The river of life is flowing at an alarming break-neck pace and we all jump in, letting events, technology, dictators, narcissists and sociopaths lead us over the rapids without a boat. We fear the rapids, but we also fear not getting in the river; being left behind. Slowing down has become a socially irrational act.
What would happen if we all just slowed down; if we stopped running madly away or toward something? Is it possible to grow where we stand? What is the cure for our cultural and personal narcissism; the narcissism that dictates that we always must do, consume, achieve, have an opinion, be seen? I think that ultimately and perhaps ironically, it’s developing a SELF. Not the smaller self, but the SELF with a capital “S”. The Self that echoes the soul, that most profound part of our humanness. Narcissists are empty, without a real sense of Self. Because of this, they attempt to fill the void with grandiosity, hyperbole, objects, accomplishments, obsession with physical beauty and an unquenchable need to be adored. But these things can never fill the void that is the rightful place of the soul. Therefore, the patterns go on and on endlessly. Nothing is ever enough; not enough money, not enough power, admiration, beauty or possessions. Nothing can satisfy. They live in a bottomless pit of need. Because the narcissist is so empty, fear sits just behind the façade of confidence. This fear is sometimes so great that an overwhelming need to dominate develops. In this way, the empty narcissist feels safe. How sad when one of these people is at the helm of a company or a family or a country. And how incredibly dangerous.
We can’t “unchose” a narcissistic mother or even know that the head of the company we work for is a narcissist before we sign the contract. But we can and did elect a narcissist as our president. This fact disturbs me far more deeply than the fact of the man himself. We chose this. We evidently believed that narcissism in all of its ugly forms could save us, make us “great again”.
My hope is that a light will come on over all of our heads; a light that invites us to take a look at ourselves. How compassionate am I, how empathic? Am I motivated by unifying forces or divisiveness? Who am I? What kind of a human am I, not just what do I have and what have I accomplished materially and physically. Do equal rights and respect for all really diminish me?
This trend toward narcissism as the norm has been on the ascent for several decades. I believe it has resulted in our current government. Regardless of our economic or political beliefs, we must look at this tendency in ourselves and correct it. The contentment, peace and wellbeing we all seek will never be found in egoic narcissistic desire.