Difference Between Self Love and Narcissism

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 21, 2022


Difference Between Self Love and Narcissism Difference Between Self Love and Narcissism

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There’s a fine line between self-love and narcissism, and it’s important to be able to distinguish between the two. While both types of behavior may seem similar, understanding the difference can help you better understand yourself, your motivations, and the world around you in ways that will help you live your best life. By following these tips on the difference between self-love and narcissism, you can start to see things more clearly in your own life and relationships so that you can begin to make the changes that will bring you closer to finding peace and happiness.

If you are looking for ways to love yourself more, but aren’t sure where to start then look no further. You must understand what it means to love yourself before moving forward with any ideas on how to love yourself more. There are a lot of things that can come up in your mind when considering how to learn self-love. Maybe you are new to all of these feelings, or maybe you know that there is more out there than just what everyone else wants from you. Either way knowing why it is so important for someone to love themselves first will help anyone go down a road they never imagined they could travel on. So let’s talk about the difference between self-love and narcissism.

The definition of narcissism is excessive interest in or admiration of oneself; vanity. So if we break that down into two parts we get excessive interest in ourselves, which I would say is pretty accurate because if you don't have an excessive amount of interest in yourself then why would you even be reading about loving yourself? You wouldn't! You must have an interest in yourself already to want to improve upon something that isn't broken yet. And next, we have admiration, which I believe comes along with loving someone else right? So if you admire someone who has done something great doesn't it make sense that you should also admire your accomplishments? Of course, it does! So now that we have defined what narcissism is, let's talk about self-love. What is self-love? Well according to Wikipedia: Self-love encompasses healthy love of one's identity, character traits, talents, and personal qualities. That makes perfect sense right? But wait there's more... Self-love may sometimes be confused with selfishness. No wonder people get confused! To me, they sound like synonyms but they are not! Let me explain... Selfishness is doing things only for yourself without regard for others. This means that you do not care if other people around you suffer as long as your needs are met. Self-love on the other hand is caring for yourself enough to put your needs above others at times, but not putting them above everyone else all of the time. Some people think that self-love requires putting ourselves last and helping others first (which is called altruism). They think that you cannot truly love yourself until you can put aside your own needs for those of another person. But true self-love includes being able to accept praise and compliments as well as criticism. True self-love includes being comfortable with saying no when necessary instead of always saying yes because it makes us feel good.

For example, if you know that cooking is something where you excel, then cook more meals so that every time friends come over they'll be impressed with your skills! Loving yourself doesn't mean ignoring everything else around us; instead, it means finding ways to improve our lives by taking pride in ourselves and our accomplishments.

Self-Love vs Narcissism

What's The Difference? To someone who’s never met you, it might seem impossible to differentiate between self-love and narcissism. But even though they are often used interchangeably by lay people, there is a clear difference between being an individual who’s loving to herself or himself versus being narcissistic. For example, if you were to find yourself saying or thinking things like: I am special., Everybody wants to be my friend., I want to meet people who understand me so I can help them become more like me.; you might be a narcissist. On the other hand, if you were to say or think something like: I love myself! It makes me happy when I take care of myself! It feels good when I do nice things for myself; then you're probably just a self-loving person. So how do we tell these two apart? To make sure that your behaviors don't cross over into narcissism territory, here are five questions that will help you know whether your actions are coming from a place of love (and therefore healthy) or a place of ego (and therefore unhealthy). Practical ways to start loving yourself today:

  1. Start with small acts of kindness towards yourself every day - If you've been in a rut where all you do is put others' needs before your own, try changing up your routine by doing something nice for yourself every day. This could mean treating yourself to a cupcake after work or taking 10 minutes out of your morning routine to meditate and focus on how great it feels when you take time out for yourself first thing in the morning. Even little changes can have big impacts on our mental health!
  2. Find new ways to show appreciation - Another easy way to get started with self-love is by showing appreciation towards ourselves in different ways than we normally would.

Difference Between Self Love and Narcissism in Tabular Form

Table: Self-Love vs Narcissism
Parameters of Comparison
The word self is defined as that part of your identity which exists separate from your partner, family, friends, neighbors, and everyone else
Narcissism is an all-encompassing personality disorder, or if not an actual disorder, it's a way for someone to justify their behavior to get what they want.
Origin of word
Greek word
Roman word
Invented in  
The word self-love was invented in the 3rd-4th century.
The word narcissism was invented in the 8th AD
Type of Word          
Self Love is an optimistic word.
Narcissism is a negative phrase.

What is Self-Love?

