What do you do with an unmet need?

What do you do with an unmet need?

What do you do with an unmet need?

Being ignored – I admit, I hate it. When I say it doesn’t bother me, I am either lying or pretending.

What do you do with an unmet need? When your real need for attention – and being known – isn’t met, how do you feel?

What about when your child is ignored?

What happens when:

  • Your child doesn’t get “enough” playing time during the game?
  • Your child’s question doesn’t get answered in class?
  • Your child doesn’t get invited to the party or the big dance?

What emotions are attached to our experience of being ignored? Are those emotions rooted in truth? Emotions are real, but they are not always true. Graceful behavior grows from truth.

The rest of this blog post is wisdom from a friend; I am sharing an email I received from a wise mentor when I was wrestling with emotional lies I had let get attached to my experiences of being ignored. Having been vulnerable about my struggle, this was his life-giving reply:

“I want you to believe that 9 times out of 10, if someone ignores you, it is about them and not you. Probably 10 times out of 10. I think you actually know this intellectually, but you don’t believe it.

If someone who has responded in the past ignores you, you are not less persuasive or less beautiful or less intelligent or less capable. THEY are distracted or sick or harasses or cornered by someone else.

(…)you have shared that you panic when people ignore you. Probably even for just a little while. Because something inside has you believing it is about you. You have let them down.

Well, even if it were true, what is also true is that God will not ignore you, because you can’t let Him down, because He needs nothing from you! You will always have His attention. He has that much capacity. Just one more of the indications of how great He is. And that can help you rest a bit.

But, it is not true. I mean, unless the people around you are different than all the people I know, it is rarely true. It is about them. Oh, by the way, they probably feel shame at ignoring you. And their shame might well get them to BLAME you, so they can get some relief. But that does not make it true.

(Generally, others don’t have the time or energy to spend the same way you do.) That is not ignoring. It is simply capacity. 

_______ can’t meet your desire for _______. My guess is your desire is perfectly fine.


The trick is what do you do with an unmet desire. Do you turn on me or others? Or do you turn TO God, and ask Him to care for your disappointment, and your needs, whatever they are. That is the crux for you.”

The email ended with, “I am honored to be walking along side as these things become clear to you. You go, Janet!”

And that is my conclusion to you: I am honored to be walking along side as these things become clear to you. You go, girl! You go, man!

Leave a comment about the sentence that is most helpful and/or most challenging – 

  • Tami

    That we blame so the Shame gets relieved. Somehow this wording really hit home for me. Love these insights. And I say you go girl too!!!!

  • Janet

    Shame and Blame – never helpful. Will you help me remember that sweet friend? Thank you – You go girl!

  • Ashley

    I love it all, and am so encouraged by…”Generally, others don’t have the time or energy to spend the same way you do. That is not ignoring. It is simply capacity.” Sure helps me remember that it’s not all about me.

    • Janet

      Yes. Yes. Yes. “_____ can’t meet your desire for _____. My guess is that your desire is perfectly fine. The trick is what you do with an unmet desire.”
      Simply capacity – and then what do we do with another’s capacity- or lack of?
      You go, girl!

  • Rachel

    Hah! What appropriate timing! This evening I had a bit of a struggle-moment with feeling (not being) ignored. I have found what is vastly important is to have people to remind you of the truth when you forget, and who will have a sit with you until you decide to receive that truth. Interestingly enough, tonight that person was my younger brother! What a surprise blessing that was–along with the fact I didn’t take my need to the Cheeto bag…or the corner of isolation/victim island…or the room of “everybody-pay-attention-to-me-right-now-or-so-help-me”. We all have our favorite spots to take our unmet needs. I’m just trying to let Jesus be mine from now on. It’s a journey!

    • Janet

      You are on a Beautiful journey Rachel – I love your distinction between “feeling” and “not being” ignored. And yes, we all need others to remind us of truth. Celebrating you taking your needs to Jesus!