The Philosophy of Self-Love and the Ego -- Why Self-Love is More Than Legitimate
Updated: 5 days ago
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Why Self-Prioritization Isn't Evil By Default
Even though many people do not like egotistical individuals, like those who are co workers, it is still plausible to claim that egotism is not morally evil and/or corrupt by itself. The reason is because we are all, or most, egotistical people, in terms of priority. This theory is known as psychological egoism. A quick example to prove that is by asking ourselves the following question: Would we prefer to be someone's minion, or have our own minions/henchmen to do our bidding?
Surely, the terms "minion" and "henchman" are very degrading, and very few people would actually call themselves somebody's minion, even if they are subordinate to them. It's because our self-esteem is usually far more respectable than to have that title attached to our identity, whether we are egotistical or modest by personality. In other words, the ego plays an important part in the way we respect ourselves.
Because many of us do have a certain level of self-respect, many or most of us have our own, positive aspect of ego that deter others from walking all over us and treating us like garbage. In other words, the ego is also a good self defense mechanism. Would you deem a self defense mechanism from potential abusers, as evil or as a bad thing? Negative. We must protect ourselves from psychological harm in order to retain our sanity and survive mentally.
Self-Love in a World That Sees Modesty as Virtue and Not a Barrier
Ironically, at the heart of egotism lies a hidden truth: It often stems from a perceived threat to our own self-importance. We might despise the egotistical person because they view themselves as more significant than us, but in reality, it's not their modesty we crave; it's their appreciation, their validation of our own egos, not their own. We might be jealous at them for their higher-than-average disregard towards social conventions. Unlike them, who love themselves enough, we might not seek the validation they already have inside of themselves.
We seek others to prioritize us because of voids associated with selfishness and altruism. It's far more comfortable to seek external validation and external emotional support, than facing someone who expresses genuine love for themselves – a love we might secretly wish they would direct towards us.
Human interaction is based on supply and demand. If you already love yourself to the extent that you don't really need to depend on external, social and emotional support, you might lose your value in any human connection. Humans cooperate to solve problems, to be tbhere for each other. In a sense, loving oneself is a "social liability" because with self love you can easily become a more self-reliant individual.
Modesty, on the other hand, allows people to nurture a void within them, intentionally or otherwise, in order to gain emotional support from others. And that support can be seen as a reason for many relationships with human beings. Love, in general, often occurs because of our imperfections. When you love yourself enough, in what I call, Rational Self Love, you give others less of a reason to offer you something you already nurtured within you. And people do not like feeling like "third wheels", in a sense that their presence in your life is less-than-necessary.
Nevertheless, it's safe to say we all possess a degree of ego, whether we choose to display it or not. Our own well-being matters, and only masochists enjoy feeling undermined or not worthy enough. We yearn to be loved and appreciated, just as we would love and appreciate others. So, what's wrong with a bit of healthy self-pride? Celebrating our achievements, recognizing our unique strengths – is that truly deserve of repulsion, by itself?
No. A person who truly supports you will not deter you from your own pride in your success. They will be there for you without making you feel ashamed for the fact that you love yourself. That's because your own growth will not threaten their own. Your growth and your love for your development won't intimidate them because they truly care for you, and want to be part of your life without them feeling a need "to put you in your place".
Remember: the opposite of love is fear, not hatred. Those who are intimidated/repulsed, by your feelings of love towards yourself, which are legitimate, are too vulnerable for their own good. Any relationship based on any type of goodwill must include some degree of vulnerability. And if you're too intimidated by the idea of being vulnerable, and merely at the presence of a self-loving man or woman, how can you be there for them with loyalty? After all, the aversion created by fear is triggered by intimidation, and intimidation stems from feelings of insecurities.
People don't like feeling insecure, so they might as well normalize their undesired vulnerabilities, by condemning those who truly love themselves, and even call them narcissists. Ironically, true narcissists don't really love themselves.
