How Self-love Degenerates into Arrogance

Self-love

There was a time when self-love was considered to be a “moral flaw.” A traditional view of self-love was equated with “doom,” a path to “failure,” “selfishness and ego.” In the words of Voltaire, “It is not love that should be depicted as blind but self- love.”

Promotion of self-love is a recent development, mooted by social philosophers, psychologists and counsellors who advocate a positive aspect of self–love, associating it with self-care, self-esteem and mental health.

However, self-love seems to be an innate trait. We know it in the cradle and the mirror accentuates it. 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  and is nurtured by parents.

Self-love emanates from modern homes, from overstatements of individualistic and proud parents and attitudes of society.  Most of the 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.

In our enthusiasm to raise perfect individuals, we overlook the fact that each child is different. Self-love needs to be balanced with human values of compassion, respect, responsibility and harmony. Many parents keep denying that their child is a bully or behaves arrogantly till his self-love morphs into ego.

Some children who are raised by narcissistic or indifferent parents, may grow up with low self-esteem but they pretend to be ‘super’, to suppress their 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 am sure you have met such people who say: I dislike him…I want to be happy. I am so successful! I want you to work as I say. Follow my instructions. My peace, my pleasure, my contentment… The key words here 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.

Relationships suffer the most due to self-love, if it exceeds its genuine limits, as your needs and desires become more important than the aspirations and expectations of your family members. 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.Self-love quote

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 upon others, using them for your own benefits, disregarding their sentiments, hurting or bullying them to prove that you are better than them, smacks of arrogance.

Self-love is not just respecting yourself, it is also understanding the thin line that separates self-belief and self-esteem. 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.

Is your self-love positive?

  • Do you think you are the best?
  • Do you consider yourself ‘always right’?
  • Do you try to belittle others?
  • Do you always shift the blame?
  • Do you get provoked by difficult questions?

If all your answers to above questions are positive, then your self-love could be detrimental for you.

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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You can read more about personality building here.

Thank you for your support. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.

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57 thoughts on “How Self-love Degenerates into Arrogance

  1. Very interesting and well written post Balroop. It has disturbed me too about the hype “self-love” has got.
    It is not bringing anything positive for any party.
    Self respect and to dare be who you are I see as good. However, this respect and care should go to people
    we share this life and earth with.
    From this you can deduce that I would answer No to all your questions. 😘 .

    Miriam

    1. Agreed, Miriam. Also what I taught my kids. Reciprocity is key and often underrated, yet stated in the Golden Rule I, myself was raised to memorize, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Aloha

  2. This is an excellent post, Balroop. Your thoughts here are exactly what I think but have never thought to articulate quite like this. Well done on this eloquent expression of the risks of self love.

  3. I dislike those advertisements where they say ‘you deserve it’ and ‘treat yourself’ – we all enjoy treats and comforts, whether we deserve them is another matter! Hardworking people in poverty deserve to eat and have shelter… and a few treats, but most of us could do with more humility and less self absorption.

    1. I agree with you, we don’t need somebody’s endorsement to enjoy the treats. Human values are equally important especially in the present scenario. Many thanks for visiting Emotional Shadows and standing by to share your perspective.

  4. A most interesting post,Balroop, thank you. I do agree that too much ‘self-love’ can be detrimental to our attitudes and behaviour, but there’s a fine line between liking ourselves too much and not enough. The latter can lead to self-doubt, procrastination and a lack of faith in our abilities. It’s all about balance, I suppose. I’m fascinated by human behaviour and have three sons. They are all SO different. Of course, as a parent – keen to ”bring each child up right’- I must have made some mistakes (being human!) and possibly could have been stricter…but all three were loved unconditionally. As each child matures, we must – if we are honest – recognise the good and the not so good traits in each of our offspring and can only hope for the best. Perhaps I’m old.-fashioned, but I believe that many of today’s younger parents over-indulge their children which encourages them to be disrespectful and selfish,, but that’s another topic for another day! Best wishes.

    1. Thank you Joy, for standing by to share your view, which I appreciate for two reasons. One, you are exactly right in analyzing human behavior and two, you talk about the need to establish the balance. Each child is unique in his own way; we may raise them with unconditional love yet they turn out to be different, have their own personality and opinions. Yes, a healthy balance of love and values is essential to exemplify what we want them to be. A child who is raised with affection and respect never forgets to give it back to society.

