The Wand of Narcissism

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This afternoon while skimming through Facebook, I ran across a link that directed me to a blog post which was written by a talented young lady, Kristin.  She just happens to be the younger sister of my beautiful Daughter-in-Law.  Kristin is traveling and studying overseas in Spain. She’s enrolled in one of those student/class exchange programs from the college she attends.  You know, those amazing programs where you get to travel the world while taking classes at an institution that is affiliated with the college that you are attending.  And, she takes full advantage of traveling the world on her weekends while living temporarily abroad.

When I was her age and in college, these programs were not as popular nor taken advantage of nearly as much as they are today.  Things have changed.  The world seems to have become smaller.  Or, perhaps it’s just that the young adults of today’s world have more opportunities laid at their feet and are far more likely to follow through will well thought out plans because of their fierce independence and higher education.

I like this.  I have adapted to the way the world has changed since I was a twenty-something.  I encourage my kids (all twenty-somethings) to travel.  It not only opens your eyes to new experiences and different cultures, but it also opens your world to new possibilities.

After reading through some of Kristin’s posts, especially the one that I am introducing to you here, I am more convinced than ever that through the experience of travel & education, young adults grow and mature in ways that benefit not only themselves but also society.  The beauty of all of this is that you don’t have to travel across the ocean to experience the blessings of travel.   Your world could be opened up simply going ten miles from where you live,  crossing a state line – or traveling to the village closest to you.

 


Selfies with Camels

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Kristin

I am writing this after 20 minutes checking myself out on social media. See this past weekend I went to Morocco and got amazing pictures so I naturallyyyy posted one to Instagram right away (go give me a like if you get the chance;)).   BUT WAIT- that was just an addition to the ones I was tagged in on Facebook. There was also the new profile pic I updated of my bestie and myself last week- that’s when this continuous clicking happened and the self-stalking binge started. These twenty minutes consisted of checking who liked what, guessing how people perceived the pics, and even assessing myself for many reasons but mostly to see how I came across and what people might think of me.

…………………LIKE WHAT??? I reread this sadly true paragraph and can’t help but feel shame for how narcissistic and self-centered the last 20 minutes of my life were. Twenty minutes of my life I will never get back. Twenty minutes of my life that could have been spent doing something way more productive or meaningful or touching. From conversations with friends and observations around me I can bet that MANY other people have been in this same situation.

We take selfies, have personal agendas, and feel an overwhelming need not only to talk about ourselves but also somehow bring us into any aspect of conversation. The selfie stick, deemed “the wand of narcissism,” has become so popular that museums across the country (for example the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the MFA in Houston) have banned its presence.

While listening to a sermon about spiritual maturity, a point that was made really stood out to me- “We are all born narcissists and learning to grow out of that is at the heart of our spirituality.” What exactly does this mean? Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that everyone needs their own personal time and space- it’s vital to one’s sanity and something I am a strong advocate for. But when 20 minutes of my day consists of looking at myself on social media, something’s wrong.

Confidence is cool and self-love is a must. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with loving yourself- everyone should! When we love ourselves we can notice the God given gifts we have. However when we use this realization for self-promotion, narcissism and self-centeredness take over.

When we learn to grow out of our narcissism, our spirituality can flourish. When we lose that blinding interest in ourselves, we start make room for an interest in others.This also happens when we liberate ourselves from our selfishness sometimes even just by becoming aware of it. There’s a quote I love that says, “Love is to reveal the beauty of someone to himself or herself.” When we stop obsessing over our own beauty and vanity, we have room to love and appreciate others. This promotes change and in comes Buddha:

Buddha

Realizing these self-obsessing habits is the first step for a narcissist. It’s something I struggle with and am trying to work on day by day. So next time I find myself beginning a self stalking binge on social media I’ll click my home page and go give some likes or a genuine comment. It’s all about baby steps…

In the meantime, here are some pictures of Morocco, including a selfie with a camel:

camel

reblogged from JOY by KristenBuehler11

isolation

I’ve gotten sidetracked these past few weeks.  Sidetracked from my daily routine.  Sidetracked from projects I was in the middle of.  Usually, I chalk up my short attention span to having too many things going on at once.  This time I am giving credit where credit is due.  My radiation treatments.

I am going to write about my radiation experience.  That can wait for now.  I find my writing getting far too maudlin.  I have equated this isolation period of my radiation to being in jail.  Not that I have ever been in jail.  But if I was, I imagine this is what it would feel like.  Cause you to go a little stir crazy.  Bring out the drama.  Woah is me.  Right now I want lighthearted.

