Being a positive leader isn’t just about having the requisite skills. Ultimately, leadership is about character.
Thanksgiving means more than a single holiday. Responsible people render it daily in their undertakings. But in this age of rampant narcissism and entitlement, cultivating gratitude is difficult. So, far too few give thanks with their actions. Rather, they take, use, exploit, and injure – all for their own gratification. And they do such things without compunction because they feel entitled.
I have much for which to be grateful. Your validation and promotion of my work has always inspired and sustained me. It’s impossible to say how much such support means to me. So, from the bottom of my heart, “Thank you!”
Years of research solidly point to one crucial factor when it comes to character health: the ability to delay gratification. Such an ability must be carefully cultivated. But in an indulgent world, just learning when and how to say “no” to oneself is difficult. And actually imposing a “no” is even more so.
Folks devoid of empathy will hurt you without compunction. They might regret certain consequences, but they rarely experience genuine remorse or contrition. How someone acts when they’ve hurt you tells all you really need to know about their character.
Malignant narcissists disdain all the qualities most of us think make us decent human beings. They see them as signs of weakness. And they see them as proof of others’ inferiority. That’s what enables them to feel superior. And that’s why they feel entitled to prey.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about disturbed characters it’s this: They all-too-readily take ownership of what they haven’t earned or merited.
Researchers now know the reason disturbed characters have a hard time developing a healthy sense of obligation. When you feel entitled, you simply can’t feel obliged. You have to feel indebted before you can feel obliged. And you have to be deeply grateful before you can feel indebted.
Culture and character have an intertwined and interdependent relationship. And they impact each other in some very dynamic ways. More character-impaired individuals now populate the culture. And they have “enabled” the erosion of principles once widely revered and promoted.
Crafty covert-aggressors know how to make you doubt. In your gut you feel they’re trying to play you. But they can have you feeling like you’re a fool for thinking so. You question your judgment. You can even question your sense of reality and your sanity. In a nutshell, that’s the “gaslighting” effect.
You can confront compensatory grandiosity with relative ease and safety. The vulnerable narcissist merely seeks reassurance. So, the more you reassure them, the better they inwardly begin to feel about themselves. But you can’t deal with or confront the truly egomaniacal narcissist with the same ease or in the same way.