What About Me?
Narcissism and Reaching Out for a Real Conversation
I was having sushi with my friend Cindy and we were discussing what we feel is an increase in Narcissism. We wondered whether the characters we love to adore like the new BBC version of Sherlock Holmes, House’s House and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory and Reality TV personalities are encouraging us to think that being the center of attention is more important than giving attention. Because Cindy and I love a great conversation we fear the loss of conversation to our culture. If people see models of people continually talking about their need will it change the back and forth talking and listening that create deep conversation and deeper liferelationships?
Cindy shared a great insight. When her stepson was diagnosed with Narcissism she learned in family counseling that when a narcissistis with people and is not talking about himself or does not have your full complete attention he disappears. In that moment, he feels totally alone and invisible as if he has dropped into a deep and endless void. Suddenly a lot of attention seeking behavior I had seen in narcissists made sense. What would you do if you were standing right in front of someone and suddenly became invisible and cried out but no one heard you? In his twenties Cindy’s step son’s counselor gave him a simple tool saying, "Whenever you notice yourself talking about yourself stop and ask a question about the other person." I know what you’re thinking as you read that. No, not the old comedy question from a self-absorbed person, "I have talked enough about me. " "What do you think about me?" But instead a real question. Asking more questions is good advice for all of us. Life is much richer when we reach out and connect. Instead of dropping into the void each time we seek to see to the heart of others we are lifted up. This week notice how many TV characters and personalities glorify being the center of attention. And ask other people what they think. In the quest to connect here are some great reach out questions.
How are you?What is going on in your life? And to get more depth. What else is going on? It is amazing how much you learn when you ask "what else." How do you feel about….? (Insert what is going on in their life.) And one of my personal favorites and part of my "Reach Out" motivational speech, What is the best thing that has happen to you in the last week?