“I love your page. DM me if you want to collaborate.”
“Wow, awesome content! Check out my page and give me a follow.”
“Great post. If you want to reach more people I can help.”
Welcome to 2019 where it’s harder to spot a narcissist than ever before.
Because they’re everywhere.
. . . . . .
It’s all about ME
Over the past 10 years, diagnoses of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have risen so sharply that the rate of increase is now comparable to the rise in the rate of obesity.
While the research between narcissism and social media is not clear cut, studies conducted by the Department of Psychology at Appalachian State University have shown a direct link between the rise of NPD and social media use.
Specifically, they signalled out individuals who attempted to gain more followers and share their life with them as exhibiting narcissistic personality traits.
Academics argue over whether the rise in narcissism is correlated to increased use of social media but there’s one thing they’re clear on: the cultural increase in narcissism in the west is being directly reflected back in social media.
. . . . . .
You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
Do you ever feel conflicted about social media? Like you can’t quite make up your mind whether you love it or hate it or love-ate it?
If so you’re not alone.
There are some things I love about social media:
- I love some of the genuine connections I’ve made.
- I love being able to offer support and encouragement to people who are trying to make a positive difference in this world.
- I love the privilege of being able to follow along on their journey and watch them grow and flourish as human beings.
But I hate the sleazy and slimy like for like/follow for follow game that gets played out on there.
I find it despicable.
That instead of liking a piece of content because it genuinely appeals to us in some way or following someone’s account because we truly like their message and what they stand for, we cheapen the whole process by trying to get something in return.
I know we’re not all out there doing this. I know that there are people looking to use social media as a tool to connect with other people. If you’re reading this you’re most likely one of those people.
But we are the minority and that’s what makes me feel sad.
If all we’re ever doing is using social media to try and get something from other people then those wins will always feel hollow and we’ll always feel empty.
. . . . . .
I’m a Failure
By social media standards that is!
I started using Instagram four months ago and in that time I’ve amassed a grand total following of 158 souls.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you.
Not even 1,508.
But a teeny tiny 1–5–8.
I’m surprised I haven’t been told I’m the weakest link and fired from the platform because that’s a case of serious underperforming if ever there was one!
I don’t see that number changing any time soon either.
Because I’m awful at selling myself and more to the point I don’t like doing it.
Do you ever just want to connect with people on a deeper level without all of the hard-sell? To listen to other people’s stories, their triumphs, their tragedies, and their challenges? To offer love, support, and encouragement when they need it? And to have all that there for you when you need it?
I know. I’ve not used that in the right context but I’m sure you get what I mean!
I want more and I know you do too.
But the only way to get it is to resist the message we’re being sold.
That we have to hustle and grind and push and demand to be seen.
That there’s not enough to go around so we need to fight for our market share.
That we have to always be selling and taking.
That there’s no time to care.
Because that scaremongering scarcity message just isn’t true and we’re contributing to the creation of a poorer world if we choose to buy into it.
There’s another way.
A way that doesn’t involve us selling our souls to the devil in exchange for money.
It’s called being human.
. . . . . .
Be the Tortoise Who Cares
Forget about being the hare who’s going so fast that he doesn’t have time to care. He may reach the finish line before us but it’ll be a hollow victory when he finds himself standing there alone with nothing but money to keep him company.
Instead, be the tortoise. Be the kind of person who plods along with great strength, courage, and determination but who’s going slow enough to take note of your surroundings.
Those of us who take the time to look up notice those who are in need of a little bit of extra love, kindness, support, and encouragement. We stop to help. We gather up people along the way and make sure we’re going at a speed that everyone can keep up with.
We genuinely care about the people whose lives intersect with our own.
And you know what? Because of that those people are more likely to want to buy something from us when the time comes that we have something worthwhile to sell.
When all we do is take we wonder why we’re always left feeling empty.
When we seek to give our cup will always run over. Perhaps it won’t run over with millions of dollars but it will be full of all the things that matter – love, compassion, empathy, connection, belonging, integrity, and all the experiences and emotions a human life is comprised of.
. . . . . .
We Will All Get to Where We Need to Be
This, of course, may not be where we think we want or need to be but we will get to a place in life where the uniqueness of who we are enables us to do the most good.
Some of us will get there quickly, for others it will take longer but if we remain focused and determined each of us will get to where we need to be.
How we get there is up to us.
We can choose the quickest and most direct path possible but this path usually comes with a high price tag. If getting there quickly means compromising our integrity, not having the time or the desire to care about others and their journey’s, being solely focused on ourselves, is this the kind of path we want to be walking?
Or would we rather play the long game?
Yes, it might be slower. Yes, there might be a lot more twists and turns and speed-bumps and obstacles but if it allows us to pause and reach out our hand to others who need a bit of help along the way, and in turn have a hand extended to us, isn’t that worth the extra miles?
Life is not about the take. It’s about giving with no guarantee that you’ll ever see a return on your investment.
At the end of the day if we can live this way we’ll be rich in all the things that matter and that makes for a life well lived.