Ten years ago if I looked in the mirror and thought I looked good, that was basically all that happened. I would maybe make a face to myself, fluff my hair, and then probably fart because I was in the bathroom so why not? I didn’t call my friend’s to alert them. Nor did it occur to me to search through my room, find my camera, document my perfect pout, walk to the closest convenience store, drop off the film, come back a week later, look at the picture, and then show everyone I’ve ever met.
Yet now with social media we feel the compulsion to share our dewy eyes after a day in the sun. We will even go so far as to cut other people out of the shot, and zoom in closer so everyone can bask in the glory of our new pixilated profile picture. But doesn’t my smile just look so cute?! YES IT DOES!
Instagram and Facebook fan our vanity. It’s a virtual culture that feeds the ego, and the adoration is addictive – whether it’s sincere or not. I don’t ACTUALLY like everything I “like” that you post… nor do you. I “like” things because I want YOU to “like” MY things. It’s just the way it is.
Even though there are positive elements of social media, it’s also fostering narcissism. Not just with the selfies, but also the insatiable compulsion to communicate our thoughts to our cyber audiences. We all have our fan base, as well as being fans of others. It becomes a feedback loop of self-importance, just like that snake eating its own tail – which I tried myself, but my feet really do smell.
What we are ultimately looking for is validation for our existence. Look at my kid and tell me how cute. Check out my food and see how delicious. Gaze at my relationship and feel jealous because of its perfection. Hear my accomplishments and make me feel worthy. Weep at my sadness because it is now in your newsfeed while you are sitting on the toilet. It isn’t just about bragging or expression, but a need to be noticed and thus alive.
In a way, most of modern society is battling narcissistic personality disorder…
“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” –Mayo Clinic
You may say to yourself “I don’t have a lack of empathy for others…” but how many times do you gag, roll your eyes, or make fun of someone’s lame status update? SHUT YOUR FACE I KNOW YOU DO IT!!!!
Rather than denying the fact that this is a cultural phenomenon, we have to instead admit it, and embrace it. The only way to truly battle the contagious influence of arrogance is being able to laugh at yourself when you are seduced by it. It’s only if we are being real about our motivations that we will avoid being completely corrupted. Now go ahead and please “like” this post because if you don’t I will probably cry about it.
(PS this blog was inspired by a conversation between me and my brother… As we were discussing how everyone is a narcissist we then starting talking about ourselves and if we were narcissists because you know… narcissism).
LOOK AT ME AND TELL ME HOW AMAZING I AM IN EVERY WAY!