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4 Questions on Self-Love VS Narcissism

4 Questions of Self-Love VS Narcissism

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Narcissism is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. The “selfie society” that exists in a world of social media has some people saying we are more concerned with ourselves than ever. The new heightened sense of self-promotion causes many to feel we have become less interested in true connection with others. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with healthy self-love. Some may see it as simply embarking on self-exploration and celebration. Others may see it as self-seeking and being conceded. Are you more conscious, or are you pretentious? Are you introspective or disconnected?

At times the distinction becomes blurred, and that might not be your fault. Sometimes others will perceive us differently and it’s not our responsibility to change their minds. Sometimes people are afraid to give themselves the self-love they need because they don’t want to seem self-centered, but isn’t there a strong difference between self-love and narcissism?

True Narcissism

Let us be clear; narcissists seem to love themselves to an extreme, with the exclusion of others. This is often considered as a feature of a mental health disorder and includes an excessive interest in one’s self, especially physical appearances. It is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.

If you were to look up the definition of narcissism, you would probably find it also described as a social or cultural problem. It is a factor in trait theory used in various self-report inventories of personality.

Narcissism is most typically considered an issue in an individual’s or group’s relationships with self and others.

Egocentrism

Let us also be clear that narcissism is not the same as egocentrism. It is true that both egocentrism and narcissism appear comparable. However there is a distinct difference.

Much like a narcissist, a person who is egocentric believes they are the center of attention. However, this individual does not receive gratification by one’s own admiration, as the narcissist does. In other words, the egocentric individual must receive validation and admiration from outside itself, so the self-love aspect is not so much an issue from the egocentric perspective.

Self-Love

Self-love is being more subject to the broad-stroke of “narcissism” over time, but should be viewed in a different light. For example, two forms of narcissism are not considered to be as detrimental:

  • Primary Narcissism

Freud suggested that, simply put, the desire and energy that drives one’s instinct to survive is something he dubbed primary narcissism. This sense of self-preservation is supposedly ingrained in everyone as a sense of self that protects us, without abandoning empathy or loving others.

  • Healthy Self-love

The “healthy narcissist” can be characterized as possessing realistic self-esteem without being cut off from a shared emotional life. This expression of self-love, or “health narcissism,” is about having a honest appraisal of ones worth, and still valuing others.

All of this brings us back to the question; How can we love ourselves in a way that feels good and enhances the quality of our lives, but isn’t narcissistic?

Research finds four consistent differences between healthy self-love and narcissistic love. Take a look at these 4 questions that can help you with self-love vs narcissism.

  1. Do I need to be validated by others?

Narcissists need the validation of others; it is a primary motive for a lot of their actions. A true narcissist craves constant affirmation. They need to be verified by others because they haven’t created a self-sustaining sense of worthiness or self-compassion. They may seem to hold themselves highly, however they have no genuine instinct of high self-regard.

The narcissist will do things to win praise and recognition. They seek materials as tools to measure their own worthiness. Even the people they develop relationships with are possessions they use as a means of validation.

Healthy self-love is fundamentally different in the sense of measuring self-worth. With health self-love, an individual’s internal values are a primary influence of their actions. They behave in a way that is consistent with those values, and these convictions help to sustain their good feelings about themselves.

In other words, basing your self-worth on your beliefs, instead of what others may believe about you, is self-love.

  1. Am I focusing on my appearance or my performance?

This isn’t just for the sake of aesthetics either. It ties right into the last question.

A true narcissist will often make a great actor. They play many parts, such as:

  • Caring friend
  • Devoted lover
  • Good employee

But they are better at keeping up appearances than actually performing the role with expertise and aptitude. Like when an action movie hero does well at looking like they beat up a room full of ninjas, but in reality they have CGI and stunt doubles.

A narcissist doesn’t invest too much emotionally in the actual quality of their performance. They don’t mind how their role as a friend or lover actually impact the other person, they just want to make it look good, especially if other people are looking. It is another form of validation.

