How Do You Draw The Line Between Self-Love And Narcissism?


Look closely, and you will find an expansive buffet of carefully curated words on social media that coax you to love yourself as you are. Between ‘three daily affirmations read’ and ‘30 day self-love challenge’, it’s safe to say that technology has only accelerated the concept. Then there’s our social circle that has set high standards for what self-love actually is. It usually takes one faulty relationship for them to preach, ‘You can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself.’ While loving yourself is salient, the question here really is—how much?

What is self-love?

Conceptualised as a basic human necessity, self-love is simply loving and appreciating yourself. A notch lower from vanity, it is more about treating yourself with kindness, respect and happiness. Sometimes it can take the form of confidence, and in others, it can simply mean giving yourself a break from your overpacked schedule. Loving yourself feels rewarding but the moment it begins to rule your ego, we say it’s time to dial down the love.

But here’s the thing—the contribution of pop culture has effectively blurred the line between self-love and narcissism. So when and how do you know that you’re crossing over to the dark side?

Are you a narcissist?

Movies such as Eat Pray LoveI Feel Pretty and closer home, Jab We Met have been a profound catalyst in redefining self-love and -esteem. And when such conversations are deeply absorbed, it can give birth to narcissism. Simply put, it all comes down to how you consume the new-age media.

When you love yourself too much, it may assume a form that can be easily labelled toxic. From harbouring an excessive need for admiration, inability to handle criticism, to having a sense of entitlement—these are all signs of a pure narcissist!

How do you navigate the tricky path?

Today, media and pop culture have created a diaphanous distinction between two ideas of love. But once you identify the toxic traits in you and realise that you are feeding off of external validation, it’s time to take the road of humbleness.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” — C.S. Lewis

What lies between loving yourself and having narcissistic tendencies, is simply finding balance. And striking that right balance starts with amalgamating self-love with humbleness. Because here’s a fact—humility is nothing but the truth, and pride is nothing but lying.

Photographs: Instagram, Pinterest

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