As existentialists would say the purpose of our existence is to find that motivation for this existence. Here comes the trickiest part of this entire essay on existence of our species and our life’s purpose: Finding something to love to the point that it makes sense to continue to exist despite the risk of enduring pain and challenges… So what can we find to love it so much to the point that sacrifices will not scare us? One can love oneself to that point, or love a partner, love his or her children, brothers, sister and the whole human creation for that matter as a legacy of their own.
This long list of things we love, can be divided in three categories: Love for oneself, Love for others and to be loved by others, Love for the whole humanity and existence of life in general. In the first group (category) are those who love themselves before loving anything else. Often they are labeled as selfish or narcissistic. I want to be up front on this matter and tell you right away that that classification is wrong. So why loving oneself should not be considered a disorder or even wrong? Because loving oneself is the core of our existence, and cannot be selfish or narcissistic. Narcissism in fact is a mental disorder and believe me it is way more twisted than just a natural feeling of appreciation and adoration of our own being, our own existence.
So, love is a motivation for our existence but it depends on which type of love we are looking to find or maintain. There are lots of other theories about human motivation but the most spoken theory of motivation in the field of psychology is the one Maslow introduced in 1943, called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Here is an illustration of the pyramid of needs by Maslow:
As seen in this pyramid, Maslow classified human needs as motivations that would drive an individual from the basic needs of existence to the top of the pyramid which is self-actualization. At the base of the pyramid are physiological needs rather than psychological needs, because one needs to have shelter and food in order to survive and continue to exist. If one does not love oneself then would not strive to find food or shelter, in other words would not strive to exist. However, once these basic needs are fulfilled one looks for more security and safety in his/her life; a job that pays you better, a place where you feel safe from harm and diseases, and so on. These stages are reflected naturally in one’s life from the moment one is born. When babies cry to communicate their need for food, and basic care that is due to the love for themselves, which motivates them to exist and therefore cry and ask for help. When these needs are denied and/or never fulfilled then one naturally becomes aggressive. Hence, aggressiveness comes as a result of wanting to survive, but only when basic needs are denied.
In the second stage where individual starts experiencing the need to feel safe is the stage that brings an opportunity for manipulations and lies. Once an individual has secured the basic needs for food and shelter, then this individual will feel threatened if there is a potential for these to be taken away. Therefore, particular individuals would do anything to keep this secure place and to not lose the privilege of living without physical pain.
On the third level of this pyramid we see the need to be loved and belong. It is at this point that humans start realizing that there is more to life than just survival, there is more pleasure than one generated by loving oneself. We start realizing that there is love out there, but where? We look for soul mates, we look for lovers, we look to be appreciated and belong somewhere with someone, not alone, not just because of obligations but because of love. More on this topic later.
Then we come to that stage where self-esteem is what motivates one to appreciate life and his/her whole existence. However, as you can see, if one has not found love, and not found a place to belong, then one cannot move up to esteem and self-actualization stages of pyramid. Once the individual finds love and appreciation from others, then this individual has moved from the first category of loving oneself (the three categories I mentioned in the second paragraph) to the second category of loving others and be loved by others, and is now headed to the third category of loving humanity and life in general.
So the question that naturally comes to mind is what could hinder one’s progress toward self-actualization? I hope the answer is clear to you at this point: Lack of true love can hinder this progress. Therefore, if one is prevented from finding true love or being with their true love, proper match, soul mate or whatever people like to call this type of union, then both these individuals will be wondering aimlessly up and down the pyramid without actually reaching their full potential. That’s because the lack of love will constantly bring them back to level three where their void is. Hence, the theory of attachment is true, and we all long to attach with that true love to be able to move up to the top of pyramid: Self-actualization.
You may now ask, and rightly so, who or what would want to hinder our progress or that can profit from this delay in finding our soul mates? Am I hinting something here? Obviously I am. And I like to share that the one interested in hindering this progress is what we call Narcissist, but in contrary to what we thought that narcissist was all about, narcissist is way more than just someone who loves oneself. I know a lot about narcissism in fact because Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the topic of my theses for my Master of Science Degree in Psychology, and so, I have done lots and lots of research on Narcissism. I will share some of it on a future post but for now I would like to mention here that narcissist does not suffer for love he or she feels for oneself. There is no suffering or longing that narcissist experiences, even though they often pretend to feel that way. Narcissist in fact knows their values and knows that others appreciate their values, yet they longs for more, hence they want control and power. They like the thrill of using power to confuse others, or to make others feel belittled, or feel guilty. Narcissists use all that they know in combination with their super manipulative skills to create situations that may seem like a legit, natural flow of chain events, in order to bring misunderstandings among others. They do so, because they like to be the designer of the play, the one who orchestrates the lives of others, he likes to feel like God. And then, just when everyone is confused, angry, frustrated with one another, narcissist brings himself or herself between those who argue by bringing peace and calming the waters, by solving the problems that he himself created in the first place, and then at the end to be adored and worshiped as a savior. Narcissists do so not because they lack appreciation or that they need more of it; they do so just for the thrill of it….Pretty scary indeed, and very close to a psychopath. However, psychopaths find the thrill in hurting others, while narcissist finds the thrill by watching others hurting one another and then him being adored as savior or God. Unfortunately, I know a lot about this disorder not just because I did my research but also because I felt its poison in every step of my life. So buckle up everyone because I have a lot to spill on this topic, not in regards to certain individuals but in regards to this mental disorder per se, so you too can recognize and cut the ties with those narcissists in your lives, those who hinder your progress toward finding your true love- a natural craving for our existence, and prevent your from reaching your full potential, the self-actualization.