It’s okay to be a LITTLE narcissistic
The word “narcissist” originates from ancient Greek mythology which about an exceptionally fine-looking demigod, Narcissus, whose mother was warned that he would only live a long life if he never knew himself, a prophecy fulfilled when he would see his own reflection, fall in love with it, and waste away. The first thing that the story of Narcissus teaches us is to beware the trap of vanity or self-adoration. Basically, don’t go around thinking you’re all that. But what the myths and stories miss is that he did not fall in love with his own reflection because it was beautiful, but because it was his. And there’s the famous saying by Oscar Wilde that goes “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”
While the myths and scientific researchers view narcissism at its core as a defect in the development of a healthy self, maybe you should feel a little flattered when someone calls you a little narcissistic. I’m not trying to debunk years of research and observation but merely putting forth another side of the coin people refuse to see.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m as cautious of arrogant, self-involved people as the next person. And some people with narcissistic personality disorder (around 1% of people around the world), can be dangerously self-absorbed — ruthlessly manipulative, shockingly entitled, and vexingly insensitive. But the truth is that although narcissists may be deluded, they can benefit from their inflated self-image and desire for others to recognize their superiority. We think we dislike them, but research shows we actually tend to judge them as more confident, intelligent and attractive than other people. This drive to feel special — can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on how much we cling to our need to stand out from the rest. And just because some people take it too far doesn’t mean we can’t all benefit from seeing ourselves as slightly better than we actually are.
I myself identify as a narcissist, or as my friends like to label, an ‘undercover narcissist’. I can manipulate, I am extremely caring of my own importance, and my primary functions in life are precisely to express my importance to other people and to feel special and needed. I genuinely believe I’m right, and that the way I do things is the most efficient and the best way. I am convinced that I pursue life in an extremely efficient and amazing way, and I frequently tip toe the line of receiving the best of both worlds in all parts of life. I love doing things outside of the status quo because my way is definitely the best way. So, what can we do about this? Are we doomed to be “evil people” that society wants to throw into the garbage bin? Am I literally a non-human being? Someone who is below trash? Unworthy of anything? And even if given the opportunity, squanders it at every second? Why is there so much hate towards the delightfully narcissistic people?
However, if you look closely, none of them suggest that I’m evil or bad. In fact, every one of those things can be turned in such a way to have a positive impact on my life.
I CAN MANIPULATE
This means that in times of difficulty, I can take charge and lead everyone to a better place. If it is better to stay on the low and change things subtly, I will take that path instead. I can manipulate bad people into good people. This entire article is me trying to un-do the damage that a lot of you have suffered throughout your lives, and manipulate the way you think to something better.
I AM IMPORTANT AND NEED TO SHOW MY IMPORTANCE
The only way I can be important in a positive way to other people is to become a good person. By helping, caring and looking out for others (sometimes at my own expense, and at the cost of my image), I know I have done the right thing. These kinds of things will shine through and people will see you as trustworthy and reliable. I use the positive feedback I get from my own logic system (to keep myself in check that I’m doing the right thing) and from other people as a sign that I’m being a good person and doing the right thing for myself and others. I care so much about what other people think about me, because I care about them! And I care that I’m constantly improving and becoming a better version of myself so that people can see that in me.
I AM ALWAYS RIGHT AND DOING THINGS
THE RIGHT WAY
That means that every action I take has been extremely well thought through. Every argument I enter in, if I am to convince the other person of my point of view, my points must be clear and logical. I cannot be irrationally emotional. I must appeal and empathize to the way others think in order to change their thinking. I am malleable and can easily change my thoughts to fit the “right way”. If I am wrong, I must instantly accept defeat and quickly improve myself to move onto something better – this way I minimize the pain and loathing I feel from having made mistakes, and immediately move to the stage of recovery and improvement.
FEELING A LITTLE SPECIAL MAY EXTEND YOUR LIFE
Not surprising when you think that people who generally feel great about themselves tend to practice better self-care too, such as exercising and eating well. But healthy narcissism appears to help you in the fierce competition to get that job, win a project or secure a promotion. No one likes an egocentric big-head but if, as they say, “you are your own brand”, perhaps in this modern world it pays to be a bit narcissistic.
So far these are the things I drew out of the things I mentioned above. But literally, you can give me nearly any traditional narcissistic trait, and I can show you how that can be a positive thing that you want to be, instead of loathe to become.
And if next time somebody calls you a narcissist, just laugh. And get on with your narcissistic self.
WORDS: KUSUM KALIKOTE