Bragging and Narcissism versus being valued for who we are

Ahhh …. back home again, however humble, after a holiday away. I thought I would do lots of blogging but it didn’t turn out that way.

Although my coffee isn’t as good as my aunt’s “second cup,” insulated coffee thermos kind (on my list of luxuries for someday), I enjoy sipping it while I peruse – especially when I find an article as interesting as one on how faceb.ook and other elements of our culture encourage, or perhaps reflect? our growing trend to be narcissistic.

This touches a nerve with me because I think the more we have invested in being perfect, successful, and in basing our pride in ourselves at what we do – the more brittle and stressed and vulnerable we are. If we are convinced of our value just because we are us, if we know we are loved because of who we are and we don’t need to prove anything to anyone, I think we are so much happier. At least, I have found that once I could let go of being successful and feeling that disaster would happen if I made a misstep, life became a whole lot better. (Of course there are many times I fall into this trap still).

I do feel that we have an obligation to use our gifts and talents to the best of our ability, and strive to learn, grow, improve and make the world a better place. It’s just that success isn’t the end-all and be-all. I guess it connects to a statement that made a real impression on my this summer … in our society, people are valued for what they produce and not for who they are. Thus a person who has Down’s syndrome, or is elderly, may not be seen as having the same worth as someone who is a celebrity.

Having this idea spelled out so clearly – to value others not for what they produce but appreciating and loving who they are – will really help me in the coming teaching year. Not that I ever (to my knowledge) valued high-achieving students over others. I have often emphasized effort and intention over results. But I want to remind myself to value, love, appreciate those in my life just for who they are right now, before thinking of how to push them to expand their horizons and develop their ability to persevere, take responsibility, etc.

The cbc article about how social media plays into this trend of relentlessly managing our image seems to have be drawn in from a post in the Wall Str.eet Jou.rnal (both links included below) and you may be interested to read them. I think it would take way less energy to just be ourselves instead of to be setting up an image and then trying to be the image. But in order to accept ourselves we have to be at peace with our weaknesses and failures … and where is the support and learning for how to do that in our current culture??

cbc link:
WSJ link: