I believe that most of us need to be freed from an inordinate lust to have other people to love us. This takes place as we understand God's astounding love for us and as our eyes are taken off of ourselves and captured by a view of the glory of God. Ed Welch's words are helpful here:
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be loved or wanting a good reputation. We should want both. It would be inhuman not to. As citizens of the kingdom, our good reputation honors the King and, having been loved by the King, we certainly delight in being loved. The problem comes when we want these things too much, when we want them for our own glory rather than God's.
Notice how human desires go topsy-turvy when we stray outside God's kingdom. As kingdom residents, we have been loved with an everlasting love and we have the privilege of loving other as we have been loved. We stand in the shadow of Jesus, who revealed what human life was intended to be. He loved others even when he wasn't loved. Jesus shows us that to be truly human means that our desire to love others outdistances our desire to be loved ourselves. True humanness is found more in a sacrificial love for our enemies than in being the object of another person' affections. Yet we often live as though the opposite were true. Without adequate human love, we feel paralyzed to love. We want to be filled with the love of others before we move out in love towards others. This is normal for us, but normal does not mean that it is either right or true. At root, our yearing for love and acceptance from other people (when it is more important than loving and accepting others) is evidence of allegiances to ourselves. We prefer to be king rather than serve the King.
But if we serve the King, our desire to be loved could not outdistance our commitment to love others in his name. Our own approbation would seem almost meaningless, irrelevant. Rejection would hurt, but it wouldn't sidetrack us from our mission of love.
- Ed Welch, Running Scared, p. 178, 179
(HT: Vitamin Z)