Exaggerated Feelings of Self Importance
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is defined as a syndrome in which there is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by EXAGGERATED FEELINGS OF SELF-IMPORTANCE, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others’ feelings. People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition different from self-confidence (a strong sense of self).
We all experience some level of narcissism in our lives. It’s a nearly unavoidable part of the human condition. You see the world through your eyes, through your experiences and what’s important to you. And that leads to exaggerated feelings of self-importance; the idea that your experiences and needs are more important than those of others. This also leads you to the belief that others care more than they do about what’s happening to you, what you look like, and what you’re doing. Unless an individual has developed a significant level of self-awareness and knowledge of the human condition, it’s nearly impossible to expect them to put the needs of others ahead of their own. After all, self-preservation is our most basic human instinct, and our society is abnormally obsessed with the achievement of power, success, and beauty. Caring about others more than ourselves requires the strength of character to go against our instincts and most of our peers. That’s a very difficult feat.
You want the truth? Can you handle the truth?
Very few people care about what you’re doing or what you look like. While people might like some of your Instagram photos and even make comments here and there, everyone has lives of their own. Depending on their level of self-awareness, they spend most of their time and energy on a combination of themselves, their closest friends or loved ones, and their personal pursuits, such as jobs and hobbies. They aren’t thinking about you. To gain even a modicum of people’s attention in a world that’s constantly bombarding them with messages requires that you do something extremely bold, positive or negative, or be celebrating one of our culturally approved moments, such as birthdays, weddings, and other seminal milestones in your existence where others are required to care about you more than themselves. But even then, many of us are too self-involved to care more about someone else than themselves.
The good news is that this is a very good thing.
Once you realize that no one has the time or energy to care about what you’re doing, you can free yourself from trying to be perfect, from trying to live up to the ridiculous narcissistic ideals you’ve built up in your head and start having a lot of fun. You can stop worrying about how you look, what you say, and how you’re perceived. You can be Quincy Jones, an eighty-five-year-old man who doesn’t give a f*ck.
But for real, you don’t have to go off the deep end, start calling people out, and claiming you know who shot JFK. You just have to stop obsessing with what everyone else thinks and does; you have to stop believing the world is a reflection of you and start understanding that your view of the world is skewed by your perceptions and biases. Only then will you realize how small you are in the scheme of what’s happening in our universe. Only then can you really begin to enjoy the journey. Only then will you realize that your fulfillment is directly connected to how you contribute to the lives of others, how deeply you connect with them, and whether you’re serving a purpose greater than yourself.
Next time you’re on the verge of tears because you’re positive someone is judging you for something you have no control over, stop and let relief wash over you in an awesome wave. You’ve been liberated.
Enjoy however you look.
And start living.