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Healthy Narcissism and Why You Need It

If you have lived a life where you have doubted your abilities or struggled with imposter syndrome, it is going to be difficult to state your worth (talk less of demanding it). Additionally, if you’re a woman, this might be even harder. Studies show that compared to their male counterparts women tend to underestimate their performance and self-promote less even when they know they have done well. Though there are several factors on both a societal and an individual level that contribute to low levels of confidence and self-assuredness, developing a healthy level of narcissism can allow you to become more comfortable with showing the world your value.

You have healthy narcissism when you act according to your own self-interest without malintent. This also means you display traits such as high self-esteem and positive self-image without bringing others down, and you take pride in your abilities as well as your accomplishments. Because narcissism falls on a spectrum, only a licensed health professional can discern if the narcissistic qualities you have are cause for clinical concern. However, healthy narcissism is essential if you intend to lead a life that reflects your care for and dedication to yourself. Author and cultural critic Bell Hooks even calls it the cornerstone of self-love.

Building up the courage to assert your worth requires dedicated practice. Your self-confidence journey will require you to lean into the discomfort of being assertive, so here are five things you can start doing that could help you build healthy narcissism and make the transition from knowing your value to declaring it:

  • Tell a friend about something you have been proud of lately.

Your positive affirmations are not just limited to your diary or your reflection in the mirror. You can affirm yourself in public settings too, and research shows that sharing your successes can improve your interpersonal relationships.

  • When someone compliments you, don’t deny it; simply say thank you.

Start getting comfortable with praise. Responding to compliments can feel tricky, but all that’s ever really needed is your gratitude.

  • Don’t cancel plans you have made in advance in order to accommodate someone else’s hasty scheduling.

Unless it is extremely important, you should not allow anyone to disrupt your routine.  Maintaining structure in your life is key to having a sense of control and showing up for your wants and needs. Have respect for your time and honor the commitments you have made to yourself.

  • Say “No” without being overly apologetic.

Do not feel bad for clearly communicating what you can and cannot do. You can replace “No, I’m sorry” with “No, but I hope you sort everything out.”

  • When someone tries to interrupt you in conversation, don’t keep quiet.

There is value in what you have to say. Dealing with interruptions can be challenging, but it is important to stand your ground and advocate for your thoughts.

Hopefully these help you build confidence in your public life, but make sure you maintain that growth in your personal life as well — it is called “Inside Then Out” for a reason. Keep on writing down affirmations, organizing your life, and digging deeper into who you are and who you can be. 

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