Advertisement

How does healthy self-esteem differ from narcissism?

Paul  Hokemeyer, PhD
Marriage & Family Therapy

Narcissism differs from healthy self-esteem in the following three ways:

  1. Healthy self-esteem draws us closer to others and ourselves while narcissism keeps us separate and alone.
  2. Healthy self-esteem is based on an honest and accurate appraisal of our strengths and weaknesses while narcissism is based on distortions and false perceptions.
  3. Healthy self-esteem makes us feel good about ourselves and the world in which we live. Narcissism makes us brittle, bitter and unattractive.

While it’s easy to see the difference between narcissism and self-esteem in others, it’s frequently difficult to see it in our selves. The true test is how you feel about yourself and the world. If you feel less then and angry, then you’re skewing on the side of narcissism. If you feel grateful for your life and enjoy stretches of wonder and serenity then you’re possessed of a healthy measure of self-esteem.

Continue Learning about Emotional Health

Should You Say “Yes” to Happy Hour?
Should You Say “Yes” to Happy Hour?
A glass of wine and good conversation can ease your tension after a long day. But if you’re undecided about joining friends for happy hour, consider t...
Read More
What is emotional contagion?
Dr. Marsha LucasDr. Marsha Lucas
Hook people up to some electrodes designed to measure their facial responses, then subliminally ...
More Answers
Loneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking Facts
Loneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking FactsLoneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking FactsLoneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking FactsLoneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking Facts
About 42.6 million US adults over age 45 report chronic loneliness, but younger people may also be at risk.
Start Slideshow
What Is the Importance of Spending Time with Myself?
What Is the Importance of Spending Time with Myself?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.