Last night was very very dark for me. However, today there was more light… more growth, and more in terms of profound personal realizations.
The key thing I figured out today? I get all my approval through external sources.
My SO and I had gone to Halloween shop to have a look around. We had split up so she could go find some things. I was just wandering.
There was this rotating rack of humorous placards – and I saw several that I thought were very funny. My immediate urge was to jump up, run to my SO, say ‘hey come here and check this out’, and then bask in the fact that 1) I’d found something cool, 2) I was willing to share it with her, 3) and SHE was going to like it because I did!
All of this just feeds right into my theory that NPD is 10-20% related to lacking an UNDERSTANDING of empathy, and 80-90% childish bad behavior on the part of someone who was never forced to grow up.
This incident falls under the childish behavior category. It was a 7 year old trying to gain approval via external objects that HE picked out… Validation by proxy.
So – I stood there and processed this for a moment, coming to the realization that I MUST LEARN TO APPRECIATE MY OWN INNER EXPERIENCE! It may have taken 5 minutes instead of 1 before I ran over to get my SO (couldn’t fully resist the urge), but standing there and coming to this realization was yet another truly profound moment for me.
Instead of FEELING this URGE to gain approval of my experience through others, I MUST learn to find the joy for myself – and just be with that. Just find joy in my own internal experience without feeling the NEED to SHARE it in order to enjoy it.
Instead, standing there at the carousel rack, I should have said – “WOW, these are cool. I REALLY LIKE THESE”. I should have taken the time to enjoy them in the moment. And then I should have just kept moving… being present in my NEXT experience.
It’s fine for me to say something like “hey I saw a cool thing and this is what it said” while walking out the door or in the car, or bringing her over to take a look at something that really has an AUTHENTIC appeal to HER as a PERSON!!!
What’s NOT appropriate is living vicariously through the internal experience of others – and trying to find your approval and validation that way.
So… This one was big for me – and it’s something I’m going to be working with for a while…
Now – based on my experiences so far, I feel that this is all TRUE. However, I am also aware that TEACHING a NARCISSIST to APPRECIATE THEMSELVES sounds like the absolute WORST option.
For a while now I’ve had the attitude that I need to snuff out my narcissism. This really is the wrong approach though. Instead of trying to NOT be a narcissist, I am finding that I’m getting more value out of trying to cultivate HEALTHY NARCISSISM!
See – everyone is narcissistic. It’s a basic underlying function of the ego-driven self. Narcissism exists on a continuum though. ‘Normal’ people have a healthy degree of narcissism that is maintained in balance with everything else they are. A NARCISSIST ONLY HAS HIS (or her) NARCISSISM. There’s nothing to balance out the rest of the internal human equation.
One of the many things I’m pulling into my healing process now, is the idea that I need to LEARN BALANCE. I need to lower my narcissism on the continuum scale, and build up all of those OTHER essential inner qualities that I’ve ignored during my 35 year vacation from reality.
For me, a big part of establishing this balance is about learning to find joy in my own internal experience.