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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

The Need to be Seen

If you believe in “The Five Love Languages” as talked about in the book by Gary Chapman, mine is words of affirmation. This has always felt like a huge weakness to me because I believe at times, I have confused the need for words of affirmation with “the need to be seen”.

This has caused me to question, is “the need to be seen” the same as the need for affirmation?

The only way I can come up with an answer is to consider my own life and “the need to be seen” I have dealt with for many years. You see, I have spent a lifetime overachieving and pushing my way to the front. I have done so with vigor, drive, and a desire to be the best I can be at whatever I do.

Even though I have often found myself at the forefront on numerous occasions, I have never been satisfied with my position or station in life.

This is something I understand about myself and have been dealing with my entire life.

The question I must ask is has the need for words of affirmation evolved into “the need to be seen” and is there a difference?

I believe there is a difference. The need for affirmation is something that demonstrates the value others see in us. While “the need to be seen” is simply about us.

I have found my need for affirmation stems from a lifetime of dealing with an issue of abandonment I experienced as a child. This led me to pursue life with zeal and passion and has allowed me to achieve at a high level.

The irony is this same issue has created “the need to be seen”.

I do not believe I am alone. For many of us, our life experiences have created protection mechanisms we have used to move past our pain and into a world who has little concern for our wellbeing one way or another.

The pivotal point is when we realize how we got where we are and why. Then we can see ourselves as we truly are and move forward understanding why we are the way we are.

Do I believe my need to be affirmed is real? Yes, I do and also believe it is how I am wired. Do I believe “the need to be seen” is real? Certainly, but I do not believe this is how I am wired. I believe the wiring that led to this need got crossed somewhere between the desire for affirmation and the pain of abandonment.

Can I recover from this disease? I believe I most definitely can.

If you are dealing with a past hurt or pain that has led you to “the need to be seen” I ask you to consider the possibility you are not only seen, but you are also known and accepted just the way you are.

Where does this knowledge and acceptance come from? It comes from the one who knows and created us this way.

His name is Jesus and He wants you to know He sees you and loves you fully!

Jeremiah 12:3, “But you, O Lord, know me; you see me, and test my heart toward you.

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