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Needing to Feel Valued

Updated on February 28, 2013

Appreciate Someone

 We all need to feel appreciated.
We all need to feel appreciated. | Source

The Need to Feel Valued

It is a natural feeling to want to feel valued, as opposed to feeling unappreciated. We seek recognition from the things we do because we want to feel valued. Whether or not we are acknowledged for our efforts affects our mood and our behavior. Feeling valued is a primitive emotional need that gives us a sense of who we are and our place in the world.


Some people use this need to put others down, falsely believing they are making themselves feel better. We all crave respect and admiration. Physiologically our body responds to the feelings of being devalued as a threat. Our cortisol levels rise just like the fight or flight response, as though we are threatened. In a way being unappreciated is a threat to our social acceptance, our self esteem and our status.

When we feel undervalued, it is natural to look to defend ourselves and try to restore our self esteem and personal value.

Leaders often can tap into this need people have of feeling valued and grasp the concept of the vulnerability this brings.

There are things you can do when you feel some threat to feeling valued. You can ask yourself if you really think your value is threatened and why. Think about the reasons you should be valued and your reaction might just change. First and foremost have compassion for yourself, and that will help you engage with your inner core values.

We all want to feel important, to believe that we are making a positive impact in the world and for ourselves. We have a need to connect to each other. Human beings are designed to be social creatures.


We want to feel like our efforts make a difference. We want to compensate for the love we didn’t get. We want validation to know that we matter, that we are significant in this world. The more distorted our belief is that we were not valued, the more attention we seek that can actually turn off other people. We are so empty, we can never get enough validation to fill us up.

The Basic Need of Being Recognized

We Want to Stand Out

It feels good to be validated by others. Some of it has to do with the feeling that we are okay, and parental approval. Being appreciated helps us feel more secure and accepted. We then view ourselves as more desirable, and valuable. We want to be special.

Most times we are not acknowledged for the contributions we make. Insecure people will fish for compliments.

We want to b applauded, to feel like we stand out, to gain admiration from others and to be respected. We want to be more than average, we want to feel exceptional. This also causes us to feel envious of others when they get the attention we desire. Compliments help us feel good from the inside out. We feel more worthy when we receive accolades from others. It helps us reduce our self doubt. The problem is that people who know how to manipulate others use this to their advantage. Praise can be a form of seduction as they tap into our egos, making us susceptible to their ways.


We all need to feel valued, understood, and appreciated. What do you do to make someone else feel valued?

There are things you can do to let someone know they are valued:

  • Attentive Listening is one way to help someone feel valued. You can read all about being a good listener by clicking here.
  • Validating someone else’s feelings
  • Empathizing

Human beings are social creatures. We need to feel connected to others in order to be happy. That is why we look to join groups and be part of social gatherings.

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist developed the “Hierarchy of Needs", in a 1943 paper he wrote called, "A Theory of Human Motivation". Maslow created a pyramid of needs, that are universal among all human beings.

The five levels start with most basic biological needs, the next level is about security and safety, the third level is the need to feel a sense of belonging, the fourth level is self esteem and admiration of others, the fifth level is self actualization, which no one can really achieve. Feeling valued is crucial to our feeling of usefulness.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs

 Maslow's Theory shows us that feeling valued is a basic human need.
Maslow's Theory shows us that feeling valued is a basic human need. | Source

Maslow's Theory of Needs

When you look at Maslow’s pyramid of needs, you can see that to be acknowledged, is part of belonging and part of feeling esteemed. Feeling valued is a natural human need.
We need to value ourselves, and value others in order to be able to accept feeling valued by others.
We like to say that we don’t care what other people think about us, but it can’t be ignored either. Everyone needs to be recognized for the things they do. When you acknowledge others, they will invariably acknowledge you. We all treasure recognition, compliments, and praise.

We all want to rise above the crowd, and to feel special. People attempt this in ways through their appearance, through fame, through status, through wealth, and through their personality.

People have a need to get positive feedback for their efforts. Everybody wants to be somebody. Everyone wants to feel like they matter. Everyone wants to feel important.

In a study done by Harris Interactive in January 2012, over 1700 adults were surveyed online.

Studies have shown that companies who help their employees feel valued, have workers who report that they feel better mentally and physically. These employees are also much more engaged in their work. According to the study, 93% of employees who feel valued are motivated to do their best.

In the study over half of the employees who do not have this feeling of value usually seek to find another job. There were many factors that contributed to feeling undervalued at work, from having less involvement in decision making to being unsatisfied with the potential for advancement, and less flexibility in their work schedule.

Stress in the workplace can intensify the feeling of being undervalued. This can lead to an increase in absenteeism and a lower productivity.

When employees feel recognized for their efforts and contributions, it becomes personally meaningful to that individual. A very important need, that of feeling valued, is met.

Making employees feel valued is a matter of simply and sincerely recognizing the person. When individuals know that they each have a contribution to make, that they do make a difference, and their abilities, skills, and knowledge are needed.

The need to feel valued is very strong and compelling. We especially want to feel valued by people we view as important. The idea of needing to be valued can go back to evolutionary times.

At the basis of who we are, we are social creatures. Our joy and delight, our pride, excitement, and love and positive reactions come in response to be connected, to feeling valued to positive reinforcement.

Relationships and Feeling Valued

Feeling valued and important are part of these feelings. The relationships we have or think we have with each other form a sphere of influence. Human beings can not flourish in an alienated state.

Not only do we need to be connected to others, but we need to feel like we make a difference in this world and to those that are important to us. We need to feel important, to be noticed, to be appreciated, to feel wonderful, to be acknowledged, to know we are special in some way.

it is an uplifting feeling to be valued, to feel like we matter, that we make a unique and important contribution, and to be recognized for it. The feeling of being appreciated is important to our emotional well being and our motivation to do things.

Yet, people do not readily praise and show kind appreciation for others efforts. In a study done by Marcial Losada among workers and their bosses, employees who felt they were unfairly criticzed and whose concerns were not listened to, had a 30% higher rate of heart disease than those who felt they worked in a more caring environment.

If you are a boss, it is important to recognize that there are costs to devaluing other people and that energy spent on compliments may change your employees behavior for the better.

While it may feel uncomfortable to show appreciation to others, you may also find it difficult to appreciate yourself. So start with appreciating thing within yourself.

Take notice of what other people are doing right. Think positive, take positive action and look for the best in people. The more you look for the good in others, the more you will find it.

How we feel influences how we perform. The better we feel, the better we do. When we feel devalued, it affects us emotionally. By giving positive feedback to other people, you can make a difference in how people feel. Celebrate those around you. It is not really hard to build people up.

The Need to Feel Valued

Take time to appreciate, notice, and recognize other people.
Take time to appreciate, notice, and recognize other people. | Source

We All Need to Feel Valued

People of all ages benefit from good relationships and positive thinking.

Building self esteem is more important than you may realize to our children, to our co-workers, to our relatives, to our friends, to our spouses.

It ends up being the little things you do that help others know they are valued. What you need others need. And as you give positive things to others, these positive things will be returned to you.

I hope you take a few minutes right now, and later again today, and always, to think about the people who are important to you, and about how much you value them. And now the hard part... tell them so.

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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Needing to Feel Valued, one should show appreciation in what others do them, be able to thank them for their help or kindness.

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