Monday, February 8, 2010

Center

Narcissism (nar-cis-sism) n.
1. Excessive love or admiration of oneself.
2. A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.

The human condition is such that we are all, at some point in our lives, and to some degree, narcissistic. It's just inevitable. Toddlers are a prime example of narcissism. The world, at least according to them, revolves solely around them. They are the center of everything, at least in their own minds.

Most people are narcissistic at least in some facet of their lives all the time. Each of us is good at something, and we know it. We pride ourselves on it. We puff ourselves up just a bit. Even people who will insist that they aren't good at anything have some kind of one-upmanship on others, even if it is solely for the purpose of attracting attention. They can elicit sympathy from others, make others feel sorry for them. That, really and truly, is narcissism at work.

The thing is, while you might believe that you are the center of the universe, the only universe you are really ever the center of is your own. No one else's life revolves around you. And there is no reason to ever believe that it should. Theirs inevitably rotates on a different axis from yours.

It amazes me that there are so many people in this world who are wholly incapable of accepting this reality. Who cannot seem to realize that what they want might not ever be what people want to give them or do for them. Who can't see that it really isn't all about them.

A few days back, having a deeply philosophical (and alcohol-assisted) discussion about karma with some friends, I realized that good karma and narcissism have a hard time co-existing. They can't do so because it is virtually impossible to allow good things to happen to you when you are so wrapped up in expecting them to. That maybe it's better to stop believing that you are entitled to anything and start working towards a goal. Stop worrying about yourself and focus that energy into helping others. Rather than waiting for the cycle to turn, turn it yourself. And the only way to do that is to stop thinking that it's all about you.

Because it hardly ever is.

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