflow of attention and love. Be creative and start implementing self-love, self-care and self-validation.
Here is an example of how I grew from being needy and the need to be needed to being responsible for my needs, and believing and trusting in me:
About a month ago I was a keynote speaker to 400 women, at the time that I delivered the keynote, I felt in alignment with my Source; the sense of knowing I was in sync was incredible. I didn’t “need” validation.
Another example, I enjoy making cookies and every Friday I take them to my grandson’s class to enjoy. The kids call me grandma. Everyone looks forward to and enjoys the cookies. My primary motive is something special for Bryce.
On occasions I have suggested that I send the cookies to school with Bryce. He is opposed to this as he enjoys me sharing lunchtime with him. If I were looking for validation (the need to be needed), it would be an absolute for me to deliver the cookies, soak up all the compliments from the children, teachers and staff.
With your persistence and the support of your trusted friends, the neediness, and having to be validated can be overcome. Believe it. Looking out for you will become an inside job.
~ Being passionate about personal growth and organizational development, Glenda Gibbs has become a popular motivational speaker, coach/counselor and writer. She facilitates individuals and organizations to stretch beyond their known potential. Glenda would love the opportunity to work with you or your organization by calling her at (509) 585-9683.