How To Remain Humble in a Narcissistic Age
If there’s one way to ruin your relationships, it’s by being all about yourself.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but selfishness only attracts people that are selfish themselves. You’ll find frustration in those relationships because no one is getting the attention they so desperately seek.
But before you get gloomy about the message of this article, have ye hope! There is a light inside of us that burns stronger than narcissism. This article will help you find that light and help you attract healthier relationships that both parties can enjoy and grow from.
I’m going to break this down for you in three simple concepts that will help us examine our own behaviours. We need to understand how easy it for us to become narcissists so we can choose a path that doesn’t lead to inevitable unhappiness. Instead, I’m going to give you some simple ways to view your environmental triggers and understand our culture, as well as reasons to practice another way of being that can help heal yourself. Being in an age of masculine rule, humility doesn’t come easy these days. However, there exists a strong undercurrent of revolution bringing equality to the sexes that can help us reduce our own egos so we can notice when our hidden agendas are bastardizing our own lives.
Regulate Yourself on Social Media: Be a Part of the Solution
We are all pretty aware that selfies (photos you take of yourself) are taking up a lot of time and attention in our culture. But why? Why do we take these photos? We have begun a silent competition reminiscent of the popularity contests we had in high school and frankly, this constant comparing is depleting our happiness. It’s important to take inventory of how often you’re taking selfies, why you’re taking them, and notice if your friends are in fact, ‘addicted’ as well.
Having lived in LA, I have a lot of friends who make their living on social media. They are very good people and struggle with a job that requires them to be their own brand. I too struggled with the image I was presenting to the world as a yoga teacher promoting my classes, which I wanted people to grow from.
But we have a choice. We can either play into the “my body and my life is perfect” mentality to continue to seek validation for the public identity we are feeding, or we can be real. We can limit our social media use to posting things that will show our vulnerability, our growth process, and yes, even our cellulite. Posting a filtered photo of your derriere in a bikini just to count the “likes” you can get is the perfect way to start building a narcissistic personality.
I have a friend who never wears his shirt, especially on social media. But just think if one day all that online attention was gone. We cannot base our self esteem on vanity no matter whether we package it as spiritual inspiration or freedom of sexuality. We must dig deeper within ourselves to find how this social media self-obsession is creating a larger culture of self-obsession, one where we have stopped learning how to better our society as a whole. We have stopped gaining validation by being an integral part of keeping our society functioning and instead look to superficial, appearance-based methods for approval.
Beyond just selfies, we must spend less time snapping photos of our every move and more time thinking about the well-being of those around us, thereby keeping our society from falling into the pits of narcissistic idiocracy. Notice your unconscious impulses to snap photos of restaurant food and bands in concert and just stop.
Practice Having an Intention: Notice Your Default Agenda and Where It Comes From
Beyond the topic of social media is the way we choose our jobs and relationships.
My goal is to show you how our society has a hidden narcissistic agenda that runs in most of us on an unconscious level, pointing us toward choices that lead us to unfulfilling work as well as unfulfilling romance. When we seek to validate our egos in our work and love lives, we attract situations that feed our hunger for power. For example, let’s say we have a hidden agenda to stand out in our community in order to feel better about ourselves. We may seek out a job that pays the most and a partner that looks the best, regardless of what that company does for society and regardless of the character of said attractive partner.
This could lead us to an obsession with materialistic things. It could lead to an obsession with climbing the social ladder, risking throwing ethics and work-life balance away while losing sight of what might help our community or society as a whole.
In our relationships, not knowing our own hidden agenda that exists inside us unconsciously due to our egotistical environment will lead us to choose relationships based on their social status instead of someone who genuinely cares about our well being. When we look at it this way, we can see that narcissistic behaviours lead to shallow lives and mistrust of ourselves more than anything else. Living like this creates an insatiable desire for more that could certainly lead to valuing people for their looks and not for their actions. This is a recipe for disaster.
So how do we get out of this cycle? Especially when it may be all we have known and it’s how the people around us behave?
Practice having an intention to override our own unconscious behaviours. Look at why you say what you say, are you bragging or sharing ideas to form connections? Look at why you post what you post, are you trying to uplift your community or gain validation? Look at why you do the work you do, and ask yourself if it’s for the greater good or to help you feel self-important. Look at why you were attracted to your partner and ask yourself, are they a good person or just the image I’m trying to project to society? I know this sounds intense but that’s because it is! We have to become aware of this extremely dangerous behaviour in our society and shift it.
Recognize the Signs: Bragging, Putting Others Down, Needing a Clique
While we can’t just go around labelling people as narcissistic and telling them they have hidden agendas, we can shift our own actions and intentions. People can create intentionally conscious networks in their local communities where honest and kind communication is the norm, where people can talk openly, learn from each other, and grow. When we start to break away from mainstream society and actively look for people who are living with meaningful intentions instead of attention-seeking intentions, we will find them. They are trying to live humble lives instead of ostentatious lives. They listen to you when you speak and learn about you without judgement, but acceptance.
The alternative is people that brag about themselves, people that put others with different values down, and surround themselves with shallow people to try and feel secure. You can begin to notice if your environment is a toxic, narcissistic comfort zone, and you can decide to be a part of a culture of humility. Try changing the people you hang out with regularly, shift the way you have conversations, consider your valued friendships and the reasons you get up in the morning. If you surround yourself with people who are trying to move our culture from narcissism to humility, you’ll become one of those people, too. It takes time.
It can be intoxicating being around people with big egos, especially if it’s your own. You may be addicted to this way of living and require a detox from yourself. I recommend meditation and more meditation. The Yogi and Buddhist philosophies have great understandings of the ego and how it sticks a thorn in our sides without us realizing it. We can look to these ancient traditions to help us heal in a narcissistic society.
It takes daily effort to notice our hidden agendas and override them with kind intentions. But with enough time and mindfulness, inevitably, we can feel a deeper sense of ourselves and more purpose in life. Breaking away from the narcissists can sting because they may ridicule you, they may be condescending and threaten you with fear of losing touch with reality.
But guess what? If you prioritize living humble and kind, you will find out what true happiness is. It’s not an us against them thing, it’s about the current climate of our society and culture and how it’s ripping meaning from our lives, causing massive depressive and isolating behaviours. We must recapture humility and stop being obsessed with ourselves if we are going to have a society that is happy and not competing for “best dressed.”