People with authentic self-love take real care in doing a good job and taking responsibility for their part in things, particularly in relationships. So it is very acceptable to be concerned with your contribution to relationships and how you impact others, because in a way you earn your own self-love from the way you treat others.

  1. Am I focusing on comparison or compassion?

Another huge piece of this puzzle is comparison. How do you perceive others in contrast to yourself?

Typically, narcissists are not self-loving or secure in their worth. Because of this, they often seek to compare ourselves with others. Now this isn’t especially exclusive to full-blown narcissism, because we all have a tendency to try and measure up.

But the narcissist will thrive on the belief that they are better than, or even the best. We all feel better about ourselves when we are accomplished or exceptional at something, but to require to always outshine others is a little more relevant to narcissism. The focus here isn’t so much on us being able to appreciate our own achievement as much as it is the need for other people to be less. In order for a narcissist to be more, other people have to be beneath them. It isn’t self-worth; it is self-inflation through the dispossession of others.

Healthy self-love and self-esteem is based on believing that we have a number of positive qualities, and that other people have such qualities. It puts us on a more level playing field and allows us to be compassionate whether or not someone is as accomplished in something as we are. So it is OK to excel at something, as long as you don’t make it about other people being less.

  1. Do emotions and attitudes seem “black and white?”

We have mentioned before the real dangers of black and white thinking. In the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi,

“Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”

Basically, the issue is that some people only let it be one of two ways. It has to be black or white, no room for grey area or compromise.

Research indicates a narcissists tends to either love or hate things. They don’t to tolerate the middle ground. Usually, something with themselves or others is either preferable and exceptional or totally unacceptable. They are either everything or nothing, instead of just letting it be.

As a result, when we can’t abide our own uncomfortable feelings, we’re more likely to project them onto others. Once we force those feelings onto others we create conflict, isolation, and self-disillusionment.

Healthy self-love allows us to tolerate uncertainty. It is important to have self-love because with a strong sense of self-love we have the ability to experience our own vulnerability. Where a narcissist feels angry or intolerant of their own vulnerability, a healthy, self-loving person will naturally resort to self-compassion. This same compassion for ourselves gives us a chance to feel more connected to others.

So don’t look at self-compassion as “letting yourself off the hook,” look at it as accepting your imperfections with humility.

Recovery is Self-Love

At the end of the day, what is the moral of the story here?

Is it OK to just assume that people who have a high opinion of themselves, who believe in their own capacity to be unique and successful, and who value and respect their own impact on other people should be considered narcissists? Should the term “healthy narcissist” be something we swap for self-love once in a while to consider it as a virtue?

In recovery we hear a lot about how addicts and alcoholics are especially selfish. As often as we are told this, should we also be reminded to use our own nature as selfish people in recovery to shape that sense of self into something more constructive and empowering instead of thinking we need to abandon it completely?

Let us not be so quick to label one another as narcissists, and learn to love ourselves thoroughly as we learn again to love each other.

Mental health and self-esteem is extremely important in regards to addiction recovery. Holistic treatment programs like Palm Partners are specifically designed to address unique issues in unique ways. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

5 Root Causes of Insensitivity

5 Root Causes of Insensitivity

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Do you find it difficult to show sensitivity towards others? You are not alone. In fact, there are common reasons why some people are more insensitive than others. Some people simply lack empathy, and there are a variety of legitimate reasons for this. This article is great for those who feel they are insensitive and great for those who want to understand the insensitive people in their lives.

The reasons for sensitivity range from person to person. Often, sensitive people can lose sight of what is going on in the background of another person’s mind. It is especially difficult to understand those who go against the social contract of common courtesy. Why are people so dang insensitive?

HERE ARE 5 EXPLANATIONS BEHIND INSENSITIVITY

  1. BRAIN CHEMISTRY

Every brain is different, therefore it makes sense that brain chemistry could play a role in how sensitive we are. Insensitive people have very different brain chemistry than most. Certain mechanisms within their brain inhibit them from conveying sensitivity.

