In defence of narcissism

(I just spent a few minutes distraught over the spelling of the word “defence.”  I actually like the look of “defense” better.  But defense is the American way, and defence is the British and Canadian way.  So I guess I’ll have to stick with that.)

I’m a self-identified narcissist.  I wasn’t always.  No one has actually ever outright told me that I was a narcissist.  A few may have strongly implied it.  My friend asked me why I thought I was narcissistic and I asked “Would a non-narcissistic person post daily selfies of herself?”  Well, would they?  I’d like to know.  It’s more something I joke about than something I’m actually concerned about.  Being too narcissistic is definitely the least of my worries.  It’s not even on my list of worries really.  I use the hashtags #narcissist and #vanity on Instagram whenever I post photos of myself.  I used to actually hate selfies.  Like, really hate them.  I thought they were something that only extremely self-absorbed, narcissistic individuals did.  And then I realized that I am a self-absorbed, narcissistic individual.  And I embraced it full on.

Throughout my life, I’ve always seen things about “learning to love yourself” and “being happy with who you are.”  It’s kind of sad that these are messages that have to be repeated over and over again to such a strong degree, because it implies that a lot of people don’t love themselves and aren’t happy with who they are.  And that’s really sad.  Every person in the world has some degree of insecurity about themselves.  No one is perfect.  I’ll bet even Beyonce has moments when she doesn’t feel absolutely flawless, as shocking as that may sound.  Even the richest and most powerful people in the world must have moments where they wish at least one little thing about them was different.

I feel like the whole idea of loving yourself is embraced by society, but only up to a certain point.  As if you should love yourself, but not love yourself too much.  Because then you’re just seen as selfish and self absorbed.  I don’t mean you should only and always put yourself first and say to hell with everyone else, but you are important.  I don’t think I’ve always been narcissistic.  As I child, I don’t think I was.  I often joke about hating myself and use self deprecating humour whenever I have the chance.  But in order to really pull off self deprecating humour, and to have the ability to laugh at yourself, I think you need and possess a certain degree of self confidence and security.  Otherwise it’s less humorous and more depressing.  I don’t like to boast about my accomplishments and achievements the way some people do.  Maybe I would, if I’d accomplished more in my life.  I also don’t need to post daily selfies.  It’s just something that I do.

I’ve also seen a lot of articles about “learning to do things alone” and “making time for yourself.”  It seems odd to me that these are things that people need to learn how to do.  I’ve always done things by myself and thought nothing of it.  It took a while for me to realize that not everyone feels secure doing things on their own, especially when they are so used to having someone always be there.  Going to a concert alone seems like such a foreign concept to some people.  Like they wouldn’t be caught dead doing so and to do so would somehow be pathetic.  But why?  Why do we feel the need to have someone accompany us to all things all the time?  I’ve been to concerts and other various events by myself and had a great time.  Some people would hate the idea of being alone on a Friday or Saturday night, but sometimes it’s nice to have a night off to yourself to just relax and do whatever you feel like doing or not doing.

One of the main reasons why it’s important to be comfortable with yourself and who you are and make yourself a priority is because you’re stuck with yourself.  Your relationship with yourself is the most secure one in your life.  You can’t take a break from yourself.  You can’t take a night off from yourself.  You are always there.  You are always you.  How awful would life be if you were stuck with a person you didn’t like 24/7?  It would be truly miserable.  Loving and appreciating yourself for who you are, despite your flaws, is essential if you want to get through life and not be unhappy.  This doesn’t mean you have to take selfies, or love the way you look, or shun everyone else.  But as long as whatever you’re doing that makes you happy isn’t hurting anyone, then I say go for it.

I found myself wondering the other day if a person could go to rehab for narcissistic personality.  But I wouldn’t want to go for a cure, I’d just want to go because rehab always sounds fabulous, at least when rich celebrities do it.  Maybe I’m not actually a narcissist.  Do truly narcissistic people even realize that they’re narcissists?  Sometimes you need to be a little self-absorbed, especially if you have health concerns or legitimate reasons that you need to take extra care of yourself.  I think that it’s possible to be narcissistic in a good way, as long as your narcissism isn’t having a negative impact on the people around you, and as long as you are still capable of extending love to others, as well as yourself.

I do realize that today’s society is filled with selfish people and if certain individuals were to think of others instead of themselves for a change, that would do some good.  But in contrast, I also believe there are many people who neglect themselves and don’t put enough focus on embracing who they are.  I think it’s important to strive to achieve a healthy balance of valuing yourself and valuing other people.

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Because this wouldn’t be a post about narcissism if I didn’t include a selfie

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6 thoughts on “In defence of narcissism

  1. Interesting points. Though I have to say, healthy self-love is a lot different than narcissism. Narcissism as a personality trait is on the same “dark triad” spectrum as psychopathy and Machiavellianism. Narcissism usually indicates an obsession with oneself to the point of lacking empathy for others, problems in relationships, hypersensitivity, the inability to view the world from another point of view and is seen as a manipulative personality trait – nothing inherently ‘good’ in being narcissistic.
    Maybe I’m just being pedantic, but I think strong self-love is a better definition of what you’re talking about here. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a great sense of self, and loving yourself, but narcissism is a whole other ballgame (and not a fun one).
    Signed,
    – The child of someone with narcissistic personality disorder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s true. I guess it’s more of a defence of the idea that some would consider me a narcissist. I agree, I’m pretty much mostly talking about self-love here as opposed to narcissism. When a person is narcissistic to the point of psychopathy and has an inability to empathize with others or even feel remorse for treating people badly, there is no good defence for that type of behaviour. Thank you for sharing these points, and I’m sorry you had to grow up with someone who had that personality disorder.

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  3. Oh definitely! People call others a narcissist all the time without actually meaning the full-on psychotic type. I do think narcissism is bad, and self-love is good. Anything that promotes self-love is fine by me 🙂 Interesting read and you make a lot of good points!

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    • Thanks! Yeah, I think it’s a bit like when people say they’re depressed, when they’re just sad or upset and don’t really know what actual depression is like. I think it’s mostly that complete disregard for other people that separates narcissists from those who just love themselves a lot.

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