Updated: Apr 9, 2019
Confusing terms and understanding the difference is where you will find your answer. Sometimes when we get stronger in our self-esteem, then the people that are used to us feeling powerless become fearful, as that is how they have always known us to be.
The fear for those engaged in knowing us will begin, (most likely from lack of knowledge) to call us a narcissist. They are noticing a change. A positive one for you if you have now come to discover that you are grabbing onto and finding your inner new inner strength and purpose.
Self esteem starts to grow when we learn that we do not any longer need to be or want to be defined by someone else's perception of self. We stop choosing to generalize self with words that up until now we believed to be true, such as, "I suck. or I'm unworthy or even I can't do anything." These are convincing lies and will keep us in the box we have decided to live in until now.
If this describes you, then you should grab on to your new learned opinion of self and allow yourself to continue to explore who you are. Adjusting your own self image. Stopping the comparison to others. This is growth, evolution, not narcissism. Carry on. I doubt you will compromise your values towards others. A narcissist will look for ways to blame, and make others feel as if they were the reason for their issues.
I believe in balance. There are two sides to every life. One that is perfectly balanced with the other side. One helps the other as it represents our life in balance. The sides we sometimes term as "good and bad." The issues arise when there is more of one than the other. You find a coin on the sidewalk. Hold it in your hand. Do you notice it has two sides. It does and so it is with us. We should know that we then have a choice that begins to happen now. That choice is in which side we choose to spend more time developing and honoring. Let us hope you chose the good side of the coin. Developing good kind self talk is not narcissism it is healthy, and really if you think about the opinion you give to your own self, it may actually have been the last person you thought of ...Always. If your self esteem was lacking, you didn't have much regard for how you viewed self. So to come to a place of finding your goodness is not harmful to others, but is good for you and for those who know you. If you have good people that care about you, they will support your new vision of self and be happy for your discovery.
The paradox is if someone is non supportive, they may be not in approval and terming it narcissistic in order to hold you down where they actually like you. They are possibly the one with issues. They may enjoy making sure that you do not find your inner strength. You may recognize some of their talk..."You can't do that. You aren't able to hang out because you wouldn't fit in." They may be the one that is dysfunctional. When you start to recognize that they truly are not supportive, and are blaming or accusing, humiliating, belittling or manipulative, you may need to think about making some changes in your friendships or choosing how long you stay around someone that is finding joy in the power of keeping you down.
Embrace who you are. Never be afraid to discover this. Set some realistic expectations for yourself and grab hold of your accomplishments. Stop and take notice. Discover what people are saying that may have had some bearing on keeping you in bondage.
If you need some assistance finding your true self, I would be honored to help. Stand tall, discover your full potential. You have what you need. Let's walk forward. If you believe you can, you will. The past is over, try approving of yourself.