The other day someone looked at me in a way that made me feel good. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. However, it got me to thinking about how people can become reliant on situations like that in order for them to feel good about themselves.
Every now and then we do need praise and recognition. It’s just a part of human nature to have our efforts and abilities acknowledged by peers and those in positions of authority. How do you feel when someone tells you what a great job you did at putting together that sales report? How do you feel when you have just scored that elusive goal? How do you feel when someone compliments you on how you look? You feel good right? You even find that your confidence has been given a boost!
The problem lies in an individual’s need to be seeking constant praise in order to feel good and secure about themselves. These people suffer from low self-esteem, lack of confidence and a poor self-image. The view that they have of themselves is always reliant on the praise and reassurance they receive from those around them. If they do not get this, then they may think that they are lacking something and then a flood of negative thoughts enter. These people are insecure within themselves.
At the other end of the scale are those people who are narcissistic. The world revolves around them (so they think!). They believe that they are better than anyone else. They also need constant praise to feed their false self-view of how fantastic they are. Watch out if you tell these people that they are no better than anyone else! You will be on the receiving end of a tirade of abuse about how useless YOU are! (This just proves that, in order to be above everyone else, the narcissistic personality has to pull everyone else down to a level below them!). These people are also insecure because they have built up a false world-view where they are the centre of everything and everything is about them! They need everyone to validate their importance.
What has all this got to do with “ego massage”? Simply this: People at both ends of the self-esteem spectrum need to seek constant strokes of their ego in order to define themselves. They rely on externals to define them. This only leads to a false “self-identity” because these individual’s are defined by those around them. They have no internal idea as to who they truly are.
If you are someone who is always seeking praise, then it is time to stop. Praise yourself for being a unique individual. Make a list of the good qualities you possess (as recognised solely by you and not by what other’s say). If someone criticises you, then ask yourself if the criticism is valid or not. If it isn’t then just chuck it aside and move on. If it is, then take the criticism on board and see it as a chance to grow. Also, do things that make you feel good. As you start to make small adjustments in your self belief, then you will be amazed at how much confidence you will gain and also your self-esteem will grow!
There is nothing wrong with an “ego massage” every now and then. It makes you feel good. It is only when people need these all the time in order to feel good about themselves. Then there is a problem.
It is time to stop on relying others to define you. Define yourself by the process of honest self-examination.