Thoughts on a Rainy Day: Ego and Narcissism
Well, one good thing that came out from COVID is the fact that your girl really went in and worked on herself. Out of all the things that I have pondered about, today I’d like to babble about ego and narcissism.
Please keep in mind that I am no professional. I am simply another person fumbling through life who have thoughts and find that it is much easier to organize when it is written down on a piece of paper––or in this case, typed out for the whole world to see. Wait, now that I think about it, isn’t this some form of narcissism as well…
Fear of being a narcissist
In the past, perhaps it was because of the bad rep when it comes to narcissism from the news outlet or articles that we see online, or perhaps it could just be the prejudice from the people around me. But for some reason, I was always very careful–and maybe even a little fearful–around the word “narcissist”.
I would always fight so hard to avoid being called a narcissist all my life. Not that anyone has ever called me one or even identified me as close to one. But then again, I always felt like I could never be 100% me. I would be fearful of my own thoughts, when I talked to a new friend and there is a voice deep down in me where it whispers, you are so much better than this person. Why are you hanging out with him if his achievements are still below yours? Always, I would hurry to shush and temper the thoughts down and try to forget about it.
For how much I like to identify myself as a curious person, it is really surprising now to look back and realized that I have never–not even once–asked myself, why is it that I am so fearful of these thoughts that I had about thinking that I am better others? Why am I so against identifying myself as a narcissist, if I am that at all? Why is my first response to the word “narcissist” is to reject it with all my might?
I didn’t know then, I still don’t know now.
Ego is in everyone, so is narcissism
I don’t quite remember where I heard or read this phrase. Perhaps from a book or a random Ted Talk. But this one sentence liberated me and totally shifted the way I perceive myself and the people around me. Logically thinking, the fact that everyone has an ego makes sense, right? The difference is the amount of ego that one has.
Too much ego brings about narcissism, which is unhealthy. However, healthy narcissism is part of being human. It is why so many of us have an Instagram account where we take selfies to upload for the world to see. If there is no ego, there will also be no such thing as self-love, self-esteem, and self-appreciation. Through self-love, we then understand that there are things that we don’t want to put up with, such as abuse or bully.
When I realized how everyone also has a certain level of narcissism, it liberated me from my fear of identifying myself as a narcissist. They say having a choice is good, but sometimes it could also be crippling. Knowing that there is no choice in deciding if you’re a narcissist or not because everyone is has a certain level of narcissism in them is freeing.
Being judgemental is also another thing that I struggled with. For a long time, even now still. Like many, I judge people through the first impression, through how they act, how they dress, the work that they do, the amount of wealth and savings they have, everything. Everything a person does is being constantly judged. I am sure other people judge my action, my appearance, and the things I do too. This is all natural because it is part of evolution. Our skill of judgement is–at times–the only thing that keeps us from being six feet under.
Which is why we see plenty of seminar and books on how to read people better, how to know if someone is lying to you, and so on and so forth.
While I have never seen any errors in living life this way, recently I have realized that at times, that “judgement skills” that I put so much trust in can be wrong and could lead me to be blind to other possibilities because I am so focused and headstrong in what I believe to be true. My flash judgement of a person being a blue-collar worker as someone who is not motivated could seem like the only truth to me because of the amount of trust I put in myself and my skill of judgement, but as we understand, that is not always the case. There surely are variables in life that lead a person to be where they are today, be it by society’s standards successful or not successful. But people have stories, and by instantly judging them from the get-go, I cloud my senses of what is actually true by trusting in what I think is true.
Co-existing with ego
This is something that I am still working on, probably will be for a while. But how I co-exist with my ego is to accept it and be mindful of it when I feel particularly egoistic. At times, I let it all out and inflate my sense of self and confidence. Other times, I would gently coax myself to try to see the other side of the coin. To try to put me in the other person’s shoes as to why they are the way they are.
I have just started doing this exercise recently, perhaps in the past few months. And you’d be surprised at how much your view of the world and people can change for the better once you pepper some extra empathy seasoning on top. After all, everyone wants to believe that their actions are always for a reason and those reasons are always justifiable to them. From the eyes of an outsider, we might immediately judge them for it because it does not align with either our moral compass or our way of seeing the world, but we also have to keep in mind that reality is never that black and white. We as people are more similar to different shades of greys. Never wholly bad or good.
“Whenever we do something wrong we rationalize how we didn’t mean for that outcome or that we really did it for a good reason. When other people do something wrong we never give them that same slack. They simply are wrong.
We judge ourselves by our intentions and everyone else by their actions.”