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.
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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