Perspective

Self-Love

“Flowers always make people better,
happier, and more helpful;
they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.”

Humans constantly think about their well-being and happiness- in other words, love of oneself about oneself and for oneself.

Self-love is said to promote the physical, psychological and spiritual growth of an individual.  One ought not to be ‘self-sacrificing’ to please others; one does not need to ‘compromise’ to achieve one’s own goals or requirements.

Every individual is wired differently and has different ways of ‘prioritizing’ their needs by ‘setting healthy boundaries.’ Without a doubt, self-care involves a healthy mind in a healthy body, accepting yourself as you are, and doing what you like to do best at all times. In trying to please others and make others comfortable, one ends up making a comical picture of oneself, just as in the Aesop’s fable of ‘The Man, The Boy and The Donkey. Likewise, when one becomes a candle burning oneself from both ends, the individuality is lost permanently – it’s a robotic existence!

Before I continue, I would like to discuss what ‘narcissism’ is, and whether it is the same as self-love. Narcissism, as the lexicon explains is an ‘excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance.’ A narcissistic person displays qualities of ‘selfishness,’ has a sense of ‘entitlement’ and displays ‘lack of empathy’ towards others. Often, it is a sign of low self-esteem of an individual who is in need of ‘reassurance’ and ‘validation’ from others. In contrast to narcissists, people who practice self-love are ‘mindful’ and chose to act or not to act over situations and happenings. They are strong, confident individuals who are able to make decisions, adapt themselves to changes with ease.

Having said this, I believe that there is a very thin invisible line that distinguishes self-love from narcissism.  Being in love with oneself with a positive mindset is a healthy choice and if one sees ‘growth,’ it is appreciable.  However, self-love can often turn into an ‘obsession’ which leads to ‘toxic’ behavior.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of the disorders recognized by the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.’ Narcissistic individuals will stoop to any extent in order to gain ‘validation’ and ‘approval’ for all their insistent and eccentric behavior. Such objectionable actions can bring along a lot of strain in their interpersonal relationships with their family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances.

Let not Self-love ever turn into narcissism. Let us not be intoxicated with our own selves.
 

Photo Courtesy: N. Ravi

21-Oct-2023

More by :  Hema Ravi

Top | Perspective

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