Thursday, November 20, 2014

Me, Me, Me?

It didn't really occur to me until David Brooks suggested it: Am I "Introspective or Narcissistic?"
The question is: How do you succeed in being introspective without being self-absorbed?

In order to avoid complacency and stagnation, one must contemplate. Mull. Ponder. Self-dissection must be practiced as a regular habit. 

But that would mean, wouldn't it, hours spent on "Did I say the right thing?" "What did they think of me?" "Does my outfit portray the sufficient level of practicality yet style that adequately reflects my personality?"

I think I'm doing it wrong. 
At the same time, your self-worth and identity are at stake in every judgment you make about yourself.
This combination of unfathomability and “at stakeness” is a perfect breeding ground for self-deception, rationalization and motivated reasoning.
When people examine themselves from too close, they often end up ruminating or oversimplifying. 
Great. I am doing it wrong.
Oversimplifiers don’t really understand themselves, so they just invent an explanation to describe their own desires. People make checklists of what they want in a spouse and then usually marry a person who is nothing like their abstract criteria. 
AAAAH! Well, that explains a lot. 

Brooks presents three means to healthy introspection:

1) Give yourself time following something upsetting before facing it. When one is in it, one can forget that the world does not rotate around one. With space, there is perspective in the grand scheme of things.

2) Talk to yourself like a crazy person. Apparently, viewing oneself as "you" instead of "me" gave the sort of distance necessary to prevent narcissism and healthy advice giving. Yes, healthy advice from yourself.

3) Life is long. It really is. When seeing an incident in terms of the hefty span of human existence, eh, it's not so important. Don't fuss over every little thing, sheesh. 

Okay, recovering ruminator at work.


Daniel Saunders said...

This sounds familiar! (Except for the bit about practical and stylish outfits.) Seriously, it is a worry to be self-aware, not self-absorbed and not to turn my head into an echo chamber for what I want to hear about myself (which is often unpleasant, as I tend to self-criticism), not to mention religion, politics etc.

As for point two, I sometimes think to myself in the second person. Also in the first person plural. I have never told anyone this before and am now slightly worried about being locked up, so I'm glad to hear it's OK.

Princess Lea said...

As a writer (a title I've pompously adopted) I describe my life in my head like so: "She launched out of bed at the alarm's blare."