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It's Not All About You!

Last week I discussed the rise of narcissism in today’s society and the reasons for this.  Today my discussion shifts to changing one’s views and fixation on self.  In therapy, changing an individual’s attitudes and distorted perceptions through cognitive reorientation can be very effective.  In other words, changing the person’s belief that they are almost perfect.  Also in need of changing are distorted expectations and the tendency to devalue others, mistrust others’ judgments and to view people as simple-minded.  An added goal is to help the person be more sensitive to the needs of others and accept the responsibilities of shared social living.  Narcissists benefit from learning how to listen, how to have compassion for others, and focus on others’ needs instead of their own.  If you can identify characteristics of narcissism in yourself, you might want to spend time serving others through volunteer work, giving to less fortunate people or causes, limiting your self-promoting time, and focusing on developing deeper connections with people.  As parents attempting not to raise narcissists, we will benefit from being selective with our praise and rewards.  Many parents overcompensate with their children based on their deprived childhoods, which creates a sense of entitlement for their children.  Allow your children to earn privileges, money, and rewards through hard work, responsibilities, and achievement.  It means more to them, raises their self-esteem and gives them a sense of competence when they achieve things through effort, perseverance, and drive.  Provide a positive role model by being selfless at times, considerate of others most of the time and respectful all of the time.  Our children learn the most by observing our behaviors.

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