When I wrote a post earlier in the month about gratitude and Facebook “Thankful” updates, someone suggested I tackle the growing trend of narcissism that is all too evident in those same Thankful posts. It is such a complicated trend. I’m sure I’ll be posting more about it, but Facebook has been abuzz with Narcissism lately, and so I’ll start there.
Of course we are becoming a narcissistic society – it is difficult not to in a world where selfie’s reign and Twitter feed allows us to constantly stream our every thought on the internet. We blog about our thoughts and expect others to appreciate our perspectives, we post Instagram photos of our lives because we love them, and we write memoirs to share our experiences. We make people like Kim Kardashian celebrities by allowing them to manifest narcissism on tv.
So where is the line, and how do we make sure we don’t cross it? Because it is important to me not to appear narcissistic, and I recoil when I see that narcissism in my social media connections. Most of us read and think about the thoughts in the Tweets or the endless newsfeed stream on Facebook, but there is definitely a difference in our reactions. It’s in that difference that I see a lot of distinction between narcissism and just participating in others’ lives.
I’m guilty of posting selfie’s, especially when they include my kids. I convince myself it doesn’t really count because, well, everyone wants to see a picture of me enjoying my children, right? And I am constantly on Facebook. I’m fairly sure most of my friends are over my status updates and many shares per day. Especially my friends without kids. But here is the difference I see: when I post something, I’m not trying to post in a “look at me” or a “look how important my life is” kind of way. I genuinely want to share my interesting finds and, of course, my smiling children, with my Facebook friends.
There are several people in my social media life that clearly and unfortunately show me the narcissistic example I do not want to follow. It’s these folks who see a photo posted by a family member or a friend and, rather than commenting about how happy the person looks or how great their such and such accomplishment is, The Narcissist posts, “I hope you made that for me!” or “Why aren’t I in that pic?” The Narcissist fails completely(of course) to notice that everyone else is commenting with posts not focused on themselves, and then goes right back to posting status updates that beg to be read as, “Look at this awesome/more difficult than yours/sadder than yours/cooler than you thing I’m doing because I’m SO self-important!”
I’ve caught myself in a “that bread looks delicious, I hope it’s for me” kind of comment, and immediately started that delete button because it feels too close to The Narcissist. But hopefully that sets me apart – the awareness that I might just come off as a little too self-involved. So in its place I ask for the recipe and compliment the baker because really, I can make my own damn bread and take a selfie to go with it, and I don’t need the world focused on me in order to do it.