The thirst for recognition: what is it?

by Magali Giraud with the participation of Benoit Bernheim

Build up a reserve of signs of recognition.

Do you remember the last time your photo was taken?

Were you asked to "pose" or was it an impromptu shoot?
Did you feel a little stress because you were closing your eyes during the shot, which may have made you think that you would not be highlighted after the photo was taken?
Are you uncomfortable when people show you pictures of yourself because you don't think you are beautiful?

Do you ask yourself, when looking at Instagram profiles, why people have an almost visceral need to show off?

Know that there is a common point between people who do not like to have their picture taken on the one hand, and Instagram stars who collect thousands of subscribers thanks to their photogeny on the other hand: thirst for recognition.

This somewhat technical term was coined by the American Eric Berne, who in the 1960s created transactional analysis, a discipline focused on the structure of the personality and communication.
The thirst for recognition is present from very early childhood in human beings; it is expressed at this age in the form of a need for stimulation, by which the child seeks to be looked at, touched and kissed.

This thirst (or need) for recognition continues after infancy and throughout life, and results in the search for signs of recognition:

  • these signs are verbal or non-verbal, positive or negative, and relate to the person as such, or to the acts that this person performs.
  • thus, saying "I love you" is a positive verbal sign of recognition, which relates to the person's being.
  • conversely, the phrase "you are really badly haired" is a negative verbal recognition sign, which relates to the way of getting ready of the person, and not about his being.

For the human being, it is important to make a reserve of signs of recognition throughout his life, because this allows him to feel that he exists in the eyes of others.

How to build up your reserve, and if possible, positive rather than negative signs?

  • giving positive signs to others, and only giving them constructive negative remarks. This will make them more inclined to give you positive signs of recognition.
  • by accepting them, simply by saying “thank you” to the positive signs, or by listening to the negative signs to better understand the image that you can send to others.
  • by asking them, for example by asking your relatives about what they like about you.
  • by refusing them; thus, take a step back from negative signs that are not constructive, especially those that relate to your being, and reject positive signs “in knock”, that is to say those that are formulated only to flatter you.
  • By giving yourself positive signs, such as congratulating yourself each day for three successes, however small, that you have achieved. Finally, if you are not satisfied with yourself, make constructive criticisms that make you move forward and that relate to actions and not to your being.

An example to build up your reserve: do a photo shoot

If you're afraid of being photographed, it's a safe bet that you fear receiving negative signs of recognition once the photo has been taken, that they come from you ("how ugly I am!" ) or others (“you really look weird in this photo”). People who, on the contrary, like to show off on Instagram, know their photogenic potential and feed off positive signs of recognition from their thousands of subscribers ("you are really a beautiful woman", or even "you are a canon" ), thus satisfying their thirst for recognition
and constantly filling their reserve.


Coaching in the form of a photo shoot as proposed Benedict, allows people who feel a need for positive signs to feed their thirst for recognition, by accepting encouraging words from the photographer on the one hand, and giving of themselves to
themselves positive signs of recognition based on photographs which, made by a true professional, highlight their qualities as in this example made with a person who wanted to create a first gallery like a pro.

A life process with a coach

As a life coach, I can support you in creating a store of positive signs of recognition, whether they come from yourself or from others. To find out more, you can find me on the MyPrivateCoachApp site here or on my site by clicking on this link.

To find the right coach, do not hesitate to download our MyPrivateCoach application on theAppStore and Google play.