Often times, insensitive people are not aware of how insensitive they are being. Even if someone pulls them aside and explains that their behavior is unacceptable, the insensitive person will not understand and think the sensitive person is simply “too sensitive,” Clearly, this situation does not ever end well.

  1. DIFFERENT THOUGHT PATTERNS

In addition to brain chemistry, thought processes are another main reason why insensitive people act the way they do. Insensitive people are a byproduct of environmental factors. For example, a person who spends a lot of time in the corporate world learns to have aggressive thought patterns. After a while, these thought patterns actually alter one’s brain chemistry.  Also, thought patterns can be a product of personal beliefs, religious views and political stances resulting in someone behaving more aggressive and insensitive.

  1. ANGER

Sometimes insensitivity is a result of anger. When we are angry, it becomes more difficult to retain a sense of self-control. Of course, lacking self-control increases the chances of saying something insensitive. Anger lowers inhibitions making us more careless of the consequences of our actions. Therefore, it is easy to be insensitive to others. In this state, we can hurt others when they do not deserve such treatment. Insensitive people may be angry inside and are lashing out at others to release their build up of anger.

  1. LACK OF SELF ESTEEM

Self-esteem and insecurity often are reasons behind a lot of our actions and emotional outbursts. Some people with insecurity issues can still interact with others without burdening the other person with their self-esteem issues. However, other people degrade others to “make themselves feel better.” The problem with this is that it offers a very short-term “solution” and it also results in pain to the other person. Insensitive people may be fighting insecurity issues so they tend to have a natural desire to put down others. They tend to be more careless about other people’s feelings because they are struggling with their own.

  1. STRESS

Oh stress…don’t you love stress? Not. Of course, stress plays a major role in every facet in our lives, including how sensitive we are. When dealing with stressful situations, it can be easy to be insensitive to other people’s situation. After all, our problems usually feel worse than others.  Some people simply cannot handle stress in a constructive fashion. Therefore, they elect to deal with their stress by spreading their negative state of mind. Stress is a distraction, and insensitive people are incapable of handling the effects of stress without hurting someone in the process.


Whether you are sensitive or insensitive, we all have the ability to understand each other. The next time someone says something that simply lacks sensitivity, try to consider that there could be more going inside of them.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

    CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

 

10 Distorted Forms of Thinking That Are Holding You Back

10 Distorted Forms of Thinking That Are Holding You Back

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Recently, my therapist revealed I have a catastrophizing form of thinking. Essentially, I overanalyze everything and believe something will go wrong one way or another. This negative type of thinking results in anxiety when even the smallest things go wrong, which ultimately results in more things going wrong. Needless to say, it is a horrible cycle.

Still, the realization had me pondering other forms of irrational thinking people have. How do other negative ways of thinking affect people’s life? Cognitive psychologists pay very close attention to what is known as cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are our mind’s way of convincing us of something that is not true. These distorted thoughts reinforce our negative thoughts and emotions. We tell ourselves things we believe sound rational and accurate, but in reality, they only make us feel bad about ourselves.

For example, a person might tell themselves, “I always fail when I try to do something new; therefore  I fail at everything I try.”

Honestly, these thoughts might be grounded in truth. Maybe this person has tried many things and HAS failed at many of them, but that does not mean they will fail at everything. That is an all or nothing mentality. People who think this way hesitate to do anything and feel worthless as a result. This form of thinking is known as overgeneralization—because you failed at x, y and z, you automatically will fail at a, b and c. It is self-deprecating and destructive in the long term.

Therapists try to understand their client’s way of thinking so that they can help them change their thinking in the future. Chances are, we have reinforced our thinking patterns over and over again for years, and some of us need help replacing our negative thought patterns with more rational, balanced ones.

