Everywhere I look it seems that narcissism, or excessive self-love, is marked by bloated confidence, vanity, materialism, and a lack of consideration for others. These narcissistic personality traits have become so pervasive in American culture that they seem to be transforming this nation into a bunch of egomaniacs.
Where the heck did it begin?
Or with the “everyone’s a winner?”
Have we pumped up the egos of our kids too much?
Have we put too much emphasis on beauty, plastic surgery, thinness, making everyone feel oh so good about themselves?
We are bombarded with statements to love ourselves, put ourselves first, be good to ourselves–so, have we as a nation become so good to ourselves that we forget others?
Have we forgotten where we came from?
I remember the sacrifices of my parents–my dad working 20 hours a day to put food on the table. I did not have a mother who took me to dance classes, baseball, attended my band or orchestra concerts, listened to my piano music, had birthday parties, or came to my field trips–but she was there, cleaning, cooking and caring for the five of us the best she could.
These days, we take our kids to art classes, music, band, orchestra, dance, baseball, school trips, field trips, buy them phones, computers, nice clothes and home cooked meals and willingly forgo our own needs and wants.
But, it isn’t enough–just once it would be nice if those very kids we raised with so much, when we went with so little would just say two little words–Thank you.
Instead–it seems that if we don’t fix their personal lives, send a bit more cash, or agree with whatever they feel that day–we are worthless and unnecessary. We are superfluous to them–and an easy discard.
I mean having a basic sense of self-worth is a good thing. But when those feelings cross over into narcissism, it becomes toxic for other people, for the society, and for the individual in the long run.
Yes, we have healthy competition in the world, and much of that is good– however, narcissism isn’t going to help you succeed. Narcissists aren’t any more successful than anybody else. Narcissism helps you succeed in the short-term—it’s great for trying to win a role in a play, or a spot on American Idol—but in most professions and in the long run, nobody likes a jerk and most narcissists end up being jerks.
When things are going well, and they are making big bucks or are immensely popular in their world, narcissists do pretty well, but when things are not going well, loss of job or other personal strife, they don’t fare as well–they want someone to fix them. The thing is–the repairs have to come from within and maybe, just maybe an extra dose of compassion by the narcissistic person to others might just enable others to feel empathy towards lending them an ear or a helping hand.
Maybe if we could all get a mulligan–we could go back to the old values where we worked hard, didn’t get what we wanted all the time, respected our parents, revered our elderly, and kept our faces on Jesus….maybe this world would be a lot better place.