Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Healthy Dose of Narcissism

Narcissism (n): inordinate fascination with oneself
Synonyms: self-confidence, self-love, self-admiration

Everyone says that narcissism is bad. I disagree. I believe that a small dose of narcissism a day keeps the self-hate away. The word, despite its overtly negative definition, is synonymous with self-love and confidence; why wouldn’t we want to have those traits?!

I tell everyone I can that a spoonful of narcissism makes the tough days go down. Because when everything goes wrong, no one will be there for you except yourself, and you’ll want to be there for yourself too.
Want to be happy like Mary Poppins? Try narcissism!
I say this because like any teenage girl, I’ve suffered through my fair share of emotional rollercoasters. I’ve dealt with falling in and out of love, losing friends and making new ones, body image contortions, and just the general problem of trying to grow up without losing sight of myself. Through all the thick and thin, sure I’ve cried on my best friend’s shoulder a few times, but no amount of chocolate or therapy sessions with my bestie worked as well as just being able to believe in myself and love myself.

It’s simply not sustainable to derive your happiness and confidence from others because there’s no guarantee they’ll always be there. That doesn’t mean your friends shouldn’t make you feel like you’re on top of the world; on the contrary, good friends should build you up and bring out the best in you. But we accept the love we think we deserve, and if you don’t love yourself, you won’t find that love in other people. Love yourself unequivocably and don’t be afraid to flaunt it.

This is hard advice to swallow as a teen, especially in a society that holds people to an unattainable level of perfection. I’ve struggled with this too, teetering into the realm of self-loathing on occasion. I get it, everyone has a tough day every now and then that’s hard to bounce back from. It’s important to remember that the goal isn’t to be pinacle of confidence every day but rather have the self-respect to deal well with the bad days and the self-confidence to beam on the good days.
Don’t be afraid of doing little things for yourself, both public and private, to show yourself some love. I love taking selfies (seriously just take a look at my Instagram). I definitely have way more selfies in a folder on my phone than I have on social media though. Those selfies are there just for me, to look at and say, “damn, girl, I’m hot!” I also have a jar of “encouragements,” or little slips of paper that have cheesy inspirational quotes or things I love about myself. If I’m ever feeling down, I take my pick from the jar and remind myself of why I’m awesome. Little things like cultivating a sense of style that makes you feel confident or taking an extra half hour to have a bubble bath at night are small ways to show yourself you care.
Told you I'm the selfie queen. Welcome to my store of never before seen selfies.

At the same time, remember that this is a healthy dose of narcissism. The ancient Greeks believed that from every virtue stemmed two vices. Don’t let this virtue turn into egomania. There’s a distinct difference between being confident and being arrogant. Arrogance, quite frankly, is one of the biggest turn offs, and will only hold you back in life rather than propel you forward. I’d say the best way to be grounded is to recognize the awesomeness and merit of others, especially the peers that surround you on any given day. It’s humbling to see your classmates do or say amazing things and they’re the ultimate connection to Earth. Like I said, just a dose.

To basically summarize the advice from the 612 words (yes, I'm very verbose) above, love thyself and care for thyself as thou would care for others. Don’t confuse this with believing that you’re the supreme being on planet Earth; that just makes you a douchebag. But seriously, if there’s one thing I wish people told me before going into high school it would be to take better care of myself on a physical and emotional level. It’s really easy to get caught up in the pressure of maintaining a social media-worthy social life, good grades, and sleep and sometimes I think we all forget that it’s not the activities that matter but the person who does them. So take good care yourself (points stern finger at reader)!

As I finish my last few weeks of high school (eek), I’ve realized this is my biggest takeaway going into college. Not to sound sappy, but high school was definitely a journey and I hit some rough patches along the way. If I’d had more faith in myself, I might have been able to handle those a little bit better. Next year, I’ll be living 886 miles away from home and I’ll pretty much be on my own. In navigating the new friendships and relationships I’ll have in college, I want to remember that I am my own best friend, and treat myself as such. 

I hope anyone who reads this takes this advice. It’s so basic and seemingly obvious, yet it’s something that most people eliminate from their daily mantras. If you ever do take a little narcissism to heart and share it on social media, be sure to use #theyouthemisms so that I can see it! Good luck, chickadees!