What really makes you extraordinary – and warrants both recognition and affirmation – is what you do with your gifts and how you conduct yourself in your relationships. This is the very essence of merit.
All of us need to do a much better job of helping our children develop healthy self-esteem. Parents especially need to be mindful of this. And that doesn’t mean giving our children ego-boosts all the time. Rather, it means helping them develop a properly balanced sense of self-worth.
For the sake of our emotional, psychological, and spiritual health, it’s always a good idea to strive for balance in most areas of life. But when it comes to our character development, nowhere is the need for balance greater than with respect to our sense of self-importance or self-worth.
The grateful character feels obliged, not entitled. And the grateful character pays his or her debts.
If you want to help make a person more narcissistic, give them lots of recognition, praise, and reinforcement for their natural “gifts.” But if you want them to have more healthy self-regard, be sure to recognize them for what they do with what they’ve been given.
Learning to overcome our natural narcissistic inclinations is what the process of sound character development is all about.
There’s a continuum of severity to character impairments, ranging from mild character immaturity to severe character dysfunction. Not all the difficult people in your life will meet the criteria established for a true character “disorder.” But that doesn’t mean that some of these folks aren’t significantly disturbed characters capable of making your life miserable. The degree of character impairment a person has, however, does have a lot to do with how likely it is they might change (with the right type of intervention).
Praising or affirming children for things they cannot legitimately claim credit (e.g., their looks, their intelligence, their innate talents, etc.) is the way we most often foster an unhealthy narcissism in them (because the aforementioned characteristics are nature-conferred as opposed to self-developed), an unfortunate circumstance only compounded by the fact that we rarely recognize and reinforce our children for what they can rightfully claim credit: the responsible exercise of their will. Recognizing and reinforcing these things helps engender healthy self-respect.
Because we live in the age of entitlement, there are far too many among us who think that respect is a fundamental right as opposed to something that rightfully need be earned. Folks with an entitlement mentality often demand respect, even when they’ve habitually conducted themselves in a manner that doesn’t merit it.
If you believe many of the things you read and hear about these days, just about everyone suffers from some kind of addiction. And despite how commonplace it’s become, I’m always a bit shocked (and outraged) when some disturbed character claims victim status by blaming his or her reprehensible conduct on an addiction of some … Continue reading Addiction, Codependence, PTSD, Anxiety and Self-Esteem