Many people are afraid of the words Self Love. They view it as narcissistic and arrogant. I can’t stress enough how untrue this view is so I am writing a whole article to differentiate between the two. While they are diametrically opposite states of being, there is a strong relationship between people who lack self-love and Narcissists.
There is a reason that Narcissism as a malady is so rampant in this world. If we look around us – Narcissism is everywhere – In politics, in top corporate roles, in the acting world, in the spiritual world of Gurus, on online dating websites and many in our everyday world.
The trouble with Narcissism is that it can be very beguiling. Narcissists are very good at putting on a show. A show which depicts them as very concerned about others, even compassionate and loving.
It is imperative that we do not confuse Self-love with Narcissism. Self-love is the greatest defense against this great malady, which currently plagues our planet. Narcissists do not have access to higher spiritual energy so their power comes from drawing their energy from others – mostly their victims. These could be partners, family members, followers, employees or simply friends. Narcissists particularly feed off people who lack Self-love and Self-esteem. People with low self esteem are not sure of how to manage their own life, and so the charm and control of the Narcissist is particularly inviting. The narcissist always claims to know how to fix all things and rescue one from their maladies.
Below I would like to lay down a list of the many ways in which Self-love and Narcissism are entirely different:
- A healthy sense of Self Esteem and Self worth – defines Self-Love. It is not affected by life situations, circumstances or people’s opinions about you. Narcissism on the other hand, is a false sense of higher self-esteem than others. It is very concerned and related to what behaviors others around the Narcissist are displaying. What riles a Narcissist most is someone standing up to them and people with a Healthy self-esteem are able to do that as they can see through them.
- Freedom and Free-Will – Self-Love understands Free Will and respects it, both in oneself and in others. Self-love leads to a complete understanding of what free will means and therefore never seeks to impose on another’s free will. Narcissism has no respect for the Free Will of others. Narcissism and Control are almost synonymous. A narcissist needs to always feel in control. Any threat to his or her control of a person, thing or situation is a matter of real concern. In order to get what they want, they will impose and manipulate the free will of others.
- Sense of happiness and fulfillment - Self love leads to the kind of happiness which cannot be got by external or material gains, nor is it dependent on others for it. It is content just to be. Narcissism on the other hand, is never content. Nothing is ever good enough for the Narcissist. This is not be mistaken for a healthy sense of motivation. It is a drive to ensure that no one around them can feel empowered. They are never judging their own performance. Only the performance of those around them.
- Humility – is a core ethic and value of Self Love. To be respectful and loving of others is a natural for people who love themselves. This is because they understand that each of us is a special aspect of divine creation, and we are not in a place and position to judge others. This does not mean that Self-Love is foolish. In fact, Self-Love leads to discernment free of judgement. Arrogance is the core competency of a Narcissist. Narcissism outplays itself as grandiosity in behaviour and portrayal of self. Accomplishments are exaggerated, even made up, just to create an impression.
- Stability and contentedness - Self love does not require attention from the outside to feel good. Narcissism calls for melodramatic behavior as part of the need for constant attention.
- Time alone – is a joy for Self love. In this extremely busy world, Self-love knows and appreciates time alone. Time alone is an imperative to understand and appreciate ourselves. It makes room to connect with that part of us deep within, which is the part of us that we are all seeking to connect to. Narcissism can’t stand its own company, needing the energy of others to feed off.
- Healthy relationships – Because of the inherent self-worth that comes with one loving him or herself, it draws to itself other balanced and healthy people leading to more stable and sustainable relationships. Narcissism draws to itself victims and people who end up being controlled. Usually narcissists will attract people who have a huge gap in their sense of Self-love.
- Self-Assured – Self Love does not get affected by people’s opinions or life’s circumstances. It does not seek to criticise or see events as failures, merely observing the process and learning from it. Narcissism being so unsure of itself, cares a lot about what others think of it. It gets it’s sense of wellness from portraying this grandiose self-image which others must avow too. Narcissism will tell tall tales of past accomplishments and even make up stories of untold glory which further entraps its victims in the snare.
- Empathy - Self Love allows one to be empathetic without getting sucked into the emotional baggage of the other. It allows one to be compassionate without being overly sympathetic. Narcissism, can be callous in situations where someone is going through any kind of personal trauma. A person’s trauma is not it’s business unless it can use the trauma to manipulate the victim into it’s service, or feel superior, which it most often does. In these cases, narcissism seeks to give an overdose of love and affection (sympathy) to the traumatized.
- Empowerment – Self love leads to both Self-empowerment and the empowerment of others. Narcissism has a requirement to degrade and debase others to feel better and superior.
I do hope that the above explanations give a good enough list of facts to distinguish between the positive force of Self Love and the negative force of Narcissism.
It is important, No it is necessary for each one of us to understand the significance and worth of loving ourselves fully and unconditionally. If you are unsure of whether you love yourself or not, I invite you take this questionnaire:
To work with me on understanding and developing Self-Love, click here or email me at Jasrin.Singh@gmail.com