When You Want Connection and Reinforcement from Others
Do you want to be complimented, loved, admired, and respected?
You may be unaware that you are continually preventing the very thing you want.
After several decades of experience in my psychotherapy practice helping people to achieve much more functional lives and satisfying relationships, it is clear to me that virtually everyone wants the same thing.
You may be thinking that everyone wants to be happy and successful, and while that is largely true, most people spend their lives also wanting something perhaps MORE than that. People want to be loved, liked, appreciated, important, complimented, admired, respected and connected.
Overall, it appears that we humans must seek and gain some strong measure of being regularly CONNECTED with others.
Consider the following:
- We require closeness and connection with others. Everyone largely wants connection… to find love, closeness, intimacy, meaning, lasting friendships, close family sanctuary. When we lack any of these, we can become sad, estranged, isolated, depressed, lonely, self-destructive, addicted to substances, and/or medication. When we become emotionally malnourished, we become unhappy!
- We want to be fed regularly! While we certainly want food regularly, we also want to be fed emotionally. We want to know that others like, love, admire, respect us, and we want to remain connected. It’s the ongoing reinforcement of the “glue” that remains so important!
- We often look for relief when we feel disconnected and unimportant. Sometimes we medicate with food, which gives us relief while we eat — followed by weight gain and feeling worse. Imagine treating loneliness with food. Does that seem like common sense? Hardly. Other times we choose medicine. Perhaps the largest categories of medicine in Big Pharma that are the most successful and profitable are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines. These medications are designed to help you cope with your emotional problems, and among the most powerful emotional disturbances people experience is LONELINESS! When we feel disconnected, estranged, isolated, alone, unloved, unimportant, and/or unappreciated, we often become depressed and unhappy. These medicines may turn down the volume of your unhappiness for a bit, and yet, you will likely keep your emotional problems without replacing your ongoing behavior with habits that allow you to restore being connected with others.
- We become addicted to other forms of seeking reinforcement and attention. Some of the ongoing addictions that we seek to help us feel better, loved, appreciated, respected, wanted, and desirable are Social Media:
We have become so dependent on getting some kind of reinforcement that we routinely advertise information about ourselves on the internet in the desperate hope that someone will pay attention to us.
In 1938 Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People. He said the most powerful need that people have to be met is to feel important. How true! Therefore, if that need is so powerful, is it really a surprise that people work overtime to get attention today on the internet?
- What happened to marriage? Most of us want to be married and live happily ever after. It sounds good and yet 50%-60% of marriages fail after five to eight years. What is curious is that common sense tells us that it would be unthinkable to try to fly an airplane without thoroughly learning how to fly, and yet most everyone tries to fly a marriage without knowing the first thing about how to keep it up in the air successfully.
When you were courting your partner, you both were on your best behavior… you looked good, smelled great, went the extra mile, routinely fed each other emotionally, and continually found out what each other wanted and then gave it to the other. You married the courtship! What would make you both quit the courtship after the wedding?
The single most common contributor to damaged or failed marriages is that both people are emotionally malnourished. The married partners quit the ongoing reinforcement and maintenance they delivered during the courtship. What often results is criticism, indifference, silence, fighting and contempt.
SO WHAT IS THE DEAL? Read more