Narcissism and Gratitude
Most narcissists can’t be truly grateful. Why? Because by nature narcissism and the capacity for gratitude are at opposite ends of a spectrum. To put it simply, humble hearts take nothing for granted and appreciate whatever they have. Narcissists, on the other hand, tend to feel entitled, deserving, etc.. Accordingly, they tend to take almost everything and everyone for granted. As they see it, whatever they value in any way ought rightfully belong to them, anyway.
I’ve asserted many times that narcissism is a spectrum phenomenon. It’s a dimension of character, to be sure. But it varies as to both type and degree. And the more seriously narcissistic a person is, the more entitled and expectational they’re likely to be. That’s why most narcissists can’t be truly grateful. They might seem satisfied when they have what they feel they’re owed. But when they feel denied what they think they deserve, watch out!
Gratitude in a Narcissistic Age and Culture
Genunine gratitude and feelings of entitlement are incompatible attitudes. And while it’s always been a challenge to find room in the heart for gratitude, it’s harder still in an environment and culture steeped in attitudes of entitlement. We have much, and we’ve largely come to expect things. So, it’s easy, for example, to forget the abundance we enjoy when we think we’ve had to wait too long in the checkout line. And it’s easy to take for granted all the creature comforts we enjoy that generations before us could barely imagine were even possible.
Mounds of research has been done on the the benefits of being grateful. To put it succinctly, gratitude is good for you. And gratitude is not a matter of abundance. Rather, it’s about appreciating what you do have. So, there’s great truth in the adage that if you have your life and your health, you already have everything.
No matter what your particular circumstances, I hope you find some room in your heart for appreciating the blessings you enjoy. And if you’ve been having a rough time because of some toxicity in your relationships, I hope you find a source of both genuine help and comfort in my books and other work.