Narcissism has been defined as an “excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance”. I don’t care much for this definition because unfortunately, it describes me.
I think what we are talking about here is nothing less than complete and utter selfishness. Selfishness then is being completely centered on oneself with no regard for others or their needs. It is thinking more highly of ourselves than we should and it lacks sympathy and/or empathy for others.
This is a battle that I have been facing all my life but just recently did I come to understand better how and why I have acted selfishly in the past.
Having grown up as an only child, I never really learned to share. Most of the presents under the Christmas tree were mine and if there was a child’s birthday party at my house, their gift became mine. As I look back on my adult life, I see now how this affected many (if not all) my relationships. I see how I would, in subtle ways, manipulate situations so that I was more favored, or made to “look good”.
Because of my so called “low esteem,” I craved man’s approval and worked hard to gain acceptance and praise. When the praise did not come, I would take it personally, and it would cause me to spiral out of control. In response, I often wondered what was wrong with me. The truth is, I still take things personally and think impure thoughts when people don’t respond back to me. Especially in email and text. If my Facebook and Instagram posts aren’t liked I usually wonder why, assuming that others don’t like me. This causes me to Spiral yet again.
Being narcissistic and selfish causes me to think that I am at the center of everything and that everybody is“probably” thinking about me.
This came to the forefront this past week.
I had expressed interest in contributing to a blog site. I had been in conversation with the founders but once I submitted some examples of my writings, the communication abruptly stopped. At first, I was really let down and began to think that I was not good enough to share my journey and my understanding of the life that Jesus has called his people to.
The Blog site I speak of was Dead Men.
I thought I got over it, and I “moved” on.
Out of the blue, however, I got a request from Dead Men asking if I was still interested in contributing and I very quickly said no. I was getting even.
Little did I realize that the founders were having their own personal struggles and challenges that caused them to stop writing and promoting their content (selfish people don’t consider what might be happening on the other end). To top it off I told my wife what was going on and she quickly expressed disappointment. She thought it was wild that I would even pass up the opportunity to contribute.
I quickly repented and indicated that I was, in fact, interested.
This situation and the memory of other past failures have caused me to once again take a good hard look at my life and my motivation for doing what I do. God is still working on me and I have to surrender my selfishness each day.
I pray that God would use me for His glory; not mine. And that my mind would be set on Him.
I pray that my concern for others would be genuine. And I pray that my focus won’t be on how good I look caring for someone.
God is patient and kind and I am glad He has not left me in my selfishness. He continues to take away or limit those things that I take pride in. He has not abandoned me but He has and is disciplining me for my good. It’s been painful, but in the end, it will reap a harvest of righteousness.