Cicero considered those who were sui amantes sine rivali (lovers of themselves without rivals) were doomed to end in failure – a theme adopted by
Francis Bacon in his condemnation of extreme self-lovers, who would burn down their own home, only to roast themselves an egg.
Self-love was first recognized in 1563 but was only later studied by philosophers
William James and
Erich Fromm, who studied emotional human behaviour, such as
self-esteem and self-worth. However, it was later defined in 1956 by
Erich Fromm, who proposed that loving oneself is different from being
arrogant, conceited or
egocentric, meaning that instead caring about oneself and taking responsibility for oneself.
Augustine – with his theology of evil as a mere distortion of the good – considered that the sin of pride was only a perversion of a normal, more modest degree of self-love.