I’m speaking about U.S. Culture, just to clarify, can’t really speak for anywhere else.
Anyways I’ve noticed that nowadays a sense of narcissism is being fostered in youth. Everyone is raised constantly being told feel-good messages in school. Constantly being told that they are special and unique, capable of anything, etc. While these messages are very positive and CERTAINLY children should never be discouraged, they do hold negative consequences.
Namely, everyone thinking they’re the hottest thing around. When people hold conversations it’s not to listen it’s to get their own words out. Everyone desperately wants someone to care, someone to notice their struggles, and is shocked and offended when no one notices, but this is because EVERYONE is living in different levels of a self-revolving world. They don’t realize that the reason why no one notices is that others are preoccupied in their own worlds.
I remember becoming aware around age 14-15 or so that I almost never talked about myself. I realized that my friend group at the time really knew nothing about me, aside from some of my interests and favorite things. This was sort of a shock to me because I realized not only did they know very, very little about me, they had never asked, never wondered. This too was a narcissistic mind set. People IN GENERAL do not tend to wonder about other people. They think about themselves. And so they feel lonely and unnoticed, when really it’s nothing personal, it’s just that everyone is self-centered, and so everyone is lonely. I see all these dumb, silly buzzfeed quizzes posted on social media and it reminds me of back when I was in middle school, with a cruel group of friends. They always made fun of me. I just wanted them to understand who I was, I was sure they would like me then. I remember taking a bunch of those dumb personality quizzes and actually printing out the results, to try to show them, “Look this is me. See me. I want to be understood.” I assume this is the same mindset of those who post those quizzes now. They are basically doing what I did all those years ago. People want to be known, and what they don’t realize, what I didn’t realize is that, to be blunt, no one really cares. But they would love to have someone listen about who they are.
This sort of environment also sets kids up for enormous amounts of disappointment and a crash in self esteem when they begin to reach adulthood and realize that all the amazing things they were told they’d be able to do and just assumed they would don’t happen. Just living like a normal person isn’t enough anymore, because everyone is told that they are extraordinary and perfect in every way, and thus when they do not meet these lofty expectations, it hurts.
I’ve also noticed a greater rise in delusions in general. How many adolescents have had fantasies of being God? There was even an anime series created about “middle school delusions” or something like that. People become upset with this glorious being they were promised to be but haven’t become, and so they create these fantasy worlds where they really are secretly very unique and special and standout from the crowd.
We tell everyone that they are beautiful, and as a result, selfies blow up our newsfeeds. Everyone constantly flaunting their best all over social media in an attempt to prove that they have met all of those high expectations, that they’re living the high life that they were promised they would have. “Look at me. See me. Love me.”
Everyone hungry for attention because narcissism locks one away in a tiny bubble. If the only one you think of is yourself, than your world quickly becomes quite empty and lonely. “Why does no one care about ME? Why does no one notice ME?” You have to out yourself out there. You have to MAKE people care. You have to TELL people because everyone just floats around in their own bubble until you pop it.
If everyone would realize this, the narcissism that has been nurtured in our society, accepted that maybe NOT all of us are amazing and perfect in every way, accept that maybe not all of us are capable of everything, and that sometimes even our best isn’t enough and that that is OK. Accept that people don’t automatically think of others (except a rare, very wonderful breed, of which only a few I have met in my lifetime) and stop just fuming silently in isolation about it. If everyone started to reach out to each other, than others would feel able to reach back. The bubbles would pop.
I have only recently become aware of my own narcissism, and am trying to pop that bubble. I am just a girl. I am not above my peers in any way, and we all struggle together. My troubles are not any more important than theirs, nor deserve special notice or treatment. If I don’t ask about their troubles, I don’t expect them to ask about mine, and I don’t hold them personably accountable for it. (School shooters tend to do this…“how can no one notice that I’M suffering?! They’re all terrible people who deserve to die…it’s ME vs THEM” Absolutely no regard or respect for other life…) I understand that others are preoccupied with their own issues. I understand that I am not separate from the rest.
Learn to empathize, and try to understand others instead of willing them to understand you. Never generalize. Never make it “them.” Never dehumanize. Generalization and dehumanization (they aren’t like me, they don’t matter, only I have thoughts and feelings, only my thoughts and feelings count) are probably the top reasons for all crimes committed today. If we would stop teaching people to think about “Me” and start thinking “We,” I just think we could get so much farther.
Sorry for the long rant. It’s just a very important topic to me.