Joining Augustine’s War Against Narcissism


For the previous couple of months Kanye West has been in social exile. Given that bursting onto the scene with his debut album The College Dropout in 2004, Mr. West has been a fixture in the cultural zeitgeist. 1 of the greatest criticisms about him has been that Kanye is self-absorbed. He is all about himself and how terrific he is, and he tends to make positive you know it. Kanye is your classic narcissist.

On “Last Call” from The College Dropout he rapped: “Is Kanye the most overlooked? Yes Sir!” He was a young, hungry rapper just attempting to make a name for himself but felt slighted by the sector that refused to give him a shot, a frequent theme all through the album. In 2018 on the album Ye, he declares: “I enjoy myself way additional than I enjoy you.” In 2013, he went on a press tour declaring himself the new Walt Disney and Andy Warhol, the most impactful artist of his generation.

In current months, Kanye and his enjoy of self has come below fire. Immediately after a series of tweets and interviews declaring himself a absolutely free thinker, he went on TMZ and claimed that slavery was a selection. For a lot of, that was the final straw. The culture has had sufficient of Kanye and his narcissism.

We like to limit narcissism to men and women who feel they are fairly or handsome but, in truth, it is significantly deeper than that.

I am a narcissist also. I am self-centered. I am usually considering about myself. I want to be initially, and I in all probability have an inaccurate self-perception. I feel about me a lot. I get upset by items that inconvenience me. I hate to have my time intruded on. I feel additional extremely of myself than I need to (ask my wife).

Narcissism is an excessive interest in oneself. It can also be defined as intense selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s personal talents and craving for admiration. So when Ye declares himself Andy Warhol, he is displaying us what it appears like to see oneself as significantly larger than you are (even though there is an argument that can be produced in his favor).

But Kanye is not the only 1 who thinks of himself as larger than he ought. I can confess that I am a narcissist. It is not a point of pride but moreso a cautionary tale. When Augustine wrote his Confessions he had a comparable intent. He made use of his life story, the blunders he produced, and the sins he wrestled with to point other folks to Jesus. Like a lot of of us, Augustine was at continuous war inside himself. Plagued by former sins and a sordid history, Augustine was a man seeking for a way forward. Focused on ourselves and our personal happiness, a lot of of us are seeking for a way forward by seeking in—but that is the incorrect path.

I’m Not Alone

You’re in all probability a narcissist also. This is the air we breathe. We are raised like this. We are a me-initially men and women in a time of the selfie. Feel about the items that make you angry how normally are you frustrated when items are not going your way? So a lot of of our feelings and feelings are centered about ourselves as even though we are the sun and every thing we come in get in touch with with are the planets orbiting. We attempt to move via life in a way that is the easiest for us, with minimal hassle, and what ever will bring us the most joy. The American Dream is constructed about getting a great, neat tiny life for ourselves.

Augustine also searched for an quick and satisfying life. He believed deciding upon sinful pleasures would bring him joy. He believed deciding upon himself was the answer. This is what narcissism does it tends to make us think that deciding upon ourselves is the answer.

We like to limit narcissism to men and women who feel they are fairly or handsome but, in truth, it is significantly deeper than that. The essence of narcissism is self-absorption, and even if you do not feel you are the prettiest or most handsome, or the greatest rapper alive, there is a superior possibility on some level you are self-absorbed.

It is quick to attack and be disgusted by the fairly girl who is prepared to admit she’s fairly or the massive guy at the health club flexing his muscle tissues. In truth, it is quick to attack and shun Kanye for all of his rants and ravings. It is a lot tougher to do the tough function of introspection and maintain that identical power when you discover oneself attempting to escape that conversation with your annoying coworker. It is tough to see your personal selfishness when you are upset at the Starbucks employee for messing up your order or spelling your name incorrect (in fairness, they look to be elite-level misspellers).

The Fantastic, the Undesirable, and the Ugly

The answer to our narcissism, nonetheless, is not a knee-jerk avoidance of self. There is a time when you in all probability have to have to be a tiny additional self-focused. Self-care is crucial to our survival as humans. That indicates, from time to time, you will have to place oneself initially. There will be occasions that it is ok to say no to other folks and refuse to let men and women to take benefit of you. There is also a healthful level of self-confidence that every individual need to have, rooted in our God-provided worth. As the old saying goes, no one will think in you if you do not think in oneself.

But even a modest dose of narcissism creates a pretty unlikable individual. Narcissists have a tendency to use men and women, as they see other folks as pawns to assistance obtain their personal objectives and desires. Individuals do not like becoming about narcissists simply because they dominate conversations and oftentimes discover a way to bring just about every subject back about to themselves.

The worst instances of narcissism outcome in you becoming your personal god. On the 2013 album Yeezus, Kanye has a song titled “I Am a God.” Despite the fact that you may well not feel Kanye qualifies, the worst of our narcissism can fool us into his line of considering. This is unsafe simply because, to be sincere, you make a terrible god. You think you can save oneself, That accurate strength lies inside you, and so on. But in reality, no one has ever lied to you additional than you. And however, the narcissist continues to appear inward for hope, grasping at anything that is not there.

The Repair

I do not know the answer to curing narcissism—if I did I would have fixed my personal by now—but I do have some suggestions.

Speak much less.
There is significantly to be discovered about the planet about us if we would just listen additional. The narcissist who is consistently drawing the conversation back to himself would advantage significantly from deciding upon  to say much less and listen additional.

Contemplate the feelings of other folks.
I heard a extended time ago that empathy will take you a extended way in this planet. When the narcissist is in a position to place herself in the footwear of yet another, she is in a position to practical experience compassion. Compassion for other folks is what keeps us from becoming so self-focused and permits us to enjoy additional deeply and richly.

Appear up and not in.
Turning inward and focusing on ourselves is only going to lead us back to ourselves, but if we had been to appear up and see there is 1 who is infinitely higher than we are, we can practical experience freedom. So significantly of our concentrate on ourselves is just simply because we want to get items correct, we want the stress taken off of us. We do every thing we can to obtain that purpose. We function as tough as we can, we only befriend men and women who are going to advantage us, we want our youngsters to be gorgeous tiny representations of us out in this planet. Carrying this weight is exhausting. Jesus presents a trade: our burden for his. His quick, light burden of Lordship for our demanding, heavy burden of self.

Augustine understood this. Immediately after a life of searching for satisfaction in self and sex, he saw the emptiness therein. Immediately after attempting false religions and trusting in astrology, he saw the emptiness that lies there also. It was when he came face to face with Jesus that Augustine saw the planet anew. Likewise, when we come face to face Jesus, we will also see what Augustine saw. We all have to have this new way of seeing—even Kanye.

For us narcissists, if we can yield our self-absorbed pursuits to Jesus, then we can be absolutely free to reside radically generous lives. Generous with additional than our time and money—also generous with our feelings and enjoy. It is time we place the mirror of self-concentrate down, take the camera off of selfie mode, and start to see the planet via a lens that is not all about us.


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