While the concept of narcissism dates back thousands of years, narcissistic personality disorder only became recognised as a mental illness within the last 2 decades. But how did narcissism come to be?
Working as a communication skills trainer in Asia and Europe for the last 20 years, brought me into contact with many people who shared a common ‘worst fear’: public speaking. “Why public speaking?” I would enquire. The answer is always a fear of rejection. “Rejected for what?” I’d probe. The answers I’d hear were often a resounding fear of not being good enough, others’ judgement or for not delivering what the audience expects of them.
There was a time when married couples would stay together for life. Despite a lack of happiness in the relationship, often rooted in unhealthy co-dependency between two partners, marriage wasn’t easily dissolved. People would choose to stay ‘glued’ together in the name of a commitment they made many years before. Often because it was financially more comfortable. Other times because they lacked the courage to take a leap of faith and enter the unknown. And more times than not, because they were used to conforming to the expectations of a hypocritical society.
Through my own studies and life experience over the years, I came to realise that we can be compulsive and addicted to any kind of relationship, even one with a friend or colleague. The most detrimental reality is that often we don’t or can’t recognise it and can live a life going through toxic relationship cycles until we die.
Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) teaches us that a simple change of words can make the difference in how we speak to ourselves and others. This is because of the nature of the words, for example, ‘lessons’ or ‘experiences’ are far less judgemental than ‘mistakes’. The knowledge that the effect that language and empowering words has on boosting and transforming our reality is not exclusive to NLP practitioners or trainees.
98% of the Earth’s population is not self-actualised, according to Abraham Maslow. They therefore, act out from a space of unconditional or ‘inauthentic love’ for themselves and others. I believe that, no matter how much self-empowerment work I put myself through, becoming a self-actualised or authentic human being is a never ending process.
Happiness is being aware of our own gifts. To do so requires us to build awareness around our strengths and flaws, our light and our shadow. And once we've developed that kind of awareness, happiness is about making use of and sharing what we have discovered and built for ourselves with others so that they may learn and build happiness for themselves.