Hello Rebel, and welcome back to my life. Yes, my life. It’s mine.
It’s time for that talk about narcissism, which seems more relevant than ever in light of our new President—hork—our new President Elect—hork—I’m sorry, I just …
You’ve heard me say on this channel and my podcasts and many other places that I’m a narcissist. And most of you have probably laughed and shaken your heads and gone, “Ah, that Garrett. He’s so silly.”
Yeah, a lot of you think I’m joking about this. I’m not. I definitely consider myself, for real, a narcissist. I don’t say that proudly or with shame. It is just a thing about me.
I should clarify that I’m not self-diagnosing myself with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I frankly don’t know anything about that. I’m merely saying that I observe narcissistic qualities in myself.
It’s like saying I’m happy, or sad, or hungry. That doesn’t mean I’m manic, or depressed, or anorexic. It’s just a declaration of what I am noticing about myself.
I tend to default to thinking about myself, always. I think of my own comfort, ambitions, and feelings before I think about anyone else’s. And I also tend to think I’m pretty great.
Again, this is not a thing I’m ashamed of. I think that all of us have one part of life we focus on more than anything else. Some focus on themselves, some focus on their families.
Some focus on work, or animals. All of us have one thing we focus on the most. And oftentimes, that thing is determined by who we are as people and how we were brought up.
I don’t worry too much about why I am this way. Part of it might be that growing up, I was often told by my parents and teachers and friends that I was really smart and capable.
And whether or not that was true at the time, I definitely catch myself thinking I’m very smart and capable in situations where there is very little evidence to support either of those claims.
Now, this isn’t even necessarily a bad thing. An overabundance of confidence lets me start projects others would be hesitant to embark on, and that confidence can be very appealing to other people when you want them to help.
In fact I’d say the only downside to the way I am is that if I don’t pay attention, I can hurt other people without knowing about it.
I often preach self-awareness as being a really important quality, and this is part of the reason why. There’s nothing wrong with thinking you’re awesome—I think more people should.
But if you’re unaware that you default to thinking that even when it’s not true—like if you think you’re qualified to be President of the United States even though you have no experience and are kind of a terrible person—you can get other people into some trouble.
I’ve spoken a lot to friends with anxiety and depression, and listened to people like John Green and Wil Wheaton who are very open about their struggles with mental illness.
Most of them say that one of the most helpful tools in their fight against their mental illness is just recognizing that it exists.
Simply knowing that a self-invalidating thought COMES from your depression and not from any rational part of your mind makes it easiER to dismiss that thought—even if it’s not necessarily EASY.
Again, my narcissism is not in any way equatable to a mental illness. For one thing, it helps me more often than it hurts me. But it can be harmful to other people, and that is what I try to watch out for.
I work constantly to recognize whether the way I feel about myself and other people has a legitimate cause, or if it’s just because of the way my mind tends to default towards thinking I’m great.
For that reason, I think, or hope, that I’m more helpful than harmful to the people in my life—including myself. Because I actively spend time trying to consider others’ points of view and see things beyond my own lens.
That doesn’t come naturally to me, but I know that if I don’t do it, if I let my own personal biases run rampant, I could be incredibly destructive to the people I know and love.
I would act only out of my own self-interest, whether it harmed my friends and family or not. I would assume I have all the things I have in life because I deserved them, and not because others helped me get here.
And I would constantly seek new ways to increase my own power and success, no matter who I had to hurt on the way up.
And that’s one of the reasons I’m scared right now, Rebel—not just for me, but for the people who society has already fashioned into rungs just waiting for some much more powerful narcissist to climb.
That’s it for today, Rebel. A quick reminder—I’m now offering writer training as part of my Patreon. Click right up there to check it out if you want to learn how I do what I do as an indie author. We’ve got new videos coming every Wednesday, and they’re kind of great.
Thank you so much for watching. I will see my patrons on Wednesday, and the rest of you on Friday. Byyye.