Narcissism is defined as someone having an erotic or excessive interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance. Most people would consider narcissism to be posting too many “selfies” or someone talking non-stop about themselves but there is much more to narcissism than that. Narcissism lies on a spectrum, and there are healthy and unhealthy sides of it. Healthy narcissism is often called autonomous narcissism, and drives the way we view ourselves and how we get through challenges. Individuals who lie more on the unhealthy side are often diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.
There are several qualities of narcissism, however, that everyone possesses, which are quite healthy and help us become productive and caring human beings.
Here are a few narcissistic traits that everyone possesses:
- Need for approval – this form of approval is driven by our need to feel loved, cared for, important, powerful, and in control. This is what helps us do our best in interviews, reach our goals, and manage relationships.
- Self-love – in loving ourselves, we take care of our health, appearance, and self-esteem. This often leads us to healthy relationships and keeps us safe, emotionally and physically.
- Our groups – essentially when we select a small group of friends or become part of a niche group (such as a group that loves rap music) we are essentially grouping those people as better, more interesting, more caring, etc. than other groups. If we didn’t believe this deep down, then humanity would not have sub-groups within cultures! This is the same reason why people enjoy wearing their university’s logo or buying a high school class ring – to show pride in one’s group.
- Confidence – having a healthy, balanced form of narcissism means that we believe in our ideas, stand up for ourselves, make choices that suit our needs while being respectful to others, and are aware of our strengths and weaknesses, as we realize that we are separate from others in our knowledge and capabilities.
Society has placed a more negative perception on what is means to be narcissistic – without a healthy balance of narcissism, we would not be able to take care of ourselves and progress forward. Challenges would not be overcome, and relationships would not thrive and develop. Healthy narcissism provides us with a sense of security about ourselves and gives us the ability to connect deeply with others. If we can shift our perspective on narcissism, we can change the way we speak about it and how we speak to others, creating a more united and understanding culture.
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