Before you scoff and click to another article, hear me out.
Ours and other’s Narcissism is at the root of the assertion I have made here about self-hatred bringing us closer to happiness. You may ask, well what is Narcissism? And, what does Narcissism existing within us all, have to do with self-hatred bringing us closer to happiness?
Just a quick search on Google Scholar for Narcissism brings me 170,000 results. We are fixated on it, because we struggle with these traits in our selves as well as in dealing with other people. We struggle with Narcissism everywhere; in dating, relationships, work, politics, et cetera. And this list of contexts and environments where we struggle with the effects of Narcissism truly goes on.
Narcissism, according to a large field of research, encompasses many traits. I share a few of them here. Many of the Narcissistic traits seen through Westernized populations are grandiosity, a delusional ability to defend against seeing one’s own accountability and impact, a lack of empathy, the tendency to see oneself as a victim of circumstance or others that has been met with injustice when one does not get their way, using others as a means to an end (an end of feeling great about oneself and being successful somehow), the constant process of trying maintain one’s sense of entitlement and greatness in the face of a reality that doesn’t support this, a tendency to brag and show off, being (physically and socially) image conscious and expecting others to be as well, the habit of downwardly comparing others in order to maintain one’s high self-esteem, difficulty with honesty and relationship commitment, entitlement, leadership due to projected authority, aggression, a false self, a tendency to be impulsive and manipulative, and selfishness.
Do you recognize traits of others or yourself here?
With these Narcissistic traits, what we all don’t realize is that this constant propping up of oneself to maintain worth and the hyper-positive image of the self, even in the face of getting feedback from your environment that you are perhaps not-so-great, takes a lot of work. It also robs us from ever going through a crisis of self, that would actually bring us closer to real and lasting happiness.
After all, the happiness that Narcissism brings, is fleeting, and depends an awful lot on the continued validation and attention from others, as well as maintaining a sense of self and worth that must always be proven, bought, sought, and competed for, often to the detriment of your own energy and resources, and that of others.
What if we stopped promoting a Narcissistic way of being? What if we could all stop behaving in these ways?
If we stopped, we would need to face the self-hatred and shame that is the deepest motivator of Narcissism. If we stopped and faced the consequences of our actions, the harm that we have done to our self, to others, and to the world, through this way of being, we would certainly find many reasons to feel shame and self-hatred.
But, in feeling this shame and self-hatred, we are reckoning with reality, and building a strength in having faced truth and our self, while not dying from this shame and self-hatred. In fact, this building strength in dropping our Narcissism and embracing self-hatred and shame, leads to ever-greater flexibility, ingenuity, self-awareness, tolerance for vulnerability, connection, and intimacy, and an ability to accept and love oneself, and the world.
And guess what? This leads us closer to true and lasting happiness- a happiness that won’t be taken away from you, because it will exist from within.
You’re welcome. Glad you heard me out.