How Much Of Self Love?

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“It is not love that should be depicted as blind but self love”–Voltaire

Everybody professes self- love and rightly so. After all we learn it from the cradle and the mirror. Have you noticed how happy babies are when they look at their own image? They smile at themselves, wave at their image and feel so elated. This love keeps growing with age.

As love grows out of bounds for some people, so does self-love. When care and respect for one’s own self becomes excessive, when people attempt to exalt themselves or consider themselves superior than their siblings, friends or colleagues, such a love becomes a curse for their personality.

Have you ever met such people who say:

  • I like you…I dislike him…
  • I want to be happy…Image
  • I am so successful…
  • I want you to work as I say…
  • I would like to visit…
  • My pleasure
  • My contentment, my peace
  • My health, my fitness

The key words are ‘I’ and ‘My’.

They underline so much of self- love that YOU and WE are completely lost. When we get immersed in self- love, we fail to see the world as it is. Our focus remains on our own feelings, our own achievements and gloating about them.

It is natural that such people get disliked as they are considered to be arrogant…with an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

“Self- love is akin to the capital vice pride, which is the beginning of all sin”-Thomas Aquinas

There is no harm in looking inwards, to discover your true self, to recognize what you want to be, to look after your needs and even luxuries but looking down on others, using them for your own benefits, disregarding their sentiments, hurting or bullying them to prove that you are better than them, smacks of narcissism.

“Since [narcissists] deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad.”—M. Scott Peck.

Self-love is often equated with self-esteem but when it makes you blind to your own faults and gives you an inflated ego, it is time to introspect.

Image The seeds of magnified self-esteem are sown at a very young age. All parents tell their children: ‘you are the best! You can do anything.’

As children have highly impressionable minds, they start believing what they are told. They grow up with this illusion; they start thinking highly of themselves and refuse to admit they can ever fail or they don’t have the ability to accomplish what is expected from them.

Self-love emanates from our own homes, our own overstatements and our own society. In our enthusiasm to raise perfect individuals, we overlook the fact that each child is different. Many parents keep denying that their child is a bully or behaves arrogantly till this self-love transforms into a big ego.

 Even the scriptures exhort us to shed our ‘ego’:

“Remember this O’ Nanak that whosoever says ‘I AM’, he is bound down.”

“O’ ignorant man, destroy your egoistic thoughts. Still your egos, meditate on God in your heart…”—Guru Nanak

—Enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib.

“O Arjuna, surrender your ego fully unto the God. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.”—Sri Krishna   

–Enshrined in Bhagwat Gita.

 An ego is ‘EGO’…it cannot be healthy or unhealthy! Those who live in their own dominative world call it healthy.

How much you love yourself? What are the parameters that you follow to exhibit your love and authority? You can share your valuable views here.

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7 thoughts on “How Much Of Self Love?

  1. You raise a great point here, Balroop. When is self love, love, and when is self-love a manifestation of the ego? I think self-love should be cultivated in each person and developed. Although parents sometimes do tell their children, they are the best, that is not the case in all situations. Sometimes, parents may say that or think that but what is said or shown to children is not appreciation and love, but negativity and put downs. Not just parents but society as a whole. So, a baby is born thinking it is whole and complete and for a portion of his/her life, the person is told what they are lacking and what is insufficient in them. Just like it takes a flower to bloom, the water of self love is positivity, encouragement and love. That has to be cultivated within a person because the outside world might often withhold that from someone.

    There is a limit, of course. At some point, ego jumps in and gets a hold of the self love. And if we’re talking about flowers, the flower starts saying, “hey, I’m better than you” to other flowers in the same pot. But it does this, not so much out of self love but fear and ego. I think the ego comes out when it is incomplete and fearful. And the more lack and lack of self-love exists, the more the strongly the ego takes root in a person.

    Although there is too much self-love talk in the world, we do need more healthy and nurturing self-love. I think ultimately a lot of personal and psychological problems people experience is because they don’t feel loved by themselves enough. The more loved people feel about themselves, I feel, the less ego and fear will be running through them.

    1. Hi Vishnu,

      Your insight has made me think again…and after much pondering over your question, my opinion remains the same that the degeneration of self-love, which is so innocent initially, happens due to the parents and society. Yes, you are right…some parents don’t tell their children that they are the best and that is why… whether it is lack of appreciation and love or too much of it…both ways it reaches the children. It is the balance of values, which hardly a few people bother about, that is needed.

      The foundation of self-love is laid too early. The direction it gets strengthens it or takes it to exaggerated sense of self-importance. A neglected child, with lower self-esteem too pretends he is ‘super’, to suppress his real sentiments. I have seen a lot of children who wear a badge of exalted self, just to show off! If you try to point that out, they feel hurt! It is most difficult to handle their self-esteem when they are passing through adolescence.

      I truly appreciate your profound view, Vishnu and thanks so much for your visits. I greatly value them.

  2. As always, a fantastic post Balroop! I completely agree with loving and liking ourselves but not when it becomes self-serving and self-indulgent. We can’t truly love another until we love ourselves. And then when we do I would hope we spread all of that love out unconditionally. Absolutely awesome read here 🙂

    1. Hi Mike,
      Thank you so much for liking this article…seems to be quite the opposite of what most of the people believe! I have seen that self-love leads some of us into a make believe world, where we start thinking only about ourselves or our most loved persons! The idea of spreading love doesn’t occur to such persons!

      Thanks for adding such a benevolent idea. Hope more people think about it.

  3. That’s a great post Balroop.

    What indeed is Self-love and how does it serve? You have discussed various facets of this in your post. But to me it drills down to two aspects which we carry about ourselves. They are ‘ Self Concept’ and ‘ Self Belief’. While there is an overlap between these two, I still like to differentiate as their origins are from different facets of who we are.

    My next question therefore is, ” How could we gain better awareness of our Self concept and beliefs about our self to enable us to find out how they serve us?” I believe this is the answer which most of us seek. Would you agree?

    Shakti

    1. Hi Shakti,

      Welcome!! I appreciate your standing by to express your view. Thank you, it is truly valued.

      What I understand from self concept and self belief is that they merge into each other at some point and it is this merging point which takes us to the next level…which could decide the moulding of our personality…for us and for people around us.

      An inward journey, which we undertake quite late in life, after running after our dreams and fulfilling our desires, could define the awareness of self. As only we have access to ourself and our real thoughts, only we can analyse our self concepts and beliefs. I am so glad that you are thinking about this awareness…so the first step has already been taken!

      Thank you Shakti, for the kind words about my post…there is a lot more to explore here.

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