The word self is defined as that part of your identity which exists separate from your partner, family, friends, neighbors, and everyone else. It's all about you. Do not think we are suggesting self-absorption here; instead, we are talking about loving yourself for who you are in addition to loving others. The words narcissist or narcissistic stem from Greek mythology when the handsome youth Narcissus fell in love with his reflection in a pool of water. While narcissists can have some positive qualities (they're confident, assertive, and goal-oriented), they tend to suffer from low self-esteem or even depression due to a lack of inner growth. In contrast, those who love themselves understand their strengths and weaknesses while being able to accept them. They are comfortable with themselves because they do not depend on anyone else for their happiness. They know what makes them happy and go after it regardless of whether other people agree or approve.

We all need time alone but there is a difference between being alone because you want to be versus being alone. After all, no one wants to be around you. A person who loves himself knows how important it is to spend time alone each day so he can reflect on his life, connect with himself and renew his energy levels so he can be more productive during waking hours.

Importance of Self Love

The phrase loves yourself is common advice that many people toss around, particularly when they want to give others a boost. However, while it may be nice to hear, we don’t always take it seriously because most people see self-love as a feel-good term or cliché rather than something that requires real effort. While everyone deserves love (self or otherwise), not all forms of love are equal in their positive effects on mental health. There is no denying that love can improve your life in every way imaginable; however, self-love is often confused with narcissism, which might work for some but not for everyone else. To understand how you can best love yourself without becoming narcissistic, you need to first understand what constitutes healthy self-love versus unhealthy narcissism.

What is Narcissism?

In general, people with narcissistic personality disorder have a grandiose sense of self-importance and are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. They believe they are special and unique and can only be understood by other special or high-status people. There is an extreme craving for admiration. Usually, these people are sensitive to criticism but it doesn’t bother them much because they don’t feel anything negative if they do receive it. They may react aggressively to others who challenge their right to act in an overbearing manner; however, not everyone with a narcissistic personality disorder is aggressive or expresses their grandiosity openly. Some are charming even while being rude or condescending. They can be very manipulative. It is common for narcissists to lack empathy, which means that they are unable to understand how someone else feels. This makes it difficult for them to consider anyone else's feelings except their own. They will often become angry when someone does not agree with them or when someone criticizes something about themselves that they value highly (e.g., intelligence). It's important to note that people with narcissistic personality disorder typically have low self-esteem despite their inflated view of themselves. The reason why narcissists seem so confident and arrogant on the outside is that they often see themselves as superior to others; although on the inside, many struggles greatly with feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.

Importance of Narcissism

Most people have heard of narcissism, but what exactly is it? Simply put, it’s an excessive love for yourself that is unhealthy. True self-love is healthy; however, narcissists are so over-the-top in their attention to themselves that they often resort to dishonest behavior. The core traits of a narcissist include entitlement, extreme selfishness, arrogance, and a constant need for attention. Being overly confident or thinking highly of yourself isn’t necessarily a bad thing—but people who exhibit extreme narcissistic behaviors tend to be damaging. They don’t care about how their actions affect others, which can lead to multiple conflicts at home or work. If you feel like you might have some narcissistic tendencies, here are a few signs to look out for:

The Main Difference Between Self Love and Narcissism in Points

  • From many theories, we can distinguish that self-love is knowing your flaws as a person.
  • Narcissism is an all-encompassing personality disorder, or if not an actual disorder, it's a way for someone to justify their behavior to get what they want.
  • While some may say narcissists are just full of themselves, it goes beyond that: research suggests that narcissists don't even like themselves!
  • In fact, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) causes people to have an inflated sense of their importance and a deep need for admiration from others.
  • They often come across as conceited, boastful, pretentious, and vain. It's also important to note that while both self-love and narcissism involve feeling good about yourself, there are very different reasons behind each one.
  • The biggest difference between these two concepts is how you feel about yourself versus how you feel about other people.
  • When you're being narcissistic, you're focused on yourself—how great you are—and when you're being loving toward yourself, you're focused on your strengths without ignoring any weaknesses.
  • This doesn't mean that you think you're perfect, but rather that you know your limits and accept them.
  • Loving yourself means recognizing where you excel at something and then doing more of those things so that you can be proud of yourself.


It’s important to learn how to recognize when self-love is healthy, versus when it may be a sign of narcissistic personality disorder. Simply recognizing what narcissism is can help you further distinguish between a healthy self-love practice and a potentially harmful relationship with your image or worth. Recognizing one has poor self-esteem is an important step in any journey towards change; if you notice yourself experiencing symptoms such as social isolation, anxiety, depression, or substance abuse, consider seeking professional help for yourself or your loved ones. But, first, learn about narcissism. 

And remember: If it seems like they might need more than just your support—if they seem at risk of harming themselves or others—seek out professional help immediately. Don't hesitate to ask them directly if they're struggling with low self-esteem—it's better to err on the side of caution by asking rather than assuming everything is fine because they don't show outward signs of distress. And above all else: Remember that there's nothing wrong with loving yourself!


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"Difference Between Self Love and Narcissism." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 27 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-self-love-and-narcissism-539>.

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