When I hear someone mention the word Narcissism (or Snobbish), I get super excited. People are getting ready to talk about their values and to judge each other, which is great because now I have a good reason to tell them what I think about that topic:
How Does A Narcissist Looks Like
Imagine the following situation: I’m standing on a balcony speaking with someone, and their friend approaches both of us. They grab a cigarette from the hands of my chatting partner, screaming, “You are killing yourself, stop!” and throws the cigarette downstairs. As I see this, my reaction is I try to grab their beer and say, “I will save you! Let me throw this beer away for you from the balcony.” At this point, I met with hostility, physical force, and accusations saying that I should not touch their beer.
I laugh, but this shows a great point about Narcissism. Specifically, if we want to take a superior moral position about war, veganism, using fur, not drinking, not doing drugs, and so on, we should do EVERYTHING as correctly as possible. Essentially, we need to become a Buddhist monk who shaves their heads, renounce sex, give away all their possessions, and go live in the temples. If we don’t do it, we are narcissists about something in our lives. So why should we listen to someone who tells us to do one thing right, while they are doing a bunch of things wrong?
I mean, living in modern society, we are very narcissistic. We have big egos, which we show in things like buying more than we need (materialism), which we are all guilty of to some extent, which most of the time, destroys our planet for the sake of our short-lived pleasure. I even heard someone saying that while living in a house or wearing cloth, these things came from somewhere, nearly at the cost of destroying a piece of Earth.
One Sentence Solution To Narcissism
We can’t kill an inner narcissist living in a current society without going into such a sort of isolation. However, we can try to do our best to do “what right” and always push that limit, progressively moving towards a better world for everyone. If we do that, I think it is fair to say that we are doing as much as possible in not being a narcissist.
Narcissism & Happiness
As I wrote in my book, one of the biggest criticisms of seeking happiness in our lives is that we become Narcissistic. I see these statements two-fold. On one side, people accuse happy people of looking at pleasure alone, disregarding others’ happiness, which is egoistic and selfish to an extent. Also, extremely happy people are often seen as heartless, as they cannot relate to highly negative people because they are too freaking happy and optimistic about everything. Just imagine a negative person talking to a positive person. The negative person tells them about what’s wrong in their world, and a happy person tells them to forget it and look at the bright side. These two individuals have a disconnection, which can be perceived by a malicious person as narcissistic.
To an extent, these things are real, but it is still a million times better to be happy than unhappy. There is a positive and negative side to everything in our lives, as every action can be seen as positive and negative, depending on how you look at it. Still, it is not narcissistic to be happy because happiness spills over to other parts of our lives and the lives of other people. For example, satisfaction influences other people to feel satisfied and makes happy people more charitable, giving, and overall better human beings overall. It makes us make these “right decisions” that we were talking about before. We can learn to be happy for our own sake, but this work benefits everyone, not selfish and narcissistic.
Living With Labels
My ex used to tell me not to label things. She would say, don’t call this black and that white. Don’t say that there is a difference between men and women. Don’t get it right and left. Of course, this is not why she is my ex, but I could not do it! I am a psychologist and marketer by education and profession, and I am trained to look at people or groups of people and to say: you are from the UK, and you are from NL, you are an extrovert and you are an introvert, and you are optimistic, and you are negative. This is essentially my job, this is how I make my living, and honestly, it works! Of course, there is always a range, but even in that range, there are labels.
Still, from time to time, I meet people who are very politically correct. There is no left and right them, no labels. I have a very hard time talking to them, besides small talk. I especially have this problem with people from the US. They say that there is no polarity, or at least there should not be one, so they can get upset if I suggest that there is. This is ironic since there are so many big differences in that country.
So, I try not to judge. In this context, a judgment is to say someone is good or bad because of their values, ideas, or behavior. I am also vegan. I don’t smoke, take drugs, drink coffee, and so on and so force. If I judged people based on these criteria, I would not have any friends, and I would have to be willing to be judged based on the same standards by people who are often even more extreme than me. I mean, I still believe that there are better (healthier, wealthier, happier, …) ways of living. But, indeed, if you want to be negative, eat meat, or cause damage in any other way, go ahead! Does it make me a narcissist? I hope not. I want to change the world for the better. Still, I will do it by leading with an example and showing people the benefits of specific actions, not condemning them for their actions, without an argument or how they should live their lives better instead.