Is There Such A Thing As Healthy Narcissism?

Healthy narcissism seems a bit odd to many people. Narcissists are supposed to have huge egos, want to be the center of attention, crave praise and adoration, can be very abusive and are generally a nightmare to live with.

Yes, malignant narcissists are indeed like this. They can seem to have buckets of self-confidence, a high self esteem, make decisions with little or no fear, can take risks and are charismatic enough that they can even get others to do things for them.

This second list of things seems like a great set of characteristics for a leader. And nowadays, these things are highly valued in our society. The problems start when a narcissist tricks his way into a position of power and then his true nature becomes obvious. Things are done for his own gain, to the detriment of everyone else.

Perhaps someone decided that the leadership characteristics are truly desirable, but it's possible to have a healthy dose of them. And they called it healthy narcissism.

Ok, maybe that's a little facetious, but to say that pathological narcissism is just too much healthy narcissism is to misunderstand both conditions.


Are we all narcissistic?

We all like to be complimented, to feel good about ourselves and to have those around us acknowledge every now and then that they like us for who we are. It gives our self-esteem a little boost and often gives us the energy to continue in our lives a little lighter and a little happier.

It's often noted that those with high self esteem and self confidence are considered to be happier and more successful in various aspects of their lives.

The Narcissistic Personality Inventory is used to measure narcissistic traits in people. It is not, however, a diagnostic tool for narcissistic personality disorder.


Many psychologists agree that children go through a narcissistic phase, where life is all about them, their own needs and wants, where they want to influence the world around them and they seek instant gratification.

Compliments and praise, as well as criticism, from their parents help them to establish a healthy sense of self. Too much criticism, or too much praise, can create a flawed sense of self.

Around the age of 8, they are much more aware of the difference between self and other and the sense of self continues to mature based on this awareness.


Later on

This healthy narcissism allows the adolescent to have a healthy self-esteem, where they are aware of their own self-worth and believe they deserve respect. This allows them to navigate these difficult years to become adults that can adapt to the normal ups and downs in relationships and in life.

They are self sufficient and at the same time, comfortable in intimate relationships. They have enough 'self-love' to feel equal in relationships and to be able to love others.


Taking care of yourself?

Most people will consider being careful with your diet, doing regular exercise, paying attention to your appearance, setting realistic goals, and being kind to yourself and others as a good way to live.

Whether you call it taking care of yourself or healthy narcissism, the results are pretty much the same.


Narcissistic personality disorder

This healthy aspect in stark contrast to the emotional vampires who viciously exploit others for their personal gain through their narcissistic behaviors...

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