Not too long ago I posted a piece called, “Are You . . . ?” where I discussed a question we often ask ourselves about our own self-worth.
It still amazes me how we are programed to dislike, discredit, and disparage ourselves.
Well there is, of course, an opposite corollary to this self-depreciation.
I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media recently about narcissism. And it’s quite understandable in today’s climate where it seems that many people seem to believe that “it,” meaning everything, is all about them and them only.
We even have so-called “leaders” modeling and sanctioning this grotesque behavior.
In the past people may have called this selfishness, but at a certain point this crosses over into pathology and so we have narcissistic personality disorder. The dictionary defines this trait as, “selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration.”
That’s putting it mildly.
And the reason I’m pondering this today is because I was paid a rather nice compliment by a friend the other day. She told me that I “mattered.” That I make, or have made, a difference for others. A positive difference.
I am quite flattered. Humbly so, as I often question my own value or the value of my contribution to this vast Universe.
But the compliment also made me remember an insult I once received. At least a comment I took as an insult. The worst insult I believe I had ever been given. And it came from a person who was supposed to love me. What she said was that I was “useful.”
In the context in which this was uttered, I was a utilitarian object. Something to keep around to do this person’s bidding. To keep the household running. Bring in the green and maintain the homestead.
She thought it was a compliment.
It’s not that I was needed. Or liked, loved, or respected. I was just nice to have around when it suited her. When it was convenient. To take out the trash.
This word came from that pathological realm. A place where all that mattered was herself. And her view that any entity around her was merely there to serve her own reflection of herself.
Words contain a powerful magic. They can motivate, create, empower, and translate. They can erect a vision in your mind of places you have never seen or experienced.
Or they can destroy.
We should all choose our words wisely.
Of course, for a narcissist, vocabulary is limited to the image in their mirror. Someday, maybe there will be a cure for this disease of pathological self-indulgence.
Photo: I struggled a bit to pick a pic for this one. The topic of narcissism isn’t a pleasant reflection. Not like the one you see in this image. But reflections is sort of the theme of the post. Self-reflection. But from two different directions.
In one mirror’s view, we critically examine, always seeking ways to refine and improve.
In the other’s mirror’s view, they chastise the mirror for failing to reflect their grandiose notions of themselves.
In this case we have a beautiful reflection of a bridge in the Merced River. It creates a doubling effect. Turning the archway into an oval. The side passageway into, humm, some odd shape. An infinite corridor through time and space? Or maybe a window into the soul? Imaginatively speaking, that is. Depending on your point of view. 🙂