I have been in many platonic and romantic relationships where all I’ve craved was to feel loved. Where all I wanted was approval of who I was. To feel cared for.
I have been in many work relationships where all I’ve craved was to feel appreciated. Where all I wanted was validation for the work that I’ve done. To feel valued.
These cravings didn’t all happen at once. Sometimes I’d be more focused on my friendships and romantic relationships and then other times work, but what I found was that I had this overall sense that I wasn’t getting what I needed. And while I wasn’t getting what I needed if you asked me what would satisfy this craving I couldn’t tell you.
All I knew was that I wanted to feel differently than I did and nobody was making that happen.
And, if a relationship ended or if I started a new contract somewhere maybe this need would subside for a few weeks, a month, but after a while the same desire for love, appreciation, and approval would appear. I’d be back to mumbling under my breath, using passive aggression to show my frustration, and fishing for responses. I’d be extremely vague and wouldn’t say what was on my mind.
I wanted to feel loved and appreciated without having to say anything.
What I’ve learned is that to feel this love and approval the only person I actually needed to talk to about it was myself.
See – if I take care of me and if I appreciate me – all of me (the good, bad, the ugly) then I don’t need it from others.
And if I care for me and if I appreciate me then I don’t blame others for not showing me love and validating my efforts.
See because if I care for me then I can say to someone – I like you and if you don’t like me that’s okay. Yes, it will suck for a while, but, I’m okay. I’m okay, because I’m taking care of myself. I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t like me. I want to be with someone who does like me.
If I appreciate the work that I’m doing and I value the work I do and can see my contribution then I can advocate for myself and take the initiative and ask for a raise or potentially negotiate a better balance of working at home a couple days a week if needed.
I don’t think it’s possible to feel cared for by others and appreciated for your efforts without having a conversation with yourself first.
And that conversation starts with questions like:
- What does caring for myself look like? (going to the dentist, being free of debt, allowing myself to feel whatever I feel when I feel it without judgment)
- What do I appreciate about myself? (work ethic, sense of humor, patience, decision maker)
Before I started to pay attention to the words I used most of the conversations I was having with myself were focused on what others weren’t doing for me, or why I wasn’t feeling how I wanted to feel because x or y wasn’t happening.
And what was amazing was that when I began to choose a new conversation with myself – focusing more on how to care and appreciate myself – was when my desire for love and appreciation was satiated.
Now and again, I’ll fall back into this desire for love and appreciation from others – blaming them for not creating a feeling in me that I crave. And when I do – now I know how to feel better. I simply begin a new conversation with myself by asking – how can I care for you right now? What do you need to feel better? And if the answer is, I want a hug, then I go over to my partner and ask, “can I have a hug.” And if the answer is I need to leave my job, then I start looking for my next move.
What conversations are you having with yourself that you want to change? Because you can!