Confessions Of A Narcissist
I’ve only heard the word narcissist used a few times; mostly in reference to the sitting President. Other times, in reference to a person who deems themselves as the most important person in any room, at any given time.
I’ve used it once for myself, as a person who has spent way too much time imagining that I’m the subject of other people’s thoughts and conversations.
A few years into the new year, I had a huge revelation that I’d spent the last 365 days wondering how people saw me and what they’ve said about me. If I felt people thought I was selfish, I tried to be giving. If I thought people thought I was scattered, I tried to be less consistent. If I thought, people thought, I was confused, I tried to focus on one thing. I spent so many days thinking about what other people were thinking about me until one day, I stopped to ask myself what the hell I’d been doing.
I hadn't always been this way. I remember one year in particular after reading Shonda Rhimes “Year of Yes”, I took to life in a way that I hadn’t ever before. I did whatever it is I wanted to do and didn’t look back or think twice about what others may have been thinking. Since then, I’ve found myself in a downward spiral of wins and losses, wondering about how I was being perceived by others — mostly because of how badly I felt about myself.
We hear these lessons from childhood or in every speech given at any awards ceremony. Don’t let people tell you what you can’t do. Don’t worry about people’s opinions of you. Don’t listen to the negative things people have to say. Go after what you want. Be yourself.
It’s all cute and whimsical until you have to put it into practice and you find yourself spending all day everyday, frozen in time, constantly worried if your actions are going to invite criticism from those who seem to have it all together.
So why was I so narcissistic? Why did I want so badly for people to speak good about me? And also, what made me think, there were people who were spending all their time talking about me? I mean sure, people talk about me; people talk about people, it’s a thing that happens. But most people, are too worried, read: obsessed, with themselves to actually think about others.
I thought about all the times people have said good things about me. I thought about the times people have said negative things. And I thought about the times where people said nothing at all. I realized, while these experiences were all scattered throughout my life and even overlap in some instances, they actually didn’t matter unless I made them matter.
I saw an article right before writing this; it said “Can I Be A Prostitute, A Mom, Enjoy Having Sex and Not Be Judged?” And I laughed. Because no, you can’t. You have to choose what you’re going to care about. Either you enjoy sex and prostitution or you care about being judged. It’s your choice.
People experience you in different ways based on who and what they are to you. People will like you based on what they like and hate you based on what they hate.
People will give advice and opinions based on who they are and what they believe. And people will approve and disapprove of your actions the same way they change their outfits from day to day. It just is what it is. It’s basic humanity.
We’ll all be liked and loved and hated and talked about for the rest of our lives; that, we cannot control. What we can control, is who we decide to be and what we deem as important.
If you care about too many things at once, you’ll be at war with yourself. If you choose what’s important, and care only about that, you’ll be at peace. People are going to judge you no matter what, it’s how life is; you might as well do what you want.
I’ve spent so many days worried about what other people have to say about me, that I have neglected to enjoy the true beauties of life. Caring for other people. Praying for, think about, help other people. I’ve been so obsessed with me and getting it “right” that I haven’t stopped to hear or feel what others may need from me; what the world may need.
And if I’m being honest, that makes me feel like a terrible person. But the beautiful thing about it all, is that I can change and move differently based on what I know now.
What people say about me should have no bearing on who I am. It’s my job to become who I am and be more concerned with loving others, loving myself, and loving God as one.