The third kind of fake love is called the existential need for love. Psychological love is the ego’s way of feeling good, while the existential need for love is the ego’s need to prove itself that it exists in the first place. The ego is built from others’ attention just like a house is built from bricks.
Love is simply a positive form of attention, while hate is the negative pole. Love means attention with acceptance, but attention is the basic need. Certainly, to be loved is better than to be hated, but if the ego doesn’t get love, then even hate is better than no attention at all.
Without attention, the ego simply cannot exist. Just imagine if nobody paid attention to you at all for an extended period of time. You would think you were a ghost, you would feel like a nobody. The ego is a defense mechanism to protect you exactly from this feeling. However, you are in fact a nobody, or from the opposite perspective, you are everybody. Either way, you are not really a separate person like you think you are.
The ego can exist only between these two polar opposites: between being a nobody and being everybody; as an ego you are somebody. This is why it needs both separation and relation for its existence. If you can go to one extreme, your ego drops automatically. If you are in complete isolation for an extended period of time, and you can’t relate to anybody else, you don’t get any attention, neither love nor hate, you will have a certain kind of feeling that only you exist.
If you go to the other extreme, instead of becoming completely closed, you become completely open. If you can relate to everybody as if it was you, you will soon see everybody as you. You can sense that deep down you are not really different. You pay attention to the similarities instead of focusing on the differences. If you can experience universal oneness, you will have the same kind of feeling: that only you exist.
But the ego can exist only between the two. It needs the sense of separation, but also the feeling of belonging. The ego is created in your mind, it is an artificial phenomenon. It is just as artificial as countries. Borders only exist on maps and in our minds, but if you go there personally, you won’t see anything in nature. Countries exist officially only if other countries accept its existence, if they respect its borders if they acknowledge its sovereign rights. The same way, your ego exists only if other egos accept it.
Besides, the ego also wants to feel special and unique. If nobody loves you, the whole world seems very harsh, very unfriendly. You are lost in the crowd, you are just a number. You can be replaced easily, and nobody will notice. If you die tomorrow, nobody will cry for you, nobody will miss you. The world will be the same place with or without you. Your life just seems futile without love.
But if at least one person loves you, everything changes. Your whole existence receives meaning because now you are needed. You are not just another nameless face on the street, you are special for someone. You may not be anybody special in the world, but for a special somebody, you can be the whole world. Suddenly the whole universe seems friendlier to you.
Now you are irreplaceable, you are special, you are unique. And you are providing the same kind of feeling to your partner, it is a mutual benefit. Your partner needs to feel special just like you do. You are creating a private illusion together, and you don’t let anyone enter. You represent the world to each other, and you depend on each other to keep this illusion alive.
Most couples are not really loving each other, they are only justifying each other. You join your personalities, and you melt into a common personality. You start to use the word “we” more and more often to mean “me and you”. You are mutually acknowledged by each other, so you don’t need the acknowledgment of the outside world. You want everlasting love because you want to keep this common personality alive forever.
The existential need for love is, in fact, a safety measure against the fear of death. Your ego unconsciously knows that it won’t survive in its current form, so it wants to become part of something bigger than itself. “I will love you forever” is a wish to become immortal by joining my ego with yours. This is a good start, but if your ego doesn’t melt totally into the whole existence, you will never really feel immortal.
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