It seems as though lately it’s difficult to avoid hearing about narcissism—one has only to turn on any coverage of this unique Presidential cycle to be exposed to any number of armchair diagnoses, mostly involving a particular candidate who is a proverbial poster child for this topic. But are such assessments throwaway observations, or do they reveal something deeper about the current direction of society in its valuation of certain narcissistic traits? And is narcissism a trait that signals power and good leadership?
Loneliness, dissatisfaction with your job, physique, finances, overwhelming feelings of inferiority—these are the hallmarks of sabotaging self-doubt, as I discussed in a previous column. These aren’t unique to modern society, as literature abounds with examples of jealousy and low self-esteem (see Jane Austen for any number of examples).
The beginning of the year is a reminder to take stock of all the ways we can improve on what we do and ways in which we can make positive changes. Most of us want improved well-being, and often this comes from maintaining a positive outlook. However, it can be difficult when so much of our time is spent at work, which is why it is paramount to create a positive work environment.
Many people report that the end of the year is a stressful time. For some, the end of the year marks the realization that they didn’t get to all the things they wanted to accomplish, the bank account isn’t what they’d hoped it would be, or there is disappointment of another year marked in an unsatisfying job or domestic situation. For others, the end of the year brings the holiday season and family gatherings, requiring either patience to emotionally endure strained or complicated relationships or the very real stress of holiday shopping and the costs that come with it. Also, from Thanksgiving on, people are told they need to be in the holiday spirit and should spread peace and gratitude.
Psychological study is deeply rooted in humans’ ability to empathize with those around them. In a recent column, I discussed studies done on the forgiveness centers of the brain, which appear to be in the more evolved, less primal, sections. The studies suggest that empathy, required for forgiveness, has evolved as a mechanism for self-preservation.
The most significant component of success is self-confidence, and the number one killer of confidence is self-doubt. This includes self-defeating habits. Part of this comes from focusing on pleasing others rather than pursuing your own goals or fulfilling your own needs.