Known, Wanted, Chosen, Understood and Loved

Known, wanted, chosen understood and loved.

Our physical needs are obvious. We need food, water, sleep etc. But, sometimes we ignore our emotional needs. We need to be known, wanted, chosen, understood and loved. Our actions are often driven by these needs.

I am an advocate of the “Wild at Heart” Pause app. The app contains great meditations which include this affirmation:

I am known.
I am wanted.
I am chosen.
I am understood.
I am loved.

Let’s break this down.


I have blogged on what I call, the “Cheers” effect. The need to be “where everybody knows your name”. You can follow this link to read more so I won’t delve too deeply here. But, have you noticed how tuned in you are to your name? Have you ever experienced the thrill of discovering that someone you admire knows your name? Can you recall the disappointment when you realize someone doesn’t know your name?

A former student was passing by my door recently. She looked at me and said, “Mr. Dunn, do you remember me?”. I said, “Yes”. She smiled and said, “What’s my name?”. Well, I had been her teacher for one year and it was during the craziness of hybrid learning. I’m ashamed to say that I had to tell her that I didn’t remember. Her head dropped and the smile left her face as she walked away.

Sometimes even the seemingly most confident people will surprise you with this need. My wife and I chaperoned a senior trip years ago. Each evening the students would gather in a circle and spend some quality time with each other. On one of those occasions a young man became emotional. He looked around the circle of his peers and with tears in his eyes, blurted out, “Remember me!”. What a shock! This was a first string, popular football player. He strutted around the school like a rooster in a hen house and yet was afraid that he would be forgotten?

It doesn’t matter who you are, no one wants to slip into anonymity.

Wanted and Chosen

Many of us can relate with the following scene. You’re on the school playground and it is time to choose teams for kickball. If you’re like me, this immediately makes you start to sweat. “Will I be wanted on a team?” “Will I be chosen?”

Thank goodness this goes away when you get older, right? Yeah, no. You still walk into a room and wonder where you’ll sit. Does anyone want me to sit next to them? And, oh what joy when someone chooses to sit next to you.

Or, maybe you have an idea that you think will help the company. Are you reluctant? Will the group accept this idea? Does this make you pause?

We are creatures of the pack. We long to be a part of the group. Being on the outside makes us uncomfortable and even depressed. It’s easy to begin thinking that there is a fundamental flaw in us that makes us an “outcast”.


When we are known, wanted and chosen we begin to feel understood.

I think that kids are much more engaged with this need. How many times have you heard a child say, “You don’t understand!”. Maybe as we get older, we press the need to be understood deeper into our subconscious, but it’s still there.

This need often surfaces at work. Do you catch yourself thinking that your bosses don’t understand how complex and difficult your job is. Or, maybe they don’t realize how vital you are to the organization.

Maybe you think your friends don’t understand the complexity and value of your work. Do you wish they were more interested in your life. Maybe they aren’t attentive to you when you talk about things that bother you. “Why don’t they even try to understand me?”

What about your partner? Why don’t they know that I don’t like it when they leave dirty clothes lying around? How is it possible that they don’t know how tired I am at the end of the day? Do they know my needs? Do they care?

Does anyone understand me? Am I just shouting into a dark void without even hearing the reassuring sound of my voice echoing back at me?


No matter how tough you think you are, you want to feel loved.

Love is built in stages. The first step toward loving is saying, “hi” to someone and making a simple connection to get their name.

Next, you decide to WANT and CHOOSE a person. This means that you ask them questions. Where did you grow up? Do you have siblings? Your questions are sending the signal that you have CHOSEN them.

Lastly, you try to UNDERSTAND them, especially when they seem to have some difficult or quirky qualities. Misunderstandings often lead to emotional breaks which lead to the loss of love.

Our Responsibility

When was the last time you attempted to get to know someone? Remember that the needs that we have are common needs for everyone.

Chose to connect with people. Look around a room and find the disenfranchised. Now, move over there and choose them! Ask questions! With just a bit of effort, you will begin to find them genuinely interesting.

Some people are more difficult to understand than others. If someone says something or does something that you don’t like, try to see their perspective! Knowing people reduces misunderstandings, and we could use more effort to understand each other in today’s world.

You will generally get out of others what you give them. If you choose others, they will choose you. If you seek to understand others, they will seek to understand you. The worst case scenario would be that you end up giving more than you receive. Maybe you will eventually be KNOWN for caring about others.

Final note

I can’t finish this post without telling you that there is someone who wants you. He understands and loves you. In fact, he’s always loved you and he’s choosing you right now.

His name is Jesus. You can read about him extensively in the Bible.

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