Narcissism vs. Self-Love
We live in a culture steeped in selfishness. Narcissism is really about getting your needs met off of the backs and energy of other people. It is an issue starting when someone does not learn to get their needs met in healthy ways. It gets tough to discern due to seeing so many examples of people being self-serving or harming others to get their way.
For me LOVE is the difference. As many of us found out early on, you can get in great shape, have designer jeans, and frequent the salon and be completely miserable within. It is not about what others think of us or how we compare to them either because these feelings are rooted in inadequacy. We take care of ourselves or really “control” our outward appearances due to deep insecurities and fear that we will not fit in. What is at the deep heart of the issue is really a longing for feeling loved.
Many of us go in search of relationships believing that we will find love. Often we become disillusioned and confused when what we actually get is a struggle and added feelings of inadequacy and/or insecurity. I like to think of this position as being in a pool of water that feels a bit tainted. We struggle with changing our relationship patterns and even go from one disappointing relationship to the next.
If someone promised you there was a way out that involved healing and refuge would you take it? Imagine a bridge between the that tainted water into a clear, clean, crisp water that you desire. You just need to intentionally step out of the water and up onto the bridge. The place of safety and healing. This bridge symbolizes self-love–self-nurture. True feelings of love for yourself. We are talking deep love. There is no cheating, abusing, and hating allowed. You can’t tell yourself that you hate a part of your body and be living in this state. You can’t put yourself in compromising or unhealthy situations over and over again and be living in love for yourself.
The bridge is a place where you provide yourself mind, heart, body, and soul with your deepest needs of nurturing, kindness, compassion, empathy, etc. When you have a need of romance, you bring yourself flowers or draw yourself a bubble bath. You don’t get angry that someone else is failing to do this for you. You provide for your needs. You are responsible for your state. You know deep down when you are living in full love of yourself. These feelings of respect and nurture for yourself sets the stage for others to treat you similarly. It also fosters feelings of nurturing, compassion, empathy, and kindness for others. You feel more loving and more lovable. You ARE more loving and you ARE more lovable.
CREATIVITY and Self-Love
The practice of creativity is also found on the bridge. It is where many artists find themselves with a mirror looking at their truth. Unable to hide behind denial. Self-expression assists us with our authenticity. We learn things about ourselves. We dredge up our skeletons not always meaning to. Some of us through them back in the tainted pool, but as Clarissa Estés taught us, Skeleton Woman comes up to teach us a beautiful lesson and truth about our vulnerability and fear of being cast away. We learn about our depths and our shadows. Art can show us our shadows. We need not be afraid of the shadows if we are willing to embrace them as the fisherman embraced Skeleton Woman. We must learn to acknowledge the shadows and only then do we learn the true power of using light. As the painter uses the contrasts of shadows and lights depths emerge in their work. Those parts of ourselves that we use terms such as that we would like to erase, cut off, forget are exactly what makes us interesting and beautiful. Those shadow parts are the parts of us that need the most love. Just as Skeleton woman drank the tear of compassion of the fisherman which began her renewal, we too can provide that love to our most tender and hurt areas of our minds, bodies, hearts, and souls.