Last time I was on Dr ordered bed rest,  I snuck out.  I went to the mall.  I went out for lunches.  I met up with friends.  I picked up a few hours at work.  This time I pretty much have to stick by the rules.  I have radiation seeping out of my pores.  I could infect some innocent bystander.   So for now, it’s jail time for me.

Bruce is sleeping in one section of the house.  I am in the other.  He takes my Dr’s orders very seriously.  He brings a tray of food up to our room , which I lovingly refer to as my jail cell, when he gets home from work.  He knocks on the door.  By the time I go to open it, he is gone but the tray is waiting there for me.  Like Magic!  Even in jail I imagine you get to see the warden. He is taking no chances!!  As I sit in my room and eat my iodine free diet (Dr ordered!!) I imagine how fast he must turn and run to get away before I get to the door.  I know what time he is going to come each day.  I can hear him in the kitchen preparing my tray.  Or I get a txt from him asking “Are you hungry?”  Of course I am hungry!  But I humor him.  “Well, I guess I could eat a little something.”  I am tempted to open the door next time right as he is about to knock.  The look on his face alone would be worth taking the risk.  I will not do it, tho.  He is far too good of a nurse to play that trick on.  He is irreplaceable.

Scottie is back home living with us right now.   Just  until he can afford to get out on his own.  He takes his cue from his dad.  No chances there!  He yells through my door every morning and night.  “Good Morning, Mom!!….Have a good day!!!…Night Mom, I Love You!!”  The apple does not fall far from the tree.  He is a good sport about it.  He sends me snapchats during the day.  Sometimes they are of him going for lunch.  Usually they are of him sitting at his desk at work or on his way home from work.  “2 Hours to go!!!!  Heading home!!” It’s almost as if I am sitting in the car with him.  This morning I got a TGIF!!! picture!!  No TGIF for me in Jail.  But each day is one day closer to parole.

Via snapchat and picture txt msgs, Lauren has probably gone the farthest above and beyond in helping me to forget I was in jail.  She works the night shift as an emergency room nurse.  I wake up to all kinds of exciting pics from her on snapchat.  Never of anything I am not supposed to see.  Usually of  her co-workers.  Or her desk.  Or a picture of her at 3am telling me she has just had an espresso.  The other day I woke up, in my cell,  and there were about 10 pictures waiting for me from her.  I was excited!!  It was like opening Presents up on Christmas morning!  I got to meet many nurses and Drs. on her shift.  They were all pretty much in the same pose.  A smiling stranger I had never met before waving at me.  Hello!!

Last night she went shopping.  She “brought” me along.  She was trying to pick up the last few pieces for an outfit she needs for a bachelorette party she is going to this weekend.  We shopped via Txt Msg.  She texted me pics of shoes.  Which pair should she get??  She texted me pics of clothes.  Which would go better to complete my outfit? 

We had a spirited txt message conversation on the pros and cons of Spanx.  Have you EVER tried to get into those??  You take them out of the package and if you fold them in half, they literally can fit in the palm of your hand.  At first you think that you bought the wrong size.  After reading the sizing chart again, you realize you didn’t.  Huh?? I am supposed to squeeze into those!!?   First rule of Spanx ~  you need to decide which is more important to you.  Walking around looking lumpy and being able to breathe, or looking smoothed out while slowly suffocating.  I’ve decided that I’d rather look lumpy than go through that torture.  She said it is an Olympic event trying to get them on.  I agreed and said they should be outlawed.

She also acts as liaison between Bruce Robt and myself.  He has never been one to spend time on the phone.  Or snapchatting.  So she takes pics of him and sends them to me.  On the sofa grinning at me.  In a shirt I bought him.  Sometimes taking a big bite of something.  He takes after Clark in that department.  She keeps him well-informed on what is happening.  They are so blessed to have each other.  It’s fun to see how they interact.  In many ways, they remind me of hubs and myself.

Brian is away at college and he gives me daily phone calls.  Since living away from home,  he always has called me a lot to check in.  Now he calls me more.  He is usually on his way to or from class.  Or the Fraternity house.   Or to meet up with friends.  We could be in mid sentence or in the middle of a deep conversation about my radiation or my progress on shrinking cancer cells and all of a sudden he announces, “I’ve got to go mom, my friends are here” or  I’m at the dining hall,  gotta go,  I Love You.”   This always makes me smile.  He grounds me.  He keeps life in perspective for me.  He makes my mind go back to a carefree time in my life when I was a college student.  It keeps my mind focused on the whole picture rather than on this bump in the road.

So for now, it’s jail time for me.  I can handle it!  I can do this!  I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  After all, I have to admit that my jail cell is pretty cushy.  I have a tv and Netflix.  I have my pc.  I have my phone.  What more could I ask for?  Freedom, that’s what!  And it’s just around the corner.