Individualism: Self-love or Selfish love?
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We all have heard the terms such as individualism, feminism, westernism and so on. But many-a-times we have a wrong notion of such concepts as we don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the same. Through this article let us try to understand one such concept, individualism, in a better way.
What is Individualism?
Individualism means complete independence to make one’s own decisions and being self-reliant (i.e., dependent on one’s own self). You are unique is what is meant by Individualism. It is basically prioritizing yourself over others. Individualism is all about clarity and control over your own thoughts and decisions.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary,
Individualism is a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount.
Even Rig Veda has references to individualism stating that all the things, the entire world and even the Gods are for the sake of Self, i.e., for the individual and he/she has to decide his/her own path.
Individualism can have different meanings when considered with respect to the society (where it means your interests outweigh the interests of society), politics and economy (where it implies the concept of laissez faire, i.e., having a capitalist economy and non-interference of the government), etc.
Individualism and Self-love
Self-love refers to love for one’s own self. It is appreciation for oneself regardless of the shortcomings. Self-love implies accepting yourself the way you are and loving yourself.
Now that we know the exact meaning of both individualism and self-love, we can comprehend that both do not imply the same thing. Individualism is independence and self-reliance, whereas self-love is just the art of loving yourself. A person who practices individualism does not necessarily mean he would love himself and vice-versa.
But it can also be true that a person who believes in Individualism is a self-loving person. It is a very subjective thing and varies from person to person.
In general, if we try to understand both the concepts, we can see that these two are different.
Is Individualism Selfish love?
Selfishness is not being considerate of the feelings of others and only caring about yourself. Individualism is when one does not prefer the interference of the society when he/she takes decision, which is not being selfish. It is completely a person’s choice to consider other people’s opinions while making a decision for oneself.
Individualism can many-a-times be confused as selfishness or selfish love for oneself. There is indeed a fine line between the two. Individualism, as we have seen is prioritizing yourself and your thoughts over others but it does not and should not be associated with being a selfish person and only seeking one’s own advantage or well-being.
It is just that we are giving importance to an individual and his/her individuality which should never be considered as being selfish.
Thus, it can be concluded that Individualism is neither purely self-love or selfish love. Many-a-times these concepts can be seen as overlapping each other but we shouldn’t consider individualism as self-love or selfish love per se.