  5. Great topic today, Balroop. Very thought provoking. I think we may have loved our children too much to compensate for what may have been missing in our own childhood. Too much love can cause a big ego. Too little, causes the opposite problem—giving and giving without receiving or believing we deserve love back. Balance is the key, I think.

  6. Another well-balanced post on another insightful topic, Balroop. We all need self love as it’s important to our well-being and we do need to listen to ourselves and give ourselves what we want. But in some circumstances, you are so right in saying it can lead ato arrogance. As you mentioned, one bit of self-love shown or given to them by their parents can lead to indifferent behaviour, or if they are constantly told by their parents if they can have everything and anything. Personally, I never think I am the best as I feel I can learn from others around me and don’t have answers to all the questions in the world.

    1. There’s no harm in feeling the best and trying to accomplish what we want. What makes us different is feeling the same for our competitors and colleagues. When the means are right, there is no harm in winning or even losing.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts Mabel. Stay blessed.

  7. I think self-love is a very thin rope or a line. You move a bit more to your left or right, it can cause problems. The current narcissist tendencies have also been propagated by brands and adverts. When you have been raised to believe that owning the so called “best” of everything means you have arrived, it leads to problems with personalities. While what you have mentioned here is on a similar line but I have touched a different aspect. It is important to be confident of one’s abilities and skills but “I’m the best” is only bound to doom and create problems for people around such person. I’m glad you have addressed a topic which is often ignored.

    1. Nobody can follow the line of perfection and is bound to step left or right but blessed is the one who knows how to maintain the balance, especially in case of relationships. Many people prefer to abandon love and empathy to prove their own point.

  8. That list is powerful, Balroop. I do try to be comfortable in my skin (usually a challenge) but when I read that list–I’d never touch most of them. Yet, clearly, people are that way. Nice article.

  9. Very interesting and honest exploration of the modern disease. You only have to watch some of the reality talent shows to see children who have been told from a very early age how talented, beautiful and perfect they are. And it is setting them up for failure that some never recover from. As you say a fine balance of confidence building and awareness. One of the areas where it manifests itself is in the way that many people treat those in the service industries. Such as restaurants and hotels. I am appalled how rude they can be and having been on the other end for many years, I am so tempted to butt in. Anyway thank you Balroop.. super post. ♥

    1. Thank you Sally for adding so much value to this post by sharing your opinion about hotel industry, they really train youngsters to respect each and every aspect of work by bringing them down to grass root level…don’t know how much it goes deep down! 🙂

  10. Such an interesting post, Balroop, and I think you have hit on some important points. I think the original point of self-love was related to overcoming shame. Society tends to shame people based on their appearance, job, income, education, and as we’ve seen so vividly lately in the news, it even shames victims. I would hope that self-love is the core recognition that we each are valuable and lovable and worthy of respect and compassion.

    1. Thanks for sharing the original concept of self-love Diana. Shaming is still prevalent and begins from schools, in fact even earlier. There is a girl in our neighbourhood who grew up before my eyes and was just 2 years old when my grand daughter was born. Now while playing with her she is always trying to compete and belittle her over little issues.

      1. That’s so sad, Balroop. That belittling isn’t a sign of self-love, I think, but of poor self-esteem. It’s terrible when little kids start off with such a burden. 😦

  11. Excellent thoughts Balroop. There is a big difference between self-love and self-absorbed love. That would almost be of the narcissistic variety. Excellent pointers about being raised bullied and made to feel insignificant could trigger someone in becoming arrogant and self absorbed to compensate for their lack of esteem. I spent many years putting myself back together and build an esteem instead of becoming the person my mother was by being the narcissist she was making me feel insignificant.

    1. “Self-absorbed love” is the real culprit that blinds a person, that makes him ignore the needs and desires of others and even family members wonder whether they have any place in the house they live in! Making others feel insignificant by robbing them of their self-esteem is the biggest disservice to humanity. You have emerged like a hero Deb!

