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This Is What Makes Self-love And Narcissism Opposites

Is this narcissism or self love?


This Is What Makes Self-love And Narcissism Opposites

It’s interesting to me how often people confuse self-love with narcissism – because they are actually opposites in many ways.

Ramona ask a question about this issue:

“How do I know if I’m narcissistic? How do I differentiate between self-care and narcissism? For so long I’ve denied myself love and care and now that I am working on loving myself – hearing my inner child and taking care of myself – I sometimes feel narcissistic for focusing on me. I can’t tell if I am being narcissistic or if I am focusing on my self-love and self-care in a healthy way. Thank you for clarifying.”

Self-love and self-care are about taking responsibility for your own feelings and many of your own needs. It’s about learning to see and deeply value your essence – your inner child – and to be at least as loving to your inner child as you would be to an actual child whom you adore.

While you might have learned to believe that narcissism relates to loving yourself, it’s the opposite: i.e. narcissistic people do all they can to get others to love them. Instead of validating themselves, they manipulate in many ways to get others to validate them. Because they feel very empty and insecure inside, they are constantly trying to have control over getting others’ attention and approval – by talking on and on about themselves, by pulling for attention in many different ways, by getting angry and punishing when they don’t get what they want, and by being critical of others. They take no responsibility for their own feelings and needs, instead pulling on others to give them what they are not giving to themselves.

People who are on the path of learning to love themselves are generally open to learning with others. They want to learn and grow, so instead of getting angry when someone points out something about themselves, they get curious. The opposite is true of narcissists. They feel attacked and generally attack back when confronted with their self-centered and manipulative behavior.

Being self-centered and selfish, and being self-responsible and self-loving are also opposites. We are being self-centered and selfish when we expect others to give themselves up for us, and we are being self-caring when we love ourselves enough to be able to share our love with others. Self-responsible people who are learning to love themselves and take responsibility for their own feelings enjoy sharing their love with others, while narcissistic, self-centered people are focused on getting love from others.

Your intent determines whether you are loving yourself or being narcissistic.    When your intent is to love yourself and share your love, you are operating from your loving adult self and you are connected with your spiritual source of love and truth. When your intent is to get love from others, you are operating from your wounded self, completely disconnected from a spiritual source of love and truth.

I would say this to Ramona: “Even the fact that you are questioning whether you are coming from self-love or narcissism indicates that you are open to learning and that your intent is to learn to love yourself. Narcissists rarely question their own behavior. You need to let go of worrying that focusing on yourself is narcissistic. You need to focus on yourself to learn to love yourself, and focusing on yourself is very different than trying to get others to focus on you – which is what narcissists do.”

The more you learn to give yourself the love, attention and approval you have been trying to get from others, the more the narcissism of your wounded self gets healed. The wounded self in all of us is narcissistic to one degree or another, and learning to love yourself is what eventually heals the narcissism of the wounded self.

[Margaret Paul Relationship Toolbox]

CO-CREATOR OF INNER BONDING Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul's books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages. Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967. Margaret continues to work with individuals and couples throughout the world -- mostly on the phone. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Her current passion is working on and developing content for this Website, as well as distributing SelfQuest®, the software program that teaches Inner Bonding® and is donated to prisons and schools, as well as sold to the general public. Margaret is passionate about helping people rapidly heal the root cause of their pain and learn the path to joy and loving relationships. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride horses, and spend time with her grandchildren.

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