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Love's Liberation: The Science of Whole Self-Love

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By Katy Sine

Self-love is a prevalent topic in philosophical and academic literature, as well as contemporary culture. Some view self-love as a beneficial and necessary component to self-actualization, well-being, and loving others. However, many in the scientific community associate self-love with narcissism and selfishness. This paper advances a theoretical argument towards a healthy form of self-love. To better understand the relationship between self-love and narcissism, we also developed a measure of unconditional, non-narcissistic, self-love, called “The Whole Self Love Scale.” Whole self-love creates an integration from inside out, an important nuance that distinguishes it from other highly correlated positive self-constructs. The Whole Self-Love Scale showed a high degree of convergent validity when measured against similar constructs and a very high degree of divergent validity in relationship to narcissism and contingencies. Furthermore, whole self-love was highly correlated with measures of satisfaction with life and positive affect. Collectively, this evidence suggests that whole self-love is an important element of subjective well-being and should not be considered a form of narcissism.

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