Narcissus of Greek mythology, as we may or may not recall, peered into the pond to gain the vain reflection of his image; to take on just a little more than a healthy self-interest. He is not alone.
We all suffer from a little narcissism.
We are embarrassed to be caught out taking pictures of ourselves, whether literally or metaphorically, because we have the instinct that narcissism is a bad reflection on our character, as if peering into that pond revealed something distasteful because of what others observe about us.
Embarrassment is normal because none of us truly wants to be seen as self-lovers, even though loving ourselves (or better, accepting ourselves) is a vital psychological place to arrive at. Only in accepting, or knowing, ourselves can we go on in the journey of knowing God.
There is a balance to be achieved when it comes to narcissistic traits.
The Benefits of a Little Narcissism
Sometimes, if we were to reject our propensity toward narcissism, we would be denying our imperfect nature.
Such a denial is a denial of God. This is so because where we consider ourselves beyond a little narcissism, we call God a liar, because we accredit ourselves to proudly to perfection. None of us is perfect, ever. Only the glorified Lord is perfect, in all ways, eternally. This is an unparalleled and most extreme truth.
That is one benefit of a little narcissism—that we are honest with ourselves.
When we are honest, agreeing with God that by nature we struggle with narcissism, we allow God to show us our fault. We are not so embarrassed or ashamed to stare into the pond to see what is embarrassing to us as masturbation is (if it were to be revealed to others).
It is always good to know the truth.
When we know our nature for mirror-gazing, and the circumstances and effects of such behaviours, then, and only then, may we see our fault and grow. We grow because we have allowed God to search us, to reveal to ourselves our penchant for narcissism.
A little healthy narcissism helps open the door. Once that door is ajar, God will come in, reveal our lack, and help us fix it, or at least help us be honest about it.
Those who are morbidly fearful of narcissism—the embarrassing self-love to mirror-gaze—are not open to what God might show them in their narcissism.
When we allow God into the rooms of our narcissistic selves, we give the Lord permission to reveal opportunities for our growth. God never forces himself in. But when we invite the Holy Spirit in, we benefit, we grow, and are happier ultimately as a result.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.
Image Credit: Wikipedia.