The Universal Desire to be Wanted

In September 2019, OneRepublic dropped another single titled “Wanted” that would be included in their forthcoming album Human, now set to release December 2020.¹ For the past two decades, OneRepublic has been releasing popular songs, including “Apologize” (with Timbaland), “Counting Stars,” and “Rescue Me.”

“Wanted” is about a woman’s loneliness and her desire to feel wanted—to feel significant and loved.

Searching for Love
As the song begins, the lyrics provide a picture of a woman who desires to feel wanted—and the burden she carries because of this unmet desire. She feels as if she “could disappear” or “overflow an ocean” with her tears because she hasn’t found a real relationship where she feels loved and wanted. Though dramatic (which the lyrics note), they picture her bleakness, because she doesn’t feel loved and significant.

The chorus also points at her overarching desire:

Yeah I just want to be wanted, oh
I could use a little love sometimes
I just need to be needed, oh
Like to know I’m crossin’ someone’s mind
I just want to be someone that somebody needs
I just want to be more than a drop in the sea
I just want to be

When I first heard this song, I immediately thought of the enneagram type Two. (If you’re unfamiliar with the enneagram, there’s a summary article about the enneagram in the resources below.) The Two’s basic desire is to feel loved, and their basic fear is “being unwanted, unworthy of being loved.” There are many positive aspects to a type Two personality, but when unhealthy, they can also sometimes “slip into doing things for others in order to feel needed.”² In other words, if they don’t feel wanted, they at least desire to feel needed. They may, consciously or subconsciously, try to earn love.

While this song specifically applies to enneagram type Twos, I think it’s also appropriate to all of us. At some point or another in our lives, we’re bound to feel lonely and to seek someone who will make us feel loved.

Maybe you also relate to trying to earn love. Maybe you’re the person who is always there when your friends are going through something hard, providing a listening ear. Or maybe you provide for more tangible needs, like delivering a meal or helping someone fix his or her car. Maybe you’re trying to earn your way into a friend group or a romantic relationship.

Why We Want to be Loved
Why is seeking love so prevalent? Why do we get in relationships, both romantic and otherwise, seeking to be loved? And why does so much hope and heartache sometimes rest upon whether or not we feel loved?

To answer simply, it’s nice to feel wanted.

I’d also argue that we’re designed to yearn for love and relationship. We have an intrinsic desire to feel loved. From a biblical perspective, we are created in the image of a relational God, who is three persons in one Being: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We were made to have relationships—with others and with God.

Wanted, Though Not Needed, by God
The sweet promise of the Gospel, part of the “good news,” is that God wants us. He wants us so much that God the Father sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross, that we might have a relationship with him for eternity.

God the Father loves us so much he was willing to sacrifice his Son. And Jesus loves us so much he was willing to become humiliated as a man, endure ridicule, and die for us.

But God doesn’t need us. While we can please God with our actions, we can’t do anything that he needs. And we can’t earn his love. But he loves us anyway, more than anyone else ever did or will. And he wants us—which is far better than being needed.

Sign up here to receive weekly Reflect emails in your inbox!