Is loving yourself the same as narcissism?
It’s a word thing. Really. It’s the way we use words. It’s more accurate to say that you cannot love others if you don’t like yourself, rather than if you don’t love yourself.
If you don’t like yourself – if you think you’re a little bit of nothing, that you’re inadequate, that you’re poor, that you’re this or you’re that – you’re messed up and you got all this negative attitude towards yourself – then you don’t have a lot to give to others – and love is about giving. So if you don’t really like yourself, if you are at odds with yourself then it’s really hard to have much to give to anybody else.
I mean, because you disvalue what you have to give. Right? You don’t like yourself so you’re saying “what I have to give isn’t much; I’m not a very nice person, I’m not a very good person, I’m not very adequate, I don’t understand anything, da-da-da-da-da…” Well then, what’s left to give? If you believe that you’re unworthy then you don’t have a whole lot to give. So that’s what that means.
So if you say that you really can’t give to others, you really can’t love others unless you are authentic in yourself, unless you are whole yourself. If you’re broken then that gets in the way. So that’s what we’re talking about.
But I don’t like to use the word “love” there because then that gets into this double meaning; you know, loving yourself is the thing like “oh, I am so wonderful, I pat myself on the shoulder because I’m such an amazing, wonderful person, and everybody is so lucky to get to talk to me”, you know, this sort of thing. Well, that’s nothing but ego. That’s narcissism. That’s all dysfunctional. You see, love is about other.
I make this definition because a lot of times people say “well, what is love? how do I know whether that’s love or or it’s my ego?” Well, the way you tell is that love is about other – not about you. Fear is about you. Any fear you have is focused on you, okay, but your fear, I mean your love cares about another person. Self-centeredness is fear-based. Ego is fear-based. So that’s the thing.
Your clients say, “well, okay, you can say that if you want, that you have to love yourself or you love others”, but understand that when you mean, when, what you really mean there is that you have to like yourself, you have to not be negative about yourself because if you’re negative about yourself you need to fix that first, you need to get over that and then you’ll be able to give to somebody else. So, you see, everybody has a capacity which they’re able to love.
Now we all, theoretically, have this huge capacity – but that’s theoretical. Actually, practically, we all have limitations on how much we can love. Our ability to love is inverse to our fear. If we have a lot of fear then we can’t give as much. If we don’t have any fear and we just are love, you know, we are love, we don’t have fear – we can give lots of love, it’s like it’s bottomless… there isn’t anything we can’t give you. Whereas, if you’re fearful, “oh, I’m not so sure, maybe that person is just taking advantage of me” or “I’m not so sure that they feel the way I think I feel that they feel that I feel” and you get all wadded up in your intellect about things and what it means and “what do they really say?” and and you get all wadded up in your fear – well, that prevents you from really giving. You can’t give because it’s still all about you and you trying to figure out your fears. So until you get rid of your fear your capacity to love is reduced.
That’s part of the thing when I say when you get rid of your fear and you grow up, you end up in a happy place, because you really can love and you really do love and… Love isn’t about what you get back. Love is about what you can give and you can always give. It’s not like you need a real special thing to give – you’re gonna always give! And, if loving is what you do then giving is easy, and you can give a lot – and it makes you happy, you see? It’s not about getting back.
But, if you’re about fear then it’s all about getting back, it’s all about what it can do for you and how it’s gonna solve your problems and meet your needs and make your fears feel better and work with your ego and that’s all about you. And when it’s about you it can’t be about them. So it limits. So everybody has a kind of capacity for love that’s the inverse of their capacity for fear. So if you’re a very, very fearful person, then the amount of love that you have to give is small because you’re so uncertain. You can’t give that love because you have so much fear, you’re so uncertain: “should I give it? what if I give it and I get hurt? what if I give it it doesn’t work? what if I don’t get my needs met?”, you see? “What if, what if, what if, what if…” Well, that’s not love. Love is about giving. It’s not about “what if I get (or) I don’t get”, see?
So as long as it’s about you, it’s not really about love. Tell your people (the questioner’s clients) “in the New Age that’s just a saying: ‘you have to love yourself first before you can love anybody else’, but, what they really mean is you have to like yourself first. You can’t be negative about yourself, you can’t feel insecure, you can’t feel inadequate, you can’t be full of fear. If you’re full of that then it’s really hard to love anybody else because while you’re full of wants and needs rather than full of something to give you don’t have the something to give because you have to be full of confidence and full of love and not full of fear to have something to give.
So that’s the way it is with most relationships in the world today. People don’t really fall in love, it just feels that way because it’s exciting and new and thrilling. Well, what they do is they fall in need. They find somebody that meets their needs, somebody that can give them what they need and what they want and then that means they have to give that person what they need and what they want. And if we find somebody with compatible needs to our wants, okay then, we get a relationship going. And I’ll meet your needs if you meet my needs but those don’t last long because they’re deals. I’ll meet your needs if you meet my needs. They’re arrangements. They’re negotiations, and they generally don’t last a long time. Matter of fact, the ones of that sort that work out the best is the people just stay friends, okay, they meet each other’s needs more than that. They’d rather be together than apart because when you’re apart you have even more needs.
So it kind of works, and they’re friends. Well, then that’s about as good as that turns out because people change their needs, their fears change and as they change now these two people aren’t all that compatible anymore. They just really (at) each others needs right then. That time, that day, the way they were at that moment, and “wow!”, it’s like the bells ring and the fire roars and it’s all very exciting. But it usually doesn’t last long. Because people change. You’re not the same, you grow up, you’re different. Okay, so that’s what that that means.
And it’s kind of a mistake to say that you have to love yourself first because then that gets in the front, that meddles (with) them, or it makes it difficult when you use the words. Love is about other. Fear is about self. Now you’re talking about loving yourself and now it gets confusing or what it is we’re talking about. But if you want to keep those two clear, to say that love is about other, ego is about self. Fear’s about self. Belief is about self. Then it keeps them straight and all you have to do is change the word ‘love’ to ‘like’. Can’t really love other people if you don’t like yourself. If you don’t think you’re much, if you have all these fears about your needs and so on. You’re not real comfortable with yourself, you’re not confident about yourself, then it’s only limited what you can give, but that’s alright.
You need to start wherever you are. Say, “Alright, here I am, I’m me, I got all this fear, I got these issues, I’ve got some needs. Alright, that’s me. Now, I’m aware of that, and if these needs get me in trouble, leading me down, lead me to make poor decisions, well okay, I’ll learn from that; I’ll try to get rid of those needs; I’ll try to get rid of those fears first; I’ll work on myself first before I get too involved in – maybe, relationship, because if you work on yourself first it’ll make your relationships a lot easier, a lot better. People who get rid of their fear and their ego and their belief end up with really great relationships, because it only takes one to love, it takes two to make a deal work. Both have to satisfy the other person’s wants, which is difficult over time.