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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

The Need to Be Known

Even as children most of us desired to be seen and known. This started in the home if you had siblings. The need to be noticed, accepted, and appreciated by your parents, grandparents and other family members was real.

There were times when we competed for their attention and when we didn’t get the attention, we craved, there was disappointment, anger and resentment.

This is because each of us wants to and has a “need to be known”. This is true regardless of who we are and where we are from.

In my own life, there have been times when I have struggled with this need.

Interestingly, I have found this need did not fade over time. In fact, it intensifies as that need is not met. At times it has seemed, as if the more I was known, the more “the need to be known” increased.

As with everything, the question is why? Why does it matter if I am known? Why does it matter if you are known?

I suppose the answer will vary for each of us. Regardless, finding out why we have this need is important.

I discovered the “need to be known” in my life stemmed from being given up for adoption when I was twelve years old. The irony was I didn’t realize the effect this had on me until I was in my early fifties.

Once I became aware of this need, I was able to understand why it was important to me and why I cared what others thought of me. Since then, the “need to be known” has not gone away, but at least now I understand why it exists.

The need to know why being known is important has led me to introspection and allowed me to see weaknesses I have regarding how I am perceived by others. This has allowed me to become self-aware.  From here, I have become self-assured, which has allowed me to truly understand who I am and why I am the way I am.

Now, when I feel like I am unknown, I immediately understand where this feeling is coming from which allows me to compensate for it by focusing on the truth; I am known by those who matter most and that is what really matters.

Has the “need to be known” gone away for me? No, it has not. But now I understand where this need comes from. Which helps me to overcome the feelings of inadequacy this need can bring.

I would like to close by reminding anyone who may suffer from the “need to be known”. You are fully known and loved just the way you are. You were created on purpose for a purpose.

Who knows us like this? Jesus does and He loves us anyway!

Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

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Apr 15
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for a thoughtful blog that helps us understand ourselves more fully.

John Whitehead
John Whitehead
Apr 16
Replying to

Thank you as always for your response. Accepting most of are dealing with many of the same issues is where understanding begins!

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