Those who genuinely admire self-expression, in both themselves and others pose no problem, as their insecurities do not stand in the way of healthy, goodwill-based relationships (from friendships to romantic relationships). But those repulsed by such innocent, non-malicious behaviors, might contain their own hidden desires for attention, which they fail to get. Ironically, they might criticize the very egotism they find unsettling, projecting their own discomfort onto others. At times it may even be done unconsciously.
This isn't to say they shouldn't receive their fair share of attention and appreciation. But to condemn someone for expressing self-love, while seeking validation for oneself at the same time, is hypocritical. In some cases, the desire to condemn one's egoism may be done in the name of another's own egoistic interests. Therefore, others appreciating humility as a virtue primarily because their lack of self-confidence, can easily normalize a culture where self-love is seen as condemnable, as "narcissism".
The solution for that in the first place is to solve your insecurities so you won't project them unto others. However, for that you need to recognize the fact you might be doing so. And you cannot solve this problem if you refuse to acknowledge its existence. Refuse to acknowledge it on a societal level and you will create a culture where being insecure by the honesty of self-love is the acceptable thing to feel, without doing anything about it from within.
And how can we expect to love ourselves if it's associated with social deviation? How can we be happy, if we do not love ourselves? Since modesty is prioritized over self-love, and since people in general prefer to conform to social norms, it's logically-fair to say that the norms are not designed in our genuine favor. No. If we're conforming to the norms at our own expense, and remain miserable, then there's something wrong with these unwritten rules of conduct.
Self-Love Without Shame
A truly altruistic person wouldn't be threatened by genuine self-love, especially when it doesn't harm others. The honest self-lover, in their own moments, would acknowledge the other person's lack of interest rather than resorting to labels like "snob" or "arrogant" (labels they might themselves might carry). Why? Because their self-love is a force of strength, a virtue that prevents them from becoming abusive energy vampires that crave for attention.
Self-love is a force for self-sufficency. Insulting others on purpose serves little reason when you don't feel compelled, due to a void within you, to make them feel bad.
The true altruist prioritizes others not from self-doubt, but from a genuine desire to minimize harm, regardless of the other person's level of self-absorption. What purpose, in their eyes, is there in shaming someone for simply expressing self-love? No. If they truly love them they will let them be themselves because letting people to be themselves is how love works: From genuine desire that has little to nothing to do with control and with the "industrialization" of their company in your life.
Those who genuinely strive to make a positive impact wouldn't mirror the negativity they wish to erase. Likewise, those who are genuinely interested in the reduction of egoism won't do it due to their own self-interest, AKA egoism. The only reason for such mirroring is the denial of the self being part of what is being condemned by said self.
Self-love can easily be expressed innocently, even naively, unaware of the social risk it might have in a society that normalized the preservation of insecurity and other weakness, like over-sensitivity and moral depravity, as virtues. Self-love doesn't have to equate to arrogance or superiority; it's simply acknowledging and appreciating one's own worth. One's own gratitude for being alive. One's own pride in their accomplishments.
We haven't fully grasped the concept that loving oneself doesn't have to contradict loving others. We can be both the giver and receiver of love, finding fulfillment in self-acceptance without depending external validation.
And that is really how relationships, even romantic, can be saved: When the vanity of self-love won't be seen as a sin but as a celebration and gratitude of being alive. And the need to be recognized for one's efforts may be justified not because of self-love but because of the efforts themselves being made in the name of others.
Those who choose a solitary path and thus practice the art of being alone, self-love becomes an essential component. In solitude, preserving one's mentality often requires a significant effort, which in turn can make you mentally stronger through its tolerance. It's a skill that's often underestimated, that demands self-acceptance as a foundation, and self-love helps a lot in making one's solitude a lot more bearable.
The article presents a crucial message: our experience of someone else's egotistical expressions shouldn't hurt our own ego, especially when their expression had no intention of hurting us in the first place. Sometimes they aren't there to hurt us with their joy of self. Sometimes they just express genuine happiness in themselves, for they do not necessarily see the self they celebrate, as something to put under masking and barrier of modesty.