Self-love Isn’t Narcissism
The essential distinction between self-love and narcissism is that with self-love you value yourself and don’t rely on others to be valuable; narcissism is where you don’t love and accept yourself, but rely exclusively on others and have to compel them to love and value you.
Self-love leads to the ability to love others. It is about learning to love yourself for who you are, and from there you can begin learning to love others as they are.
Narcissism represents a complete lack of empathy for others, an inability to love them. They are so obsessed with themselves and how they appear to the world that others’ feelings do not even figure into their lives. Often this is a mask to hide their inability to love themselves and the flaws they fear could be exposed.
Narcissism is a pattern of behavior that involves egotistic obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of others. A narcissist is someone who suffers from the symptoms of narcissism. They often put others down to prove their superiority and dominance, with no concern for how they have made another person feel.
To be narcissistic generally refers to having Narcissistic Personality Disorder, an emotional condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a complete lack of empathy for others. They live in a fantasy world and do not even realize that what they believe about themselves is a fantasy they have created. They have no interest in the truth, nor do they believe that what they take as the truth, could be false.
Self-love helps you maintain a healthy level of self-esteem. Learning to love yourself is an emotionally healthy, positive practice that leads to the ability to love others. There is an intensity to self-love that is not present with narcissistic behavior. Also, self-love gives one the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy. It improves self-esteem and the ability to have empathy for others. The self-love a narcissist feels is superficial, and even then is only fueled by positive reinforcement from others.
A narcissist is rarely able to reach self-love, which is the first step towards developing the ability to love others. They are completely dependent upon praise and admiration from others to maintain the energy they need to continually project a positive attitude.
People who have achieved self-love can distinguish between what really is and what are fantasies or dreams. They know their limits, acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses and have a realistic view of their achievements. They can relate to other peoples’ feelings. A person with self-love can use their emotions to bond with others, whether it is in empathy, sympathy or joy.
Narcissists Live in a Dream World
In contrast, a narcissist is not capable of empathizing with anybody, because they do not truly love and accept themselves. The narcissist lives in a world of daydreaming and pretend. They often are not grounded in reality and are oblivious to their imperfections or weaknesses. They embellish their strengths to convince even themselves of their superior sense of worth and self-importance.
Self-Love Vs. Narcissism
Self-love differs from narcissism in that it is an attitude built on accomplishments that have been mastered, values that have been established and the degree of care we’ve shown towards others. Narcissism is often based on a focus on one’s self, an unhealthy drive to be seen as the best, and an intense feeling of inadequacy.
Self-love supports compassion and cooperation. Narcissism encourages unhealthy emotional behavior. Those who have mastered self–love can acknowledge the equality of their peers, while narcissists are doomed to seek dominance in every situation, whether justified or not.