Narcissism breeds contempt, and if contempt exists then compassion cannot flourish. By eradicating your narcissistic ways you will enable yourself to learn compassion and lead a better more fulfilling life.
Narcissism is the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness. The word is derived from Narcissus, a character from Greek mythology, that saw his reflection in a pool of water and was so taken by the beauty of his own image that he could not pull himself away. He stayed there until he withered and died.
As much as I hate to admit it, I am often guilty of this narcissism myself. I wonder if you may be as well.
How is it that most of us learn this behavior? Is it some sort of self-preservation that compels us to elevate the idea of self? Do we think that if do not consider ourselves extra special, than no one else will?
I think this may be part of it. I think the way our brain works, we feel that if we are not of high value, we must be of low value. But this is irrational thinking. There is no high or low value, we are just who we are. We are human beings.
Being mindful and compassionate are not things to be rated or commended. Loving kindness in it’s purest form accomplishes benevolence with proper intention. Thought and actions are no longer about me, but are intended to benefit of all living beings.
But what if you hurt me, steal from me, lie to me? Should I not defend myself or seek justice?
You see, it would be very easy to make it all about yourself in these types of situations. Because we tend to view this as personal, and all about us and our feelings. Our narcissism kicks in.
But what if we do nothing when these things occur? What if we are able to view these situations as impermanent and not something we own personally? At that point, you become an observer. With loving kindness and compassion you forgive and accept things as they are. I can see there is no suffering when I eliminate the attachment and the idea of self. It is no longer personal, no longer narcissistic.
I will share with you, that it’s only recently, that I have been able do this. But I can tell you that it has given me a much greater sense of peace than I have previously had in my life.
Please understand that this is not to be confused with apathy, as I do care very deeply. In fact, if anything, I feel I have more love and connection to others than ever before. I see they are sad, angry, scared or hurt. And I believe that offering my acceptance without judgment or ego is offering them loving compassion. I have no desire to change or control they way they are feeling.
So I now have begun to notice that when I get emotionally affected by someone else, it is because of my ego. My narcissism makes me think it is about me. My chest gets tight, my breathing becomes labored, my head begins to hurt. And then I think, “what am I doing?”. Ah, the return to mindfulness!
Slowly, my breathing relaxes and I can feel my entire body relaxing. Now I can be an observer, be present in the moment, and be compassionate. This is my practice.
I must be patient with myself, as this is still very new to me. But I know that I must start with loving myself and being gentle with my practice. Rome was not built in a day, right!
I wish you peace, mindfulness and compassion.
And may you always be well, happy and peaceful.