Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's all about me

I just read a NY times article arguing the existence of an increase of narcissism over the past 30 years, based on studies of song lyrics. Statistics show that the words "I" and "me" have appeared more frequently in popular song lyrics over the past several decades, and these results have been correlated with results of a "Narcissism Personality Inventory" questionnaire. The article also suggested that these increases may also be correlated with higher levels of loneliness and depression. The author admitted that all these correlations might be a bit of a stretch, but that there was merit in the studies done.

Personally, I feel that the increase in the words "I" and "me" in song lyrics over the past 30 years is necessarily a reflection of narcissism, but more a reflection of self-absorbence, be it positive or negative. Looking back on the times when I felt loneliest and most depressed, I have to admit that those were the times I was most self-absorbed. I spent much of my time thinking about how ugly I was, how much I suck, how people had wronged me in the past, how I sounded in a particular conversation, wondering how other people perceived me, why don't people come and talk to me, why does no-one care about me, etc. etc.

If I compare those sad times to my current, generally happy lifestyle, I notice that I am now much more interested in many specific other peoples' lives. I care more about my family and friends and am not worried about how they view me.

However, I do feel I am still self-absorbed so I am trying to apply these tips to become a less self-absorbed person:
1. Actively talk to people and start conversations (instead of waiting for people to come talk to me).
2. Converse without talking about myself or what I've done/I'll be doing at all. (this one is hard for me)
3. Reach out and talk to my family and friends more often; keep in touch often and see how they're doing.
4. Help people I don't know without them asking.
5. Help people I DO know without them asking.
6. Ask people more questions about their lives and opinions.
7. Not worry about how people perceive me. (this one is really hard for me)

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