Many people confuse narcissism for self-love. I used to consider self-love as a form of narcissism because it was easier for me to consider self-love as a defect, rather than something positive.
But now I get it. It’s actually relatively easy to differentiate between someone who loves themselves and a narcissist:
- Self-love is borne out of confidence, comfort in one’s own skin and happiness. Those who practice self-love have little or no need for external validation. Those who practice self-love will readily compliment others, expecting little or nothing in return. Self-love is positive.
- Narcissism is borne out of insecurity and self-doubt. A narcissist needs constant external validation in order to feel good about themselves. Narcissists seldom reciprocate when it comes to validating others (for example giving someone a compliment). Narcissism is negative.
While I don’t love myself, I hope that I have gained an understanding of self-love and I no longer consider it a form of narcissism.
I admit to my own insecurities and I turn them inward. But many insecure people turn their insecurities outwards, by either becoming bullies or narcissists (or both).
Feel free to disagree or add to the discussion. I’m not a mental health professional and I don’t pretend to be. I just try to study human behavior so as to understand people better.