10 Cognitive Distortions Holding You Back

  1. Filtering

    Filtering is when you take the negative details and magnify them while filtering the positive aspects of the situation. For example, you get a flat tire on the way to an event, and you decide to focus on that one negative aspect of the day that went wrong, rather than all the positive events that occurred afterward. Dwelling on these negative occurrences causes our vision of reality becomes darkened or distorted.

  2. “Black and White” Thinking

    This form of thinking is also known as all-or-nothing thinking. Either you go to the gym seven days a week, or you sit on the couch all week.  Either you work on something every day until it is perfect, or you do not do it at all. The “must be perfect” mentality does not work because no one is perfect. People who have black-or-white thinking lack the ability to see shades of gray. Every situation or performance must go perfect, or you are a failure. The concept of balance is difficult for a person with this style of distorted thinking to understand.

  1. Overgeneralizations

    Overgeneralization thinking focuses on the past rather than the future. For example, if the first time you tried pizza, it was bad, that means all pizza is bad. If the first time you tried flirting, you were rejected, that means you will always be rejected. If the first time you take any risk, you fail, then you will always fail. This form of thinking relies on a single incident or piece of evidence that we cling on to validate never doing that particular thing again. However, this only reinforces a never-ending pattern of defeat.

  2. Jumping to Conclusions

    You meet someone, and they are in a bad mood, and you automatically think they are mad at you.  You must have done something, right?  Perhaps your friend has not called you in weeks, so you assume they are ignoring you. Jumping to conclusions means you automatically assume the worse scenario when something out of the ordinary, or negative happens. You do not bother finding out the truth; you just make a conclusion on your own. This form of thinking is destructive because it relies on assumptions and not facts.

  3. Catastrophizing

    When we catastrophize, we expect the worse no matter what. We always question the what-ifs in life rather than remain in the present. This is also known as “magnifying or minimizing.” An example is when planning a trip; you think of every possible thing that could go wrong before the journey begins. Ex: “What if my flight delays?,” “What if I forget my passport?”, “What if tragedy strikes?” Everyone catastrophizes once in a while, but in excess, it can prevent you from doing anything you want in life.

  4. The Fallacy of Fairness

    In this form of thinking, you feel resentful because you do good things, yet do not get what you think is “fair” in return. For example, you volunteer to help your friend with an errand, however when you have an errand to run, she is not available. People who have this form of thinking keep track of everything and use measurements for every situation. Example: I did this for you, so I expect the same in return. The problem with this form of thinking is that life is not always fair, and you should not waste energy keeping track of every good deed you do. Learn to make sacrifices without expecting favors in return.

  5. Blaming

    You hold other people responsible for your pain. Example: “You are making me feel bad about myself!” or “I feel insecure when I am around you.” The problem with this form of thinking is nobody can make you feel a certain way. Your response to a situation comes from your experience and emotions. Blaming the outside world for your emotions is not an effective way of controlling them.

  6. Emotional Reasoning

    This style of thinking means everything you feel about yourself must be true. It is the ultimate “I think. Therefore I am” mentality. If you feel stupid and depressed, then you must be stupid and depressed. You assume your unhealthy emotions define who you are as a person. This form of thinking is harmful because our emotions do not define us. Our emotions are a state that we can alter and change.

  7. Global Labeling

    This form of thinking involves labeling ourselves or other people because of an error or mistake. For example, you fail a math test, so automatically you are a loser. If you went over budget on a project, you are obviously irresponsible. This negative form of thinking is self-destructive. Furthermore, people who have this form of irrational thinking tend to judge others harshly. When they see another person make an error on a particular task, they label the person as a loser. This form of thinking is unhealthy because making mistakes does not automatically make you or anyone a loser or failure.

  8. Heaven’s Reward Fallacy

    A person with this type of thinking always feels unappreciated. When you do well, you feel like people should comment on how well you are doing. If they do not notice, then you feel less inclined to work as hard. You expect the sacrifices you make to be recognized and rewarded. If you do not get the reaction you want, you get bitter. The problem with this form of thinking is that you rely on other people to stay motivated. Instead, you should understand that not all our sacrifices will pay off. No one is keeping score. You should work on motivating yourself rather than waiting on others to motivate you.