  12. I enjoyed reading your post here Balroop, and you will often hear me promoting love of self..
    But you have quite rightly defined the difference between the love of self to the promotion of self-importance.
    all
    I fell in the category of the child of low self-esteem, who strived to gain affection. It became a goal to achieve.. I was never the top of my parental list and I was never the top in any class..
    But I developed a skill in my workplace that I learnt to perfect and I strove to feel that elation when I was paid a compliment and yes, the ‘I’ would no doubt often surface as I climbed the ladder of my own success within my working environment..

    One learns, as one seeks to find what is missing, and when you at last begin to understand what you are looking for is not external in compliments or praise.. But it is finding the space, that void within all of us that is in need of filling..

    And when we learn to fill it with pure, simple love, all else falls away and doesn’t matter.
    Because like that little baby that looks in the mirror and gurgles and giggles in delight, we are happy with our true self.. We then no longer need to anything other but be truthful to ourselves.. Accepting our faults and imperfections and knowing no one is better than another..

    Brilliant Post dearest Balroop..

    Love and Continued Blessings my friend..
    I love your wise words..

    Love Sue ❤

    1. Sue, your meaningful and practical insights define the need for self-love and appreciation so well! With your personal example you have rightly pointed out how we can build self-esteem and slowly reach a pedestal where all validations fade away. I am so happy for you as you seem to have discovered that path. Many thanks for sharing your perspective on self-love. Your thoughts are much valued dear Sue. Love and hugs.

      1. I learn so much too from your own insights Balroop and many of your thoughts validate my own type of thinking.. So thank YOU, for your words are always full of wisdom my friend ❤

  13. Another important subject Balroop. Self-love is key. Thought it does come with respect and knowing that we are not better than others, just different. When we forget this we definitely lose the positivity of self love. Finding the balance is key, not always easy when raising kids.
    Thank you for sharing your view. It’s great help.

  14. It’s hard to fight conditioning that can tell a person to put others first. Loving one’s self can be harder than it seems like, but then again, I come from a home where my mom had a hard time doing that. My therapist told me a couple of months ago I was “hellbent on taking care of that man” and that I “should be taking care of” myself. Those words finally got to me. After a long time of not tending to me, I am finally making the choice to put myself first.

    1. Putting others first doesn’t mean ignoring self, which could prove toxic for relationships. A healthy mixture of both could be good but some people have their own demons to deal with! Thanks for sharing your insights 😊

  15. Excellent post, dear Balroop… I tend to think that if you are okay with who you are you shouldn’t need to promote that… I mean, which would be the point, except in those cases you are being payed 😂 (which in fact happens with many public figures, when they are sponsored, etc). As always, balance is a key factor… when someone goes beyond the limit, it basically shows up. And looks a bit ridiculous, I think. Much love to you 😘⭐️

    1. Thank you Acqui, you have said it so well…balance is indeed the key but many people struggle with the ways of creating this balance, as they get mired in ego, which slowly transforms into hubris. Many thanks for coming over and sharing your wisdom. Love and hugs.

  16. Thanks for putting self-love in perspective, Balroop! I like the distinction Deb makes between self-love and self-absorbed love. I’m a big proponent of self-love but understand there needs to be limits. We need self-love but not self-obsession or infatuation 🙂

  17. Great piece, Balroop (one of your best). I’m afraid many Millenials have been raised in an environment that fosters too much self love. We can all use a little dose of humility, which fosters compassion and caring for others. 🙂

  18. What a great post with so many good points, Balroop. I do know some who could answer “yes” to your questions, but not me. Sometimes, self-doubt speaks a little too loudly. 🙂 But, I’m fine. I think everyone carries some self-doubt at times, but probably not those who can answer “yes” to your questions. lol Thanks for getting us thinking here. Sending love and hugs, my friend…

    1. I am glad these questions made you put on your thinking hat once again though each time self-doubt hits us, we go into the realms of pondering over what really creates those doubts. Thank you for your kind words Lauren. Stay blessed.

  19. This is such an interesting perspective. As a young woman at a competitive university, I almost always am telling myself I am not the best and am not good enough. I’m trying harder now to love myself as I am and to block out all the negativity, but its important to think about how to avoid being negative in my love too.

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