No. That’s the short answer. At least, not in most people. I imagine there may be a case or two where it happened, but while on the surface the two may appear connected, it is actually that surface where the separation begins. And today I want to talk just a few minutes about the differences.
I was listening to a radio talk show and the host mentioned that she hated the term and trending philosophy of self-love because the world already had enough narcissists. That piqued my curiosity because I am one of those who encourages a healthy dose of self-love and am ever on a search for it myself. The very definition of narcissism is an abundance of appreciation for oneself, but isn’t that what we are all to strive for? We must love ourselves before we can love, or be loved, by others. So, what are the boundaries? What are the distinctions?
The first one is that a narcissist has an unhealthy or excessive interest in themselves. The world revolves around what makes their life easier. They constantly compare themselves to others, but only in ways that make them feel superior. They are not looking to make changes or improvements, but only for weaknesses in others to boost their esteem. In reality, narcissism has roots in insecurities and doubt, and it is their over-the-top arrogance that is used as camouflage for those fears. Those practicing self-love, do not seek to destroy or crush others in the process. In fact, they tend to be more empathic and conscious of the feelings of those around them.
Another difference is in ‘appearances’. The narcissist wants to play the part of the hero and will go to great lengths to act like a loving partner or friend so those looking from the outside are impressed and shower with praise. But their actual deeds are lackluster at best and the ones who should be benefiting rarely do. Sincere individuals, with healthy self-esteem, take pride in the help they offer and the work they do and want the proof to show in the results and not just a well-timed photo op. They also take responsibility when things go wrong, where a narcissist will blame others and circumstances; because there is no way it was their fault.
A narcissist also needs, and seeks, the approval of others. They require constant support and need to be built up by others. They are attention seekers – in fashion, relationships, work, adventures, risks and only feel successful when noticed and praised. In reverse of that, they have little compassion and are intolerant of others. They live in world of absolutes and situations either align with their way of thinking or they are immediately dismissed.
An individual who is truly striving to practice self-love and improve their self-esteem does not manifest any of these traits. The work they do is driven by a pure desire to better their world and have a positive impact on those around them. They take pride in their accomplishments even if there isn’t a trophy on the shelf to show for it.
It is not a bad thing to want approval and attention. We all desire it, whether we admit it or not. We just cannot seek it at the cost of another. We should never lift ourselves higher by pushing someone else down. My internal emotional barometer is to be a better person than I was yesterday, not a better person than my neighbor was yesterday.
My Hopefuls, it is my desire for you all today to truly love and appreciate yourself and the gifts and talents you bring into this world. There is no one else quite like you, and the world would be different if you were not in it. I absolutely believe it is right and healthy to acknowledge and own your place. You can do so without casting a shadow on anyone else in the process. Do not let the selfish egos of the world keep you from walking with your head high and your heart full. You belong here and are needed, cherished and loved. It is ok to feel good about that. And I hope you feel extra good about it today!
As always, you guys are my inspiration and I love that you allow me into your hearts and lives. Keep striving to move forward and chase those dreams. And remember, of course, to….
Hope with Abandon
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