Gaara was once a kind child who, despite their fear of him, tried desperately to be friendly towards others. His uncle's actions twisted his personality. Misled into believing nobody cared for him, Gaara used his sand to create the kanji on his forehead for "love" (愛, ai), as a symbol of his resolution to be a "demon loving only itself", and to live up to the name his mother gave him. Gaara became emotionally withdrawn and strangely silent, as he was consumed with loathing towards everyone but himself and "Mother", the voice of Shukaku in his head. He learned to derive pleasure and a reason to live in the annihilation of the numerous assassins sent to kill him — and by extention, anyone who posed a threat to his existence. This was only worsened by Shukaku's occasional demand for blood to satisfy the demon's bloodlust, resulting in Gaara's remorseless and sociopathic nature, demonstrated when he murdered Baiu and Midare, despite their pleas for mercy. Furthermore, Gaara suffered frominsomnia as a result of Shukaku's inhabitation of his body. The disorder forced fear upon Gaara; if he were to fall asleep, the demon within him would eat away at his soul. Gaara's instability and desire to kill were only heightened as a result. Gaara's hatred for the Kazekage was justly founded in his father's assassination attempts, but his misanthropic nature even extended to his siblings, whom he never saw as related to him, despite them offending him directly. He was fully willing to kill them if he viewed that the situation called for it. In addition, due to the protective sand activating at any time Gaara was close to injury, he never saw his own blood until Sasuke Uchiha pierced his sand shield and wounded him. Gaara had a severe mental breakdown as a result.
Gaara's childhood was a parallel to Naruto Uzumaki's in many ways. Both were unbearably lonely and longed to be liked, loved and acknowledged as individuals as a result of being jinchūriki — they were human beings, not the demons they had been forced to contain — and were were driven to separate states of depression and desperation. While Naruto consequently developed the misconception that pranks and mischief would bring him the attention he craved, Gaara came to the conclusion that he could preserve and confirm his own existence by killing any and all who challenged it, securing his this extreme form of existentialism as his key trait. In the absence of outside recognition, Gaara could compensate by valuing only himself to the exclusion of every other person. Furthermore, while Naruto eventually had Iruka Umino and Team Kakashi to comfort him, Gaara never bothered to make emotional bonds, not even with his father or siblings, as they too despised and feared Shukaku. The person who grew the closest to acknowledging him was Yashamaru, but when Yashamaru was ordered to betray him, Gaara was transformed into a lonely sociopath. As such, Gaara couldn't understand but fighting for anything but himself until his confrontation with Naruto during the Chūnin Exams.
After his defeat at Naruto's hands, Gaara was shocked to discover that Naruto understood very well the pain he had endured throughout his life. He was even more surprised to learn that Naruto had never lost his ambition to be recognised as an individual, and had ultimately found companions who truly cared for him. Witnessing the resolution Naruto possessed to protect his friends caused Gaara to finally question the path he had determined for himself as a young child. Realising that he had given up too easily, Gaara decided to follow Naruto's chosen path instead in order to finally be seen as a human being, and not the tailed beast within him. Over the next few years, Gaara's resolve to find happiness caused him to rely on his own power rather than that of the demon. Gaara eventually formed a close friendship with Naruto, and became very loyal to his decisions, and protective over him as a companion.
Since becoming one of Naruto's companions, Gaara has somehow taken on his ability to alter people's personalities. In the anime, he convinced Matsuri to overcome her fear of weapons. During the Kage Summit, he shocked the older, more experienced Kage by asking them when they had forsaken themselves, later causing Ōnoki to become much more determined to protect the Shinobi World. Before the Shinobi Alliance marched off to battle, he motivated them to set aside their differences, forget their past rivalries and unite under a single banner. He even managed to make Naruto think about the choices he had made in regards to Sasuke, stating that he only cared about revenge. His bond with Naruto has also made him capable of tossing aside any grudge, including his previous hatred of his father, who was partly responsible for Gaara's miserable childhood. He admits to having forgiven his father's actions, but openly weeps after learning that his mother truly did love him, and that she had vowed to protect him forever by infusing her will into his sand which, as his father noted, would always protect him.
Gaara cares deeply for Naruto and his well-being, and despite Sasuke's actions during his assault at the Kage Summit and his status as an international criminal, went so far as to attempt to convince Sasuke to come out of the darkness one more time on behalf of Naruto, and when unconvinced, even shed a tear for the failure Sasuke has become, and the disappointment Naruto will face. Despite respecting Naruto's goals, his care for him does not block his personal beliefs, and he believes his friend's well-being is more important, most prominent is his support to keep Naruto out of the war saying to Tsunade that Naruto takes too many risks when it comes to protecting his friends. Gaara also bluntly tells Naruto that chasing after Sasuke is foolish, as he sees him as no longer being able to return from the path of corruption. Though he defies Naruto's goal to bring Sasuke back, he only says this for Naruto's well-being because they are "friends".
Although he remained ruthless against his opponents, Gaara is extremely protective of his allies and innocent people, as seen when he protected his village from Deidara; and his siblings, Darui and even the Raikage against Sasuke. He also deeply understands those who have suffered from loneliness and hatred in the past by the look in their eyes, such as Naruto, Kimimaro, and evenSasuke.
As a Kage, Gaara believes that the ideals of previous generations, that each village must mind their own business and solve their own problems without having to ask for the aid of others in order to keep appearance and honour, is "ridiculous old-fashioned thinking", and that cooperation between the villages is fundamental in order to defeat Akatsuki.
Commission by *ninjapirate10194.