When Do You Feel Most Important?

According to Sigmund Freud, humanity is motivated by two desires: sex and to be great. I read that in a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People, which was originally published long before BuzzFeed made its case for the viral potential of a bait-y headline, in 1936.

But back to the initial point.

Sex and greatness.

Greatness and sex.

I think by the rules of the aforementioned theory, if you can umbrella sex under indulgence — erotic and not — that portion makes perfect sense. More interesting for me, though, is the piece about greatness. To understand it, we must first ask what makes us feel great, right?

What Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends, explains is that our respective senses of personal greatness are directly correlated with how important we feel. Think about that for a second. Even love — the centerpiece pursuit of so many of our lives — is in a way motivated by our wanting to feel important. Isn’t that, after all, what it means to be loved? So I’ve been thinking, what makes us feel important? When do we feel most important?

I know that for my husband, it’s when he feels like people (I?) need him. Sometimes I think that’s the reason he fell in love with me: I will honestly forget to apply basic human tendencies, like to shower, or brush my teeth or blink my eyes if I’m not reminded to. I definitely would not open my mail and therefore neither would I pay my bills if it weren’t for his meticulous attention to detail (or what other people might call, a pretty common sense of responsibility).

For me, it’s when I feel like I’ve done a good job. It doesn’t matter at what, but I like the appreciation. As in, “Well done with the chicken you prepared, Leandra. You did that all the while wearing that fantastic outfit? Wait a second, were you cooking while we were on that conference call earlier and you were delivering a sparkling spiel about the future of digital media?” So I guess I feel important when I feel like I am being appreciated. This is the first time I have said that out loud. Or publicly. It no doubt makes a stronger case for my being an insufferable narcissist but one thing I am not is a liar, so it also just is what it is.

But in the spirit of change, let’s turn the flashlight over to you. When do you feel most important? What makes you feel that way?

Photograph by Thomas Hoepker via Victory Journal. Carousel Photograph from Getty Images via Daily Mail.


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