Self-esteem is about our sense of what we have going for us. Self-respect is more about what we have done with our gifts. And both reflect the kind of relationship we have with a “higher power.”
It’s hard to develop a balanced sense of self-worth in a culture that promotes and rewards egomaniacal thinking and a sense of entitlement.
Sound character requires that we outgrow our innate egocentricity. And it’s more than an emotional or psychological exercise. It’s a profound spiritual undertaking.
Spiritual growth and character growth go hand-in-hand. And such growth is all about relationship – to ourselves, others, and our concept of a “higher power.”
Our narcissistic culture has fueled much ego inflation. Healthy self-esteem will flourish when society decides to make character matter again.
Many folks these days have narcissistic features in their character. However, that doesn’t necessarily make them a narcissistic personality. Nor does it necessarily mean they have a personality or character disorder. It helps to understand the vast spectrum of narcissism.
Some problematic cultural norms have become so commonplace and deeply ingrained that we hardly ever think of them. Moreover, we rarely think of the impact they have on character formation. The values a culture promotes and the behaviors it rewards shape not only individuals but also the society at large. Societies of noble character are built upon people of solid character.
Some narcissists blame to avoid shame. But many narcissists today have no shame. Such narcissists blame only to justify their cruelty and attacks.
Narcissistic insults stem from clashes with reality. Reality sends the message: “You’re not as great or powerful as you think you are.” But grandiose characters don’t take such challenges lying down. They see them as both and affront and an insult. And that’s typically when they unleash their rage.
Narcissistic bullies act out of a sense of entitlement. And they injure without compunction because they lack shame and empathy.