Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Is it all about you?

Narcissism is subtle.

The nature of its activity is self-deception–our own narcissism is invested in keeping us narcissistic, manufacturing intelligent rationalizations to justify and perpetuate itself.

Narcissism is easily recognized in others, but rarely in ourselves. We define narcissism in narrow terms to cast ourselves outside its net. A “real” narcissist is someone who is fixated on her physical appearance, someone who can never be wrong, or someone who displays his own superiority. While all of these orientations and behaviors are narcissistic, we fail to recognize that they are obvious versions of an underlying selfishness that nearly all of us share, no matter how “selfless” we believe ourselves to be.

Narcissism creates restlessness, because a self afflicted with itself can never rest. No matter how much self-growth, self-improvement, and self-esteem it achieves, the self is unable to transcend its own interest. The narcissistic self is both exhausted and enslaved, locked in the prison of its own self-involvement.

Fortunately, there are specific practices that have been shown—both by contemporary psychological models and by varying spiritual traditions—to radically transform narcissism. These practices fall into three broad categories: relational, or interpersonal practices; spiritual, or meditative/contemplative practices; and interpretive, or perspective-taking practices.

End Your Narcissism