Cognitive distortions are not healthy because they rely on a distorted, irrational way of thinking. Learning to understand your style of thinking will help you shift your negative thoughts. Awareness is critical.  If you are struggling with any of these types of thinking, we can guide you.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Second Look at Selfishness: Self-Awareness

Second Look at Selfishness: Self-Awareness

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Selfishness, self-centeredness… these issues have become a commonality in our culture. The alcoholic or addict in recovery probably has had some time to reflect and discuss the presence of selfishness in their lives, and in most 12 Step fellowships of recovery we are told selfishness is often the common factor of our troubles. Entire books have been dedicated in the past decade to narcissism and self-serving, while we live in the “selfie” society that puts so much emphasis on the individual.

When we have to deal with selfish people on a constant basis it can make our lives miserable. When we are told we are selfish, it can seem hurtful and unfair, but a lot of times we can often see where we have been self-involved or focused on ourselves. First, let us look at the meaning of being selfish.

Selfish- adjective

(A person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

So when we consider that being selfish means neglecting the needs of others in order to serve one’s self, maybe we can take a second look at selfishness to try and understand the aspects of being selfish, and find out how we can turn selfishness into self-awareness.

Empathy

Now when I say to show empathy, I do not mean you are required to accept someone’s selfishness and allow it to negatively impact your life. The intention here is to try and understand the mindset from which this person is acting from because that empathy can make your response more effective.

Sometimes people are acting selfishly out of a sense of necessity, thinking that the best they can do to take care of themselves is to focus on themselves and not put so much effort into other people. In recovery sometimes we are told it is a selfish program. While I may disagree with that personally, I do understand that in a life-or-death situation like addiction or alcoholism sometimes the best we have in the beginning is self-preservation.

Empathy allows us to better appreciate why someone is acting selfishly, so that we can better address it when that selfishness has an effect on our lives. Having empathy means having self-awareness too, and connecting to someone else to see where selfish actions come from on both sides.

Assumptions

We all know what happens when we assume… yes that old cliché. If you don’t know, we’ll tell you when you’re older.

Anyway, the point is that when we make assumptions they are frequently incorrect or set up unfair expectations. Again, with empathy we have to try and give someone who is being selfish the room to explain what they are dealing with and try to see it from their perspective instead of making up our own meaning for why they are acting the way they are. Don’t assume you know someone’s motives without at least having a conversation. Being self-aware of your assumptions can make a big difference.

Sometimes people make selfish choices out of the need to be loved or to give love. Sometimes they want to bond more with others, or sometimes they want to protect themselves from others. Sometimes selfishness comes from desire to be ambitious. There is nothing wrong with some of these selfish motives, as long as we can recognize them for what they are.

Healthy Selfishness

One thing we can also conclude from a few of these factors is that selfishness can be healthy because it reminds us to take care of ourselves, and believe it or not healthy selfishness can actually make it possible for us to take care of others. Even selfless acts are not always purely selfless because they make us feel good. Doing something for someone else can make us experience a feeling of joy, accomplishment and even self-worth– and aren’t those just a little selfish themselves?

That doesn’t mean it is wrong.

In 12 Step fellowships we are often told that nothing will ensure lasting recovery as much as intensive work with others who struggle. So if this is the case, we are actively encouraged to do for others as selflessly as we can as a means to keep ourselves on track. It is kind of a paradox- seeking to do for others with no thought of yourself, because in the end it will benefit you to not be selfish… weird right? Mind blown.

Even though selfishness can hinder our growth and keep us stuck in our contempt or our troubles, it is important to take a second look at where that selfishness comes from and how it is poised to impact other people. Whether it is our own selfishness or the selfishness of others, we should always try and see to what end that selfishness aims toward or what mindset it stems from in order to meet it with appropriate action.

