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The difference between emotional hunger and genuine love, and the possible resolutions to defy emotional hunger. BY OLUSEYI ELIZABETH ODUDIMU

The difference between emotional hunger and genuine love, and the possible resolutions to defy emotional hunger. BY OLUSEYI ELIZABETH ODUDIMU

The difference between emotional hunger and genuine love, and  the possible resolutions to defy emotional hunger

In the previous article, I have already written about maternal love as an essential component in the development of emotional life. This article will outline the difference between emotional hunger and genuine love, and the possible resolutions to defy emotional hunger.


   Defining Love and Emotional Hunger

The definitions of love differ widely and are often mistaken for emotional hunger. Love means different things to different people. Love is an unlimited way of being and a good variety that describes human emotion. Many of us doubt its existence; some people are confused, while others accept substitutes for real love.


True love is the existence of emotional and mental rather than physical. It is also about how those feelings make you feel and what they make you do. Although, real love may be mistaken for negative emotions like jealousy and possessiveness

Emotional hunger is not love. It is an emotional need provoked by deprivation in childhood. Emotional hunger is an intense feeling and anxious attachment for genuine love to fill a gap or nothingness. This gap or nothingness is related to the despair of isolation and loneliness caused by deprivation in childhood.


Humans are social animals who desire love. Many expect love to give us security, comfort, exaltation and tenderness. Unfortunately, humans have searched endlessly for the experience of love from one generation to another. People with emotional hunger are more likely to cling to relationships that cause more damage than adequacy in their quest for love. 


 Parenting style and Emotional Hunger

Children deprived of genuine love in the first six months after their birth will likely grow up to be psychologically damaged. The inability to bear this pain can lead to cravings with genuine affection as a substitute to satisfy these elementary needs and dependencies.

Parenting style can subsequently influence the ongoing development of children. Pouring love and confidence into our children is a better way to build their self-esteem and self-love.

Genuinely loving parents are more likely to nurture confident and compassionate children. When such children grow, they will be securely attached, harmonious in their relationships, and tolerant of intimacy.


If the mother is physically and too emotionally attached or distant from the child, the long time effect on the child can be enormous. Emotionally hungry parents tend to be anxiously attached, over-concerned and over-involved in their children’s life. The disproportionate attachment and over-protectiveness can violate a child’s boundaries and threaten his sense of self and autonomy. Not only would it leaves a child destitute, but it can also damage his security, relationships, career, and comfort in later life.



The danger of Emotional Hunger

The feelings and pursuit of the need to be loved are crucial and valid. Yet confusing Love and Emotional Hunger can get us trapped in a toxic relationship. In the same way, desperation for love and attention can put us in a more desperate situation.


In most cases, we might find it hard to identify someone with emotional hunger, but seeking approval is a relatively common indication of emotional hunger. In pursuit of approval from others, they make personal assumptions about what other people like and willingly adapt to it to nurture connections and boost their self-esteem. Additionally, they are more likely to be obsessed with the love and touch of others and sometimes seek casual sex. Emotionally hungry humans are super clingy, over-giving and find it difficult to set boundaries with others. This emotion can be exploitive and destructive to both receiver and the giver of the affection.


Habits That Indicate Emotional Hunger


You may be an emotional eater if you find yourself practising these habits:


Ø You Give Too Much Of Yourself

Ø You seeks approval and satisfies other peoples’ needs to sustain connection

Ø You eat more excessively than usual to respond to emotions or situations, not to satisfy hunger.

Ø You assume you know what everyone thinks about you

Ø You are overly-attached To social status

Ø You Have sex to feel keep alive or use substances to meet emotional needs

Ø You finds it difficult to accept when a relationship ends

Ø You struggle with boundaries


Hypothetically, these feelings cannot be satisfied fully in adulthood. However, embracing the present moment with openness can help fight emotional hunger or the quest for love.



     Possible Resolutions to Defy Emotional Hunger


Be an embodiment of love rather than the passive recipient of love. Real love is the most fundamental part of our natural being, but you are more likely to thrive as love embodiment and get damaged if you have an intense desire to be loved and nurtured.


  1. Acknowledgement of the feelings

Acknowledging these feelings can help you gain a deeper understanding of the origin of your emotional hunger and enables you to let go of the sensations of searching for love.


  1. Self-forgiveness and Acceptability

Self-forgiveness and acceptance can help develop a stronger sense of self and moral courage to apply unconditional or real love to yourself personally. Rather than longing for external validation, start practising self-love, which will help you recognize your self-worth and talents. Self-love allows us to contribute to personal and social well-being. We also desire to love and care for others when we love ourselves. This way, we can see ourselves and be seen by others, and satisfaction with this desire will enhance our happiness levels.


  1. Practice intensive loving-kindness meditation 

Intensive loving-kindness meditation can put you in a more healthy, safe and happy state. Think of something you love that will put a smile on your face. Feel your smile grow larger, explore the feelings and enwrap yourself in its warmth.


  1. Practice Gratitude and Generosity

Gratitude and generosity are interdependent attitudes of mindfulness that can strengthen your emotions and of those around you. These 2 G-forces can act in the opposite direction of emotional hunger or damaging emotions.


     5.  Be a Giver and not just the Receiver of Real Love


Real love promotes emotional and mental well-being and lowers the chance of engaging in destructive behavior. Real love can also help you incorporate safer behaviors into your daily life, reduces anxiety and the aggressive quest for emotional hunger.

Everybody wants to be loved, seeks it, and hopes for love, but some are incapable of giving it freely.

We can give and receive love in different ways, such as:

Characteristics of Real Love

  • Receiving and giving out gift
  • Acts of service to others
  • Showing kindness to others
  • Spending quality time with our loved ones
  • To develop a certain level of faith and trust in someone
  • To express our concerns and listen attentively to others
  • Keeping other people’s needs in mind and displaying mutual understanding
  • Showing mutual respect and a sense of commitment towards others
  •   Acceptance of other peoples’ imperfections, flaws and weaknesses.

Real love can last an entire lifetime if we all put the best interest of our loved ones at heart certainly tops the list

The world will be a better place for us all if we can cultivate all the characteristics listed above.




















Mrs. Oluseyi Elizabeth Odudimu is a mental health advocate and the founder of the Stop Mental Illness Foundation. With a solid academic background, she has dedicated her life to raising awareness about mental health issues and providing support to individuals suffering from mental illness. Mrs. Odudimu is also a published author, mentor, and a loving mother and wife. Her tireless efforts have earned her numerous accolades and honors, making her a true role model and a beacon of hope for those affected by mental illness.

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