We’re human, therefore we’re all narcissists, but to varying degrees. So even if you didn’t think this article was for you, it is. But not because you’re the bad type of narcissist, don’t worry.
It’s by nature that we care about ourselves more than anyone on the planet. I know we care about kids and loved ones and would take a bullet for some, but in the grand scheme of things, we’re wired to ensure our own survival and worry about ourselves the most.
Look no further than vernacular for a demonstration of our narcissism. The word ‘selfie’ officially became a word in 2013 and there are over half a billion (yes, with a B) search results for ‘how to take a selfie’. And now, when we’re all scrambling to figure out Zoom, they’ve already got a feature where you can touch up your appearance on camera.
It’s Normal, Embrace It
I’m highlighting narcissism because it’s 100% normal for every single one of us especially when it comes to appearance. Our narcissism usually revolves around outward features, appearances and what not. But when it comes to the inward (aka our health) it’s more difficult to see. That’s why it’s easier to begin a plan to get healthy for vanity reasons (to get your booty lookin’ better in those skinny jeans) than it is to begin a plan to prevent heart disease since you know it runs in your family.
We’re wired to be cognizant of what society and those around us think of us. It was a mechanism for survival – fitting in with the group, not making too many waves, etc. But a few magic things happen once you get over the idea that everyone is watching you (trust me, they’re not – they’re too worried about themselves).
First, it opens you up to the mentality that it’s perfectly normal and okay and understandable for you to think of yourself first. Just how flight attendants tell you to put your mask on first before helping others, knowing everyone else is thinking about themselves allows you to think about your health first before caring for everyone around you. That old saying comes to mind again, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Second, you’re more free to try things out of your comfort zone that can get you to the healthier place you’d like to go. When you’re out at a restaurant and are worried about being the ‘health nut’ that orders a salad; or when you’re nervous at the gym because you have no idea how to do downward dog. Nobody’s watching you!! They’re all too busy thinking about what they’re going to eat or how good they look in those floor to ceiling gym mirrors.
And lastly, when you realize everyone else is as consumed with themselves as you are with yourself, it gives you permission (and even forces you) to take ownership over your health.
The System Isn’t Set Up For You
Because of the ways we’ve tried to systematize things in the United States, the individual has gotten lost. And it’s to our detriment because it gives us a false sense of security thinking there are systems in place to help us, when really they’re not in our best interest.
Think about your family physician – it’s easy to think they’re always looking out for our best interest and indeed, if you’ve got a good one, they usually are. But they’re also people and they’re narcissistic just like you and me! So they’re worried about themselves and their families first.
Which means if they’ve got patient quotas you may have 10 minutes to give feedback on whatever’s going on and then hopefully receive good advice. TEN MINUTES!? That’s nothing! I’m sure you could take ten minutes just talking about how well you are or aren’t sleeping (your bed, blankets, pillows, room temperature, electronics, caffeine, significant other snoring, etc).
This is no knock on doctors, it’s just the system we’re stuck with (hopefully only for now). So it’s on YOU to seek information, guidance, and knowledge about your health. If your doctor went to med school more than ten years ago, ask if and how they keep up with current science. Consult multiple doctors if needed. Only you know how you feel on the inside so it’s your responsibility to get the info, advice, and care that you need.
The food system is another example – back in the sixties scientists of some critical research were paid to fudge some studies and cover up the ill effects of sugar. Then we got 6-11 servings of grains, cereals and starches as the base and most prominent position on our food pyramid. Overweight and obesity rates have been on the upward trend ever since.
Our entire food culture isn’t necessarily what’s best for you, and the giant food corporations aren’t looking out for you. It’s up to you to figure out what foods make you feel the best and what foods to stay away from.
Bring On The Me, Me, Me
I’m only scratching the surface of some of the major reasons why it’s crucial to accept and even EMBRACE narcissism when it comes to your health. Have copies of your medical records so you can easily seek information; know where your food is coming from and what’s in it; accept the responsibility of your health because there is no one who is going to care more about your health than you do. Embrace the healthy narcissism my friend!