The search for love is important to us as one of the “emotional foods” indispensable to humans for developing ourselves and feeling happy and worthy of existence. Others include friendship, affection, and sympathy.
These are forms of positive recognition. But are there differences between simple sympathy and love? The answer is yes and no.
Table of Contents
- 1 The search for love: Introduction
- 2 How is the search for love affected in the case of social rejection?
- 3 How far will we go to feel loved?
- 4 The link between love and self-esteem
- 5 The search for love is a false remedy for boosting your self-esteem
- 6 The search for love: Conclusion
The search for love: Introduction
Love bonds, in the broadest sense, are about our need for attachment and security, influenced by our past.
These connections also have a biological function. Namely, human babies would not survive without the love and attention of others, such as our family, friends, etc.
Our emotional state can be very demanding to receive proof of love, such as the relation to our partner or children.
Every person needs to feel that they are liked, loved, or cared for. And there’s always a risk that jealous feelings can rear their head if we think someone else is getting more love and friendship than us….
This article will explain this inexhaustible need to be loved and present you with ways to take up your own place in the heart of others.
Several research studies have investigated, both in laboratory studies and in “natural” environments, what happens when we experience:
- a failure,
- a rejection, or
- a threat to our social standing.
Generally, all this will depend on self-esteem:
- For example, people with low self-esteem tend to be more pleasant and friendly after a failure.
- Conversely, people with high self-esteem often tend to be less pleasant with others after being challenged. They seem less dependent on social approval for their consolation and healing.
However, there is a significant risk for people with low self-esteem.
Because they feel chronically unsuccessful (whether real, feared, or fantasized), these people will often be tempted to buy others off with kindness.
Although it is not a bad thing in itself to offer kindness, it can harm our self-esteem. Kindness could then become a survival and prevention strategy instead of a free choice.
How far will we go to feel loved?
People can be highly dependent on signs of recognition and attachment to others.
People who are “too nice”
We can find people who are “too nice” who will suffocate others with their solicitude and excessive gifts.
Unfortunately, these people are too focused on others and too preoccupied with pleasing others.
They always feel that they owe something to others, and they can’t go anywhere without bringing a gift.
Generally, the more these people doubt the esteem in which they are held, the bigger the gift.
These people are too nice and feel obliged to others all the time.
It never occurs to them spontaneously that others might be grateful or that they can be loved for just being themselves and not for the gift or service rendered.
They like to buy the attention or affection of others through kindness or gifts.
A step above these behaviors and one falls into vulnerable personality profiles, such as emotional abandonment issues or dependent personality disorder.
In the case of abandonment, people will react violently (internally by suffering or externally by blaming or crying) to anything that seems to them a form of retreat or separation.
Some people are less sensitive to separation. Six months of not hearing from someone does not diminish their friendship or affection for that person.
However, this will not be the case for someone struggling with abandonment issues.
For them, any retreat or distance could be construed as the other person not loving them.
Some people with a dependent personality disorder might exhibit hyper-affective behavior in relationships. For example:
- They’ll make friends with new acquaintances very quickly.
- They’ll want to develop a more intimate relationship with a new colleague.
Though this behavior makes them appear clingy, it is essential because they think that no relationship is worthwhile without a high level of affection.
These two families of personalities (abandonment and emotional hyper-attachment) seem to have an unlimited need for signs of recognition and affection, as if their very existence depended on it.
Both types of personalities feel that they are nothing at all without love.
The link between love and self-esteem
There are many questions about love and self-esteem:
- Is love good for self-esteem?
- Does love repair or weaken self-esteem?
- And is it reasonable to expect all this from a person you love?
There is often a waste of love among people with low self-esteem who have a tendency to underestimate the positive regard in which they are held by their romantic partners.
These people often have the reflex of not wanting to feel too much love for fear of becoming too dependent on the other.
The partner might think it’s a lack of love when in reality, it’s an excess of fear and a lack of self-confidence.
Therefore, it is vital for people to overcome their low self-esteem and gain more self-confidence to become more sensitive, open, and receptive to love from a romantic partner.
These people will also tend not to avoid using their relationship to get over their feelings of inadequacy and incompetence.
They might also need to be more confiding or daring to ask for advice or attention when required.
In addition, love could result in the disappearance of two independent personalities, which is also linked to self-esteem problems.
As such, two merged, dependent personalities may be stronger and more secure but also less visible and less exposed.
However, to merge one’s personality with that of one’s partner is also to be tempted to disappear behind one’s partner, to exist socially only through them, and to feel totally relieved and disconnected from one’s own identity.
As a result, self-esteem will drop considerably.
Because there are many complaints and ailments of love, the area of love life is one of the most frequently addressed in psychology. It includes:
- Fears of connection: fear of disappointing the other and of being disappointed.
- Misused relationships: we ask too much of the other person or, conversely, not enough.
- Excessive ideals (such as unrealistic beauty ideals).
Many studies indicate that having self-confidence and improving one’s self-esteem are critical solutions to dealing better with social relationships.
The search for love is a false remedy for boosting your self-esteem
Some people go to therapy to heal their complexes and self-esteem but regularly drop out of treatment whenever they fall in love.
Once these people have found their emotional partner, they no longer feel the need to come for treatment since they stop wondering about themselves because they finally feel loved by someone.
However, this love does not have a lasting therapeutic effect. Little by little, feelings of self-doubt and low self-confidence will return.
Strangely enough, the first doubts are projected onto the partner.
The person in love stops idealizing them and gradually starts seeing their flaws and negative behaviors, which they’ve ignored or minimized until then.
Then, the self-doubts and complexes return to the person in love.
When the person in love then leaves their partner, they will find themselves alone again with their worries and perpetual dissatisfactions.
Therefore, love is advantageous for those suffering from low self-esteem because they no longer think of themselves but of others.
Indeed, we no longer think about ourselves but about the couple we are in love with. We could define this as forgetting about ourselves through an obsession with the other.
In this case, we think only in terms of “us” and hide behind the couple, providing a sense of security to be better accepted by others.
Finding love does not erase our doubts about ourselves and does not directly increase our self-esteem.
Whether single or in a relationship, it is crucial to learn to love and accept yourself despite your flaws.
Therefore, it is necessary to work on your doubts and your demands for perfection so that it is no longer a cumbersome obstacle to your happiness.
The search for love: Conclusion
People with low and fragile self-esteem will always search for love, affection, friendship, and sympathy from others.
Even if we all need these forms of positive recognition, we must not depend on them, and we must not fear rejection nor live our lives according to the esteem of others.
Being appreciated and loved by others can increase our self-confidence, but know that this will only last for a while if you don’t continue to work on your doubts and complexes.
Hence, you must first love and accept yourself as you are and adopt a positive body image, before wanting to be loved by others at all costs.
Being appreciated by others may make you happy for a while, but it will only be temporary.
Having good self-esteem, and accepting your complexes and flaws are crucial to feeling happy with yourself and others.