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The (subtle) difference between self-esteem and narcissism

Sometimes, life has to be valued: at work, on a date, an interview, a conversation whose topic we do not dominate … Some would even say that it is inherent to the Mediterranean picaro character.

It is clear that for this we must have a certain self-esteem , that is, appreciation for oneself. But … where is the limit between having a good self-esteem and being a narcissist ? Is it really the problem of our current society?

The thin line between self-esteem and narcissism

In short, narcissism is self-esteem raised to the maximum power; the excessive admiration you feel for your physical appearance, qualities or gifts.

Self-centeredness, related to the foregoing (although it is not exactly the same ), is the paranoia of the narcissist; Such is the admiration that you feel for yourself that you believe yourself to be the center of all attention and concern of others.

These two psychological phenomena seem to describe what happens to many people, but for those who are not familiar with the subject it is good to highlight the differences between narcissism and self-esteem .

The difference between narcissism and self-esteem is that the first supposes the denial of the value of others, which are reduced to mere providers of attention and fame. Self-esteem, on the other hand, is what makes us feel good about ourselves as integrated beings in a society full of perfectly valid human beings.

But … does not the passage of time transform our self-esteem into narcissism through the use of new technologies?

The evolution of narcissism

Adolescence is a stage of revolution, among other things, hormonal, which leads us to have ups and downs of self-esteem. With luck, after this time, we will have managed to get out of it unharmed and with a level of regular self-esteem.

This set of perceptions, thoughts and valuations of ourselves will undoubtedly affect how we see the world around us.

According to some theories, we build our self-esteem based on the social acceptance of our peers . But there comes a time when someone’s ego, perhaps ours, is inflated exceedingly, and it stands out; he loves himself excessively and is superior to everything else.

Currently there are several articles that blame the technologies, or rather the misuse we make of them as direct narcissist manufacturers, but were not there narcissists before the internet?

The cult of the ego

The cult to ourselves, to the body or to the mind according to the time, has existed for some time.

Let us start with the narcissistic word that comes from the myth of Narcissus , existing both in Greek and Roman mythology. It speaks of a handsome young man who stole the heart of every woman and who, to anger who should not, ended up drowned in the water to be in love with his own reflection.

The problem exists, therefore, since antiquity; what have changed are the elements of the game. Has given us for the “selfies” , get many “likes”, have many photos and many friends, followers … Even those who write on this website, do we not enjoy proportionally to the times that our article is shared?

Probably all, in one way or another, we sometimes sin of having the ego primed . However, it is easier to see the straw in someone else’s eye.

In fact, the only thing we can blame on the Internet is that it has made it easier for us , and more universal. Now I can boast of having many friends without having to work or take care of those relationships, if anything a “I like” from time to time. I can teach others, my hundreds of “friends”, how happy I am with my life, my partner, my work, how handsome I am in nature (with mobile applications that correct, increase, decrease and clog, of course is). In short, it’s easy because I choose what to show.

The reality is that we live in a frenetic era of capitalism and liberal economy, where we confuse happiness with consumerism, and this is consuming us. Even so, the possibility of crossing the line of self-esteem to self-centeredness and narcissism existed before any social network. If not, ask  Donald Trump ; That is a good example of what it is to love yourself excessively.

The neuronal circuits of egocentrism

Internally, these small moments of pseudo-sympathy that gives us adore too much and make it known in networks, activate the brain’s reward center as well as sex, eating, generosity …

And, after all, what gives meaning to our existence, what moves and motivates us from the most biological and basic point of view is reward and pleasure . How we get it will continue to change: now it’s fashionable to pose in photos and filter my pasta dish, but maybe with luck, tomorrow, let’s try altruism and generosity as a brain reward mechanism.

We must take care of the “child” we carry inside, but that does not mean cramming it into sweets.

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