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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Does Anyone Even Care? The Need to Feel Significant

We can do everything in the world right but if no one notices, we can feel that there is no point. If we work and strive and all that people comment on is what we don't do well, we can feel dejected and worthless. When we strive with no reward, we will become angry and want to walk away.

Significance - feeling significant in someone else's life is one of the six human needs that must be fulfilled in order to live a life of joy.

We can and do meet this need in positive and negative ways. For children it is classic in a classroom for a child to create a system of bad behaviors to get attention. The child knows they will get attention if they poke their sibling - they will be significant -significant to the sibling and to the parent. All of a sudden the checked out, busy, distracted parent will be very present in the child's life.

In family dynamics, children find ways to be significant. Oldest children usually strive for being perfect. Youngest often seek to be the wild child - the opposite of the eldest. Children stuck in the middle seek to make peace and want to be valued as the peacemaker - in fact they begin to thrive on drama if they can then be significantly involved in it. Your birth order can have a stereotype, but we can all find ourselves into each of these categories.

And how many children who are not nurtured and never made to feel significant as children - and in fact often feel there is a favorite child in the home, develop into adults whose buttons are pushed when they are not the center of attention. Do you know anyone like this? I do - and it is not pretty to watch. In fact it is heart breaking.

For people whose number one need is significance, they must be watchful of the ease of negative patterns which may already be created. They must learn that they could be the juiciest peach in the world - but there is always someone who doesn't like peaches. They must learn to flow with those who value them and celebrate them - never worrying about those who don't. AND they must learn to take turns. Sometimes it is not your turn to be the most important person in the room - and that is okay.

How can you make your partner of children feel significant today? How can you teach your students to take turns being the most significant person in a group? How can you remember that just because your spouse compliments your friend's cooking, it is not an insult against yours? How can you keep the ugly jealousy monster at bay and know that your presence in the world is a blessing to others - therefor making you very significant?