Self-Absorbed or Self-Loving: How To Tell The Difference

Most of my life I can remember putting other people before myself. I’m the type of person who doesn’t enjoy hurting other people’s feelings and likes to help. What I realized once I entered my thirties is that while helping others is a wonderful act of love, I was neglecting myself. It was at that point that I began focusing on self-love.

But there is a thin line between being self-loving and self-absorbed. The line is so that it’s hard for most people to know when they’ve crossed it. On my own personal journey to becoming more self-loving not only did I at times cross that line but I also became hyperaware of people who were habitual self-love line steppers. Encountering people like that helped me truly learn the difference between loving oneself and being full of oneself.

Self-love is…

COMPASSIONATE:  Those who truly love themselves not only show themselves compassion but know that their compassion extends to others. Anyone who is inconsiderate, greedy, opportunistic or self-seeking is really hiding behind a mask of self-love.

OPEN & HONEST:  A person who truly is self-loving will not hide who they truly are because they have nothing to prove. They are extremely comfortable in their own skin and accept their flaws, not mask them with cockiness. If a person is defensive and prone to lashing out they are showing how insecure they are. Insecure people have difficulty being open and honest because they fear criticism and rejection and therefore they close who they really are off to the world.

FACING CHALLENGES HEAD ON:  People who truly love themselves don’t run when the going gets tough. These people are secure enough in themselves to face whatever challenges they encounter head-on, even if those challenges result in relationships ending. There is a difference between running away from difficulties and addressing difficulties before moving on.

KNOWING WHEN TO SAY NO: In my article about practicing self-love daily, I made mention of setting boundaries. Knowing when to say no is a very important component to setting boundaries. People who are practicing self-love realize that they cannot continuously give of themselves without it draining them and as such, they will know that saying no at times is necessary. Eternal “yes men” are not self-loving at all.

BEING CONFIDENT WITHOUT BEING VAIN: Confidence in yourself and ability to reach your goals is absolutely necessary when adopting self-love as a practice. When vanity, cockiness, and conceit masquerade as confidence, however, a very different picture is painted; one that shows a hurt and wounded person pretending to be something they’re not. Ego-based actions don’t show a person to be self-loving, moreover, they actually show that a person is in desperate need of love.

Remember, loving yourself is not mutually exclusive with treating others badly. People who practice self-love correctly actually encourage others to do the same. If your version of self-love isn’t inspiring, you’re probably doing it wrong.

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