We are told to love ourselves, but just enough, not too much that we are full of ourselves, narcissistic, self-centered, you get it. My mom used to say “the world revolves around Julie” when I was a kid (and it made me really mad). Perhaps children are naturally self-centered, but as we grow up we develop this thing called self and/or social awareness, well most of us do, and we begin to see the ‘bigger picture’. So how much should we love ourselves, and how do we know when it’s too much?
First, I think there’s a difference between really loving and caring about what’s best or healthy for us vs caring about what will make us happy (as if we can achieve permanent happiness). Sometimes what’s healthy for me, isn’t necessarily what I want. Example- I really want to eat only ice cream because I love it, however that’s not good for me, so out of love for myself and my body, I eat fruit instead! I love myself, so I accept my strengths and areas of opportunity and want to be the best person I can be. I try to be aware of how my actions impact myself and others around me as I want the best for myself and others.
Anyway, self-love vs narcissism. I’m pretty sure the line is the amount of time you spend thinking about yourself or should I say consumed with yourself, and how it impacts your social awareness. It’s perfectly natural to think about yourself, in fact good luck trying not to think about yourself! It’s just, when you think about yourself so much that you stop thinking about others, and are disconnected from reality that’s a problem. When you are so consumed with what you want and yourself that you hurt others, I would say that’s crossing the self-love line into self obsession.
Essentially, once you stop thinking about how you are affecting other people, it might be time to take a step back and evaluate your relationship with yourself. Here are some indicators- you only talk about yourself, fail to ask other people how they are, and are in constant conflict with others. It doesn’t have to be that way! Maybe try doing something kind for someone every day (without the expectation of being recognized for it). So, the point is, love yourself and celebrate being you! Just in a balanced way, and in a way that is loving for everyone else too. What can you contribute to life? In loving yourself, can you love other people as well?