How can I love others if I cannot love myself? I view others either as valuable, having the ability to supply me with self-esteem through praise and attention (sometimes even negative attention); otherwise, they are useless. Their attention proves to me that I exist.
In Islam, theoretically, our great love of Allah motivates us to follow his commands and reach Paradise. However, Allah does not praise us or give us immediate feedback for following His commands; therefore, the narcissistic supply for my self-esteem is lacking when I try to follow Islam and I feel depressed/unmotivated as a result.
How am I supposed to love Allah? I’ve tried so hard, I’ve looked up His 99 attributes and studied the religion but apparently love is a foreign concept to me. How am I supposed to submit myself wholeheartedly to the religion of Islam when my very personality does not know how to love? I hate my narcissism and want to get rid of it so I can truly love others, and especially Allah. I hate being constantly worried about how others view me, and the fact that I am truly a FAKE disturbs me deeply. How can Islam help me overcome my narcissism so I can find my true self and true love?
In this counseling answer:
“True submission to Allah can only be achieved when you are aware of your inner essence, yourself as soul and a spiritual being living on this earth. Once you achieve this level of awareness, you will naturally seek to stay connected with Allah. This is natural. This is also our natural and pure state of being.”
As-Salam `Alaykum Brother,
I can truly feel your loneliness and your pain. You are likely also very critical of yourself. The core issue for someone who suffers from narcissism is that constant feeling that “I am not good enough”.
It is true that our personalities are shaped by what we experience in the environments that we grow up in. However, personality is not “fixed”, and once the wound of narcissism is healed, you can share yourself with others and give and receive genuine love with other human beings.
Once you genuinely feel “good enough”, you will no longer be dependent on outside sources of validation. Constant reassurance and praise from others is one form of validation. It is on the inside that you will have the “good enough” feeling, and you will no longer worry about what other people think about you.
This confidence on the inside forms over time with the conscious effort to re-program the constant critical voice in your own mind and learn to change your thoughts and your thought process. Combine this with some experience of being unconditionally accepted by loving peers, and your inside self will change. Once this change has occurred, you will be a different person, and your personality will change. You will not feel so alone. You will be able to form genuine connections with other people and sustain them.
Self-esteem is not the same as self-love. To esteem one’s own self isn’t always a good thing. To be connected with your own soul is the answer. This is the beginning of true love. Becoming consciously aware of yourself as the soul being that you eternally are is the beginning of being consciously aware of your connection to Allah.
Check out this counseling video:
Once you reach this state of conscious awareness, everything is beautiful. You are happy when you are not focused on yourself, but rather when your attention is on the beauty of Allah. The appreciation for Allah’s beautiful creation will swell in your heart and create a diving inspiration overflowing with passion for life and love for all creation. This is pure love.
We all struggle with narcissism until we achieve this state of consciousness. Most of us, including myself, don’t sustain this state of consciousness at all times. But the moments that we do can wash away years of programming that has been affecting us negatively and preventing us from experiencing the joy that Allah put into our souls from the beginning of our creation.
True submission to Allah can only be achieved when you are aware of your inner essence, yourself as soul and a spiritual being living on this earth. Once you achieve this level of awareness, you will naturally seek to stay connected with Allah. This is natural. This is also our natural and pure state of being. In this state of being, your own will is naturally aligned with the will of Allah. This is true submission to Allah.
Continue to read the 99 names of Allah. You will absorb into your conscious awareness how Allah creates, protects, and sustains your soul. You will become aware of how your soul lives in a state of bliss when it is connected to Allah. Then you will feel genuine love. When you achieve this state of being, you will have the Love of Allah, and you will “selflessly” be inspired to express that love to all human beings. It is natural. There is nothing “special” about people who experience life at this level. We will all get to this place eventually. Let go of the struggle, and your path will be made easier and you will not suffer so much.
I pray my words have provided you with comfort. One day at a time.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.