Why You Don’t Feel Loved (and What to Do About It)

“All of us blossom when we feel loved and wither when we do not.”
― Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages

When I was three I would sit cross-legged in front of the big wood-paneled TV waiting for my dad to get home. Each day he would bring me a gift…candy. My favorite were the rainbow-colored liquid-filled candy wax tubes. These little things made my heart glow.

After my parents separated gifts became scarce. Luxuries were out of the question.

The mere thought of wanting something frivolous would induce pangs of guilt.

Three decades later, I was at at my step-daughter’s fourth birthday and we were lavishing her with gifts and attention.

Before long, I found myself pouting on the back porch and unsure why.

That moment triggered a discovery: I had never stopped wanting gifts, but my childhood experience had trained me not to ask for or expect them.

The long-suppressed desire for gifts had been depleting me my entire adult life.

You see, to feel loved is a basic human drive. Like a fuel tank that must constantly be refilled.

Yet often we’re not clear what exactly makes us feel that our tank is full. Typically we just feel hurt or lonely and aren’t sure why. And so we fight, break up or wallow in our negative emotions.

What if filling your tank were a requirement and not a luxury?

What if instead of wishing for what you want, you asked: What do I need? And how can I get it?

1. For more information about what makes each of us feel loved, check out Gary Chapman’s fantastic body of work on his website, the 5 Love Languages. I highly recommend his free love languages assessment.


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Tara Book CoverHi, I’m Tara
Padua, founder of NextFem. I help high-powered women master their relationships.

As a professional executive coach since 2003, I’ve accrued more than 7,000 client-coaching hours working with 400+ female leaders at organizations like Condé Nast, Cartier, Deutsche Bank, Diesel, Louis Vuitton, Siemens and many, many more.

Healthy relationships are the foundation of a life that works, and my life experiences have fueled my mission to help women get the love they deserve.


  • joie

    August 20, 2015

    I love this! I love your sharing your own experience as a child, and how you responded as an adult with your step-daughter. “You see, to feel loved is a basic human drive. ” It is so helpful to hear that, and to also remind myself that it is not only ok to want love, but it is wonderful to be in touch with the desire. Thank you for this.

    • Tara Padua

      August 21, 2015

      Hi Joie – So glad you enjoyed it!