On the Bearing Life® Podcast this week, my friend and coach, Dr. Les Carter, offered us a clear understanding of the term, narcissism. The label narcissist is often thrown around without a true understanding of the word.

A range represents the full spectrum of narcissism and we learned a variety of behaviors that exemplify this very real disorder.

Narcissists are self-enamored, concerned with their own personal agenda, have a high need to control, manipulate, and exploit others, want to be superior, have very low levels of empathy, and operate within their own reality. They make up facts and truth to go along with whatever their agenda requires – making it very difficult to engage with them.

We can move toward a narcissistic mindset when we become defensive or accusing and lure others into a non-productive pattern of communication.

We all display selfishness; it is human nature. When we disregard someone else’s needs, feelings, or perceptions, because of our own agenda. When we want control, are inflexible or defensive. Each of us has our own degree and pattern of self-concern.

How can we have a healthy mindset and positive engagement with others?

Healthy individuals own selfish tendencies or behaviors and seek to become more self-less.

In a healthy mindset, we choose to talk about the conflict and practice empathy, humility, patience, and self-restraint.

We can continue to move toward a healthy mindset by working on these things:

  1. Be curious about others. Narcissists want to just give advice or share their story while ignoring or minimizing the other person’s situation. We need empathy, care, understanding, and patience with one another. Let’s engage with others in their pain.
  2. Encourage others to tell their story. Even in the uncomfortable, awkward space, allow them to share.
  3. Set good boundaries around relationships. Know who you are, what you believe, and don’t let others define you.

Listen to this episode on Narcissism to learn more and find out how to spot characteristics of narcissism.