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6 shadow signs to look out for
It’s hard to scroll through social media these days without coming across endless streams of “love yourself first” and “put yourself at the top of the priority list” posts. Don’t get me wrong, loving yourself is essential. But there’s a subtle, yet important difference between self-love and loving yourself. That difference has everything to do with a mechanism of the ego called self-positivity.
If you’ve ever wondered if there’s more to this self-love thing beyond what is promised in new-age and self-help circles, keep reading.
In a nutshell, self-positivity describes our ego’s incessant tendency to see itself in a positive light. When self-love is pursued through this egoic mechanism, it becomes toxic.
Here are 6 toxic behaviors that often masquerade as self-love, and their corresponding thought-terminating cliches promoted in new-age and wellness circles.
1. Harming others or being disrespectful & rude under the guise of 'speaking your truth.' E.g. "If you don’t love me at my worst, then you don't deserve me at my best."
2. Avoiding or shutting down conflict under the guise of 'personal boundaries.' E.g. "If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all."
3. Invalidating your own or others' experiences under the guise of 'positivity.' E.g. "I'm only surrounding myself with positivity."
4. Engaging in unhealthy, irresponsible behaviors under the guise of 'self-care.' E.g. "I'm just doing what feels right for me."
5. Refusing to change behaviors or traits that are harming yourself and others. E.g. "I love myself no matter what."
6. Prioritizing own needs, desires, and interests over the well-being of others. E.g. "I'm putting myself first no matter what."
These are behaviors we've probably all encountered at some point, maybe even in ourselves. But recognizing them is the first step toward genuine self-growth and well-being. That first step starts with contacting, understanding, and working with the shadow side of self-positivity.
The good news about self-positivity is that it’s a bias. The bad news about self-positivity is that it’s a bias. This is because our biases are not inherently good or bad; they are mechanisms of survival. It’s only our lack of awareness of it, when our ego hijacks our biases and distorts our worldview.
Is there such a thing as too much self-love? Short answer: yes. Long answer—it depends.
In my latest blog post, “The Spiritual Psychology of Self-love: the good, the bad, the ugly,” I delve into the “it depends” part and unpack the self-positivity bias, offering a grounded and refreshing way to look at self-love.
This post is a must-read for anyone who is craving a nuanced and practical perspective of this trendy, yet complex topic.
In a society grappling with collective trauma and hyper-individualism, we need a shift in perspective. Through this blog post, I demonstrate why self-love has contributed to our loneliness epidemic by turning self-love into a mere tool for survival. And let’s not forget the commercialization of self-love by the cult of self-help and wellness industries, which has only lead to more self-focus, more narcissism, and more social disconnection.
Join me on this journey to demystify the complexities of self-love and its impact on our individual and collective well-being—let’s explore and pave a new path forward.
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