In our selfie-obsessed, celebrity-driven culture, it’s easy to develop narcissist tendencies almost without realising it. But when everything’s about you, it’s almost impossible to take criticism, have meaningful conversations, or practise any kind of self-reflection.
Spend just 5 minutes to take this Narcissist Personality Quiz, or simply ask yourself these questions: Do you often have a grandiose sense of importance? Feel an overwhelming need for admiration? Are you unable to take criticism? Blame others without regard to what you’ve done wrong? Do people usually describe you as cocky or self-centred?
If you can answer yes to most of these questions, then you probably have some narcissistic tendencies. And while it’s never easy to look in the mirror and see less than perfection, if you recognise yourself in the above description, you may appreciate some guidance to help you change your ways.
Try following the 7 tips below to help you better relate to others and in a healthier and more compassionate way. It may take a bit of time, but keep at it. You may be surprised by the results.
Try putting yourself in other people’s shoes and look at things from their perspective. It’s easy to become indifferent to situations and emotions that do not apply to us, but when you allow yourself to feel what others might feel, you learn to be more responsible towards the welfare of others. Although it is impossible to actually experience the situation of others, imagining how they might feel in such situations is a good place to start.
Be Open to Criticism
Criticism can be difficult to hear for anyone, but probably one of the most difficult challenges for someone with narcissistic tendencies is to start listening to – and accepting – the criticisms of others. You might not like what they are saying, and it can hurt at first, but this practice actually helps you to stay grounded. Take the time and begin to really listen to the opinions that others have of you.
Ask About Others
One of the key traits of a narcissist is the non-stop talking about oneself. There’s one very simple way to remedy that: every time you have the urge to talk about yourself, ask others about their day first. Talking and asking more about others works wonders in terms of changing their perception of you and your perception of yourself. Listen to others, and they’ll be more willing to listen to you too.
Don’t Expect Praise
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to receive a compliment or two, but narcissists often believe that they are entitled to praise and compliments. Don’t do something just so that you can receive the praise of others. When this becomes the end goal, everything else loses its meaning. Do it simply because you love doing it, and because achieving your goal matters most to you.
Show a Little Kindness
People with narcissistic tendencies find it hard to be nice to others because they usually see things from a self-centred point of view. For example, they might not greet their neighbours because they consider them to be total strangers. Or they don’t thank the waitress because they’ve paid for the service anyway. However, practising kindness sharpens your skill of being mindful toward others, and also takes you away from selfishness – a habit narcissists are often accused of.
Give Yourself Time to Heal
You might be grieving about broken relationships and missed opportunities brought about by your narcissistic ways, but it is impossible to fix things overnight, particularly if the situation has been going on for years. Give yourself the time and opportunity to heal instead of always fighting back. Use this time to allow yourself to feel those pains – they’re a natural part of grieving – and then let them go.
Ask For Help If You Need It
Your journey on the path to curbing your narcissistic tendencies may not be easy. While there may be times when you’re pushed to the limit, it’s important to know that you don’t have to do it on your own. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy, may be helpful – and is often recommended – as a way of learning how to better understand the characteristics of your behaviour and how this affects the quality of your relationships. CBT can help you to replace your attitudes and behaviours with healthier, more positive ones. If your narcissistic behaviour is significantly interfering with your life, consider psychotherapy as an option.
Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications and specialises in business and career development.