As the age of Social Media progresses, it would appear Andy Warhol was more than a mere pioneer of Pop Culture…his 1960’s “15 minutes of fame” prediction suggests he also possessed god-like abilities to predict the future. With every man – and his dog (literally) – having upwards of 1000+ followers on one or more social media channels, everyone is having, or has already had, their 15 minutes of fame.
But the rise of social media was not alone. With it, came the rise of the selfie, and with that, came an apparent infestation of narcissists – if you believe the squillions of articles on the internet that suddenly started crying out about it. To cut a long story short…take one too many a selfie and suddenly you are a narcissist.
Narcissism was born from Greek Mythology, based upon Narcissus whom is said to have never loved anything but his own reflection in a pool of water…in which he later drowned after falling in whilst admiring himself a little too closely. As such, the very definition of narcissism is to love oneself to their own detriment. Interesting, right?
Let’s take a step back, and think about our own world for a moment. Ponder this: have we, or have we not, had a mass epidemic on our hands of insecurity, body dysmorphia and confidence issues? Have we not, for decades now, been declaring societally that women are suffering severely from lack of confidence? Wasn’t there even a point there, where women were posting selfies out of pure insecurity, with bait captions simply to gain societal validation? Oh wait, that still happens? My bad.
Isn’t it interesting then, how suddenly, we are surrounded by narcissists…I mean, they’re everywhere! Filling our Instagrams, our Facebooks, god forbid our goddamn LinkedIns! It would appear we have completely missed the step, and the concept, of simply having self confidence, and gone straight to drowning ourselves. It’s truly extraordinary…
Except, maybe instead of suddenly experiencing a plague of narcissism, we have simply experienced, yet again, a media-fuelled mass hysteria. Oh, media, you cheeky thing you, influencing more drama and controversy yet again!
You see, to simply love yourself, or even value yourself, is not narcissism. To think highly of oneself, and publicly voice this, is also not narcissism. Heck, walking around proclaiming your shit doesn’t stink isn’t even narcissism. Narcissism is, in its most basic definition, the act of loving yourself to the point that there couldn’t possibly be anything else in this world better than you. And mate, I’ve seen one too many memes worshipping pizza to know nobody in society believes this.
Why are we so quick to hate upon and judge those that do decide to value themselves, albeit publicly? Why is this the issue, public proclamation of self love? Isn’t this an act to inspire? We roll our eyes at the bait captions posted to gain validation, but why do we also choose to roll our eyes at the blatant posts of self appreciation and confidence? Is it jealousy, or is it simply society’s innate nature to be furious about something, anything?
We don’t have a narcissism problem, we have a melodramatic media problem. To gain clicks, to spark a frenzy, they write inflammatory articles about narcissism which appear in their feed right next to the article they just wrote about teen suicide rates and how society is to blame for unrealistic beauty standards. It’s a toxic vat that we can’t seem to climb out of, swirling around and around in a pool of clickbait, sensationalised headlines and fake news.
I know this little article will be lost amongst it all, but oh how I wish we could stop cutting strong, confident women and men off at the knees. Let them remain tall, and proud, and act as an inspiration to us all.
It would truly be great, also, if we could stop being so flippant with the vocabulary we use. I’m all for expanding it – but don’t disregard the extremity and context of a word. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard of anyone in recent times drowning out of pure love for their own reflection.