Understanding our characteristics and the patterns we run is part of developing healthier coping mechanisms in recovery. Not every one of our impulses is as easy to overcome, but when fighting addiction the more we know about ourselves, the better we can grow. For those who need a foundation for recovery, help is here. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

5 Symptoms of Self-Disrespect You Should Stop NOW

5 Symptoms of Self-Disrespect You Should Stop NOW

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Who among us has not been warned in our lifetime that we should treat others how we want to be treated, and that in every relationship the way we behave with others is a subconscious but very realistic reflection of how we treat ourselves. Self-esteem and self-respect have a lot to do with the conversations we have with ourselves, and those thoughts and emotions translate easily into the way we communicate in all relationships. Self-disrespect can easily cloud our interactions with others as we project those feelings of inadequacy, distrust and negativity outward for the hurt we are pouring inward.

When we listen to ourselves with love and acceptance, it becomes acutely more organic and authentic with others. And when we respect ourselves, the lives we lead become more fulfilling and less deprecating.

Here are 5 symptoms of self-disrespect you should stop now to be happier and have healthier relationships.

  1. You get angry a lot

Some would say that anger is a chaotic expression of our ego, typically boiling up beyond our control in the face of being dissatisfied with a current situation.

Anger comes from the ego getting fed up with the fact its needs are not being met, emotionally or psychologically, and your mind is either imploding on itself or erupting onto others in unhealthy ways. Letting go of being angry can seem impossible at times, but in order to stop disrespecting your worth and better serve yourself you have to stop being so angry with the circumstances and take responsibility for what you can do to change them.

  1. You seek outside validation

When we feel like something is missing in us, we often look to external elements to fill this void. With some of us that became drugs and alcohol, gambling or other addictions; people do the same with other people. Seeking validation from others constantly is self-disrespect because it is almost another way of saying you and your own standards aren’t good enough.

Seeing this form of self-disrespect for what it is we realize we are the cause and effect; we are both sides of the coin. Seeking the validation from within lets you love yourself. Believe that how you measure your worth is the only gratification you need.

  1. You pass a lot of judgment

People who judge are often people who are deflecting something about themselves that makes them uncomfortable. I can’t be the only one who has ever heard that expression that we often judge others harshly when they remind us of things we resent about ourselves.

We all have darker shades of the self, and sometimes we lash out at others because we can catch a peak of our own shady side when we see someone do something we oppose. Accepting that we are all flawed and taking notice of the issue as an aspect of your own humanity can help you heal. Don’t feed into self-disrespect and the disrespect of others by looking down on anyone, including yourself.

  1. You let others make your decisions

This one almost goes hand in hand with seeking outside validation. Needing the approval of others in the choices you make in your life is another form of self-disrespect that we have to overcome in order to honor ourselves more in life.

It’s ok to get advice from friends, family and professional peers. We need to be inspired and educated at times. But the point is you cannot let the opinions and perspectives of others dictate your life. Be mindful of your own intuition and experience in your decisions and, again, accept that they are valuable. Stop doing thing you don’t believe in or don’t like- be it in professional or in your relationships or whatever- and start making decisions that break the cycle.

  1. You don’t live from the heart

Your heart is the most remarkable and powerful muscle in your body. It pumps all the life-force into the rest of you and fuels the feelings that set fire to every nerve in the conscious mind for what you want in your life. The issue of self-disrespect comes when you bury that fire out of fear, doubt or simply neglect.

Give yourself the healthy space to evaluate what you feel, because feelings can often distort and hinder what it is you truly want. But the inner knowing of who you are in your heart and what you want should be trusted. This intrinsic expression isn’t there to hurt you; it is there to show you the best of yourself, even when you see those darker shades in the reflection.

Whatever you do in life, don’t let it lead to self-disrespect. It is ok to question your feelings and your thoughts, and it is ok to get help and appreciation from others, but do not lose sight of your own worth. Do not let the negative ego deter you from knowing who you really are, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Part of self-respect is to make better choices in order to change your life. For some that means getting help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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