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Where lies the line between self-love and narcissism?

By Elizaveta Shchigireva Feb 24, 2023
Woman basking in sunlightCredit: JM Lova/Unsplash

The concept of self-love has become widely popularised particuarly with Gen-Z and with the help of social media.

While there is no doubt that loving yourself is important and essential in order to live a fulfilling life, the question here is when do we cross the line between self-love and narcissism? 

Self-love means accepting yourself fully, treating yourself with kindness and respect, nurturing your growth and wellbeing.

It makes room for living in accordance with your values and includes:

  • forgiveness of yourself after you make mistakes
  • valuing your feelings, meeting your own needs
  • prioritising your health and wellbeing
  • asking for help
  • recognising your strengths
  • noticing your progress and efforts
  • accepting your imperfections
  • holding yourself accountable
  • not letting others take advantage of you 

Loving yourself feels rewarding but the moment it begins to rule your ego, it is time to take a step back.

There is a false idea that self-love involves being over-confident and selfish.

This increases the number of people who use self-love as an excuse for being inconsiderate and unsympathetic.

A wrong perception of self-love can make people feel the need for excessive admiration, and may lead to an inability to handle criticism  or having a sense of entitlement. These are all signs of a narcissist. 

Narcissism is defined as excessive interest or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance.

This word comes from the ancient Greek myth about Narcissus, a young man who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water, staring at it for the reminder of his life.

Some narcissistic tendencies are: inflated ego, lack of empathy, need for attention, repressed insecurities and a disregard for the boundaries of others. 

The line between loving yourself and having narcissistic tendencies, is simply about finding a balance.

Finding a balance starts with combining self-love with humbleness.

Humility is one of the most powerful and important attributes of personal growth, while pride can be a poison for your soul.

It is important to be self-aware and make changes that will create a positive impact on your life and the lives of those around you which is the most crucial aspect of loving yourself.  

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