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.
The takers and users among us aren’t just arrested in their character development. They’re spiritually arrested, too. Humble gratitude for the gift of life is a linchpin of healthy character.
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.”
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.
Narcissistic bullies act out of a sense of entitlement. And they injure without compunction because they lack shame and empathy.
Character matters more than ever in our age of widespread narcissism – a culture of entitlement, relativism, and permissiveness that has kept too many from outgrowing their infantile egocentricity and developing the character necessary to be socially responsible.
An unfortunate number of folks bring all sorts of pain into their lives because they neither love themselves enough nor know how to love themselves properly. But self-love can be pathological, too, which is what the narcissism spectrum is all about.
Environments can be structured in a way that promote – even reward narcissistic behavior. Narcissism was once regarded as both an aberration and a significant disturbance or disorder of character. But a culture of entitlement, permissiveness, and relativism has helped make it more the norm. And sadly, in far too many aspects of modern life, narcissism has actually become quite adaptive.
Narcissists get “stuck” at the egocentric stage of emotional, psychological, and spiritual development. And their self-absorption keeps them from paying attention to and learning from what only caring, intimate relations with others can teach them.