“Narcissism” is a big word for a simple concept. To explain what narcissism actually is, we need to look at Greek mythology.
Once upon a time, a young man named Narcissus, who was blessed with many beautiful physical attributes, was sitting alone by a pond. As he looked down into the still water, he saw his own reflection shining back at him. Mesmerized by his own magnificence—which he himself considered to be nothing short of stunning—he gazed lovingly into the water, moving closer and closer to that face which so entranced him. Down and down he leaned, trying to become one with the face he had fallen in love with—until at last he fell into his own reflection in the pond and drowned. Narcissus was so drawn to his own beauty that it caused his untimely demise.
Many of us know someone just like him.
This brings to mind a time when I was involved with a community theater group several years ago. I was acting in a play with a narcissist—let’s call him George—who seemed to have no concern for anyone but himself. Even in show business circles where there is a fair amount of narcissism, George was a standout. Although he wasn’t a particularly skilled performer, he was so good at projecting the image of a confident and talented actor that he was sometimes able to fool other people. But those who knew George well had a nickname for him: “I Love Me, Who Do You Love?” In fact, that could be the best descriptive nickname I’ve ever heard for people with narcissistic tendencies. [Read more…]