As a child, you create an image of yourself. There is a basic need to love and be loved. If you are told you are loved for particular reasons (being generous, or calm, or sharing), that becomes an essential part of your definition of yourself. I am loved because I do this. People often think that telling a child she is loved just for being will make the child self centered or entitled. That is rarely true. Love doesn’t need to be earned. One can be valued for certain qualities, but love should come unconditionally.
It is children who are never told they are loved, who are criticized and always given the example of someone else who create a completely false image of themselves. Convinced of their own unworthiness, they imbue this false image with all the perceived accomplishments and traits that others admire. They live their life forever tweaking the image of what others see, as though their lives were an ongoing movie, to be edited and glossed, with special effects and soundtrack. And they remain forever petrified in that childhood fear that they, the real person underneath the movie, is essentially unlovable. Because the difference between what others admire and what they truly are just keeps growing.
The performance becomes a compulsion, the need for validation and acceptance become as important as breath itself. Like giant animated puppets on life’s wondrous stage, you can only watch in awe as completely fake persona one interacts with completely fake persona two, the dance of ardent relationship is played out in colorful drama. You can watch, but don’t get too close, for your admiration and belief are an essential part of the play. In fact the audience is perhaps the most important element, for that is where the hungry egos get their fix. The scared little children underneath who think their real selves are unworthy finally get some love, and yet are bitterly aware that the love is for someone they really aren’t. And thus it goes.

Ego – Not always a bad thing
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