I remember the first time I realised what narcissism meant and I subsequently threw up at how malicious the whole concept of the word seems. However, is narcissism something that is overwhelmingly affecting this generation or is it a tool created to police the amount we as people can appreciate and love ourselves?
As I recited in last weeks post, love is what you make it and love is something that starts at home. Despite this trend of self love and appreciation in the world and on social media, there has been a strong incense in previous generations labelling current millennials as fame hungry, narcissistic assholes. Narcissism by definition describes itself as an ‘excessive interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance’, distinguishing the lack of empathy that said narcissists will have if the label were to stick. Kardashian-esque images spring to mind of people with ridiculous amounts of shopping bags hurrying down the street. (Disclaimer: I don’t actually think that about the k-dash clan, just in case Kim is having a quick browse of my blog, hey queen).
To me this just reeks of another stereotype inducing elitist cry from our previous generations to ensure we don’t enjoy ourselves too much? If I’m brutally honest what actually would be the outcome if people did in fact enjoy themselves too much. Like would the world implode? Buildings erupt into flames? Donald Trump realise he’s wrong? No. At worst Instagram would just become heavily slow due to the influx of selfies and body posi pics that are being posted.
I don’t really know what it is that baby boomers and even some millennials have against this notion of self love that has to be converted into a cruel label of narcissism. The correlation between generations saying narcissism is a problem and also selfishness is a problem is undeniable, but are they as linked as one would think?
Just because you love yourself does not mean that you can’t care for anyone else? This narcissist label is then branded in full force onto said people and the cycle of self prophecising begins – potential demoralisation, lack of confidence and essentially people will begin to be put down just for the sole act of trying to boost themselves up. Labels in general are my least favourite thing. It may be due to the intensive education I had during my sociology A level on labels and their influence throughout all streams of society, and also my personal experience of the detrimental bastards. Labelling someone has two main outcomes. You either internalise your label and become what you’re expected to be, or you reject the label profusely which leads to not just rejecting the label but all authority. In terms of narcissism, if you were to internalise the label you would become the definition which people are stigmatised as – rude, selfish and self Indulgent, and I think this is the way in which you could argue that this generation is narcissistic. Not by choice, but by constant judgement and persecution that narcissism itself becomes a defence mechanism – a barrier to ensure you’re protected and you are the most important in any given situation.
The difference between this and self confidence is the sole fact that narcissism correlates to the idea that you literally give no fucks about anyone else because you’re so infatuated with yourself. Self confidence has all of these attributes, however with a more empathetic slant. I value myself highly and in some instances I value myself higher than others, if the situation is oppressive or derogatory. But in most of my life I am empathetic and care for others just as I care for myself, harking at the difference between the label I have given myself, and the label that is stitched into my generational lining. Don’t let self love feel self indulgent. There is no limit to the amount you can love yourself, however love is a pie chart, (I know how mathematical of me) and part of this chart needs to be dedicated to others. Balance is important. It’s up to you how you label yourself, whether you choose to or not.
Narcissism isn’t real, but empathy and adoration are.