A recent New York Times article discussed research that has become quite the topic of conversation among psychologists in recent years: narcissism among young adults.
Apparently, our generation is all about the “I Love Me.”
According to the people behind the research, today’s 18-25 year olds are more narcissistic than any previous generation: “Today’s young people — schooled in the church of self-esteem, vying for spots on reality television, promoting themselves on YouTube — are more narcissistic than their predecessors.”
I find this completely unfair. Just because I can’t walk by a mirror without looking at my reflection does not make me a narcissist. Just because I look at myself first…and last…every time I look at a picture does not make me a narcissist. And just because I think I am hilarious and talented and write a blog that I expect everyone to adore doesn’t make me a narcissist.
Ok. Maybe I do think about myself quite a bit.
But it’s not my fault that I was raised in a generation in which parents told children they could do anything, be anything, and they should never doubt themselves. We have been told our whole lives that anything is attainable and, more recently, that nothing is sexier on a woman than confidence. How, then, can I now be blamed for being confident?
Sure, our generation seems more into ourselves than ever before, but that is from an older (and outsider) perspective. Previous generations weren’t given the same tools as us. We can’t be blamed for growing up in a time when outlets (MySpace, Facebook, blogging…) were created specifically for us to talk about ourselves.
Plus, the people conducting this research didn’t have to deal with the amount of competition we face daily. With so many people vying for the same schools, jobs and clubs, we have to be confident and focused on ourselves in order to succeed.
So, if our generation seems a little more obsessed with the “Me” than those before us, it is not our fault. And it’s not necessarily such a bad thing. A little self-love never hurt anybody. And, in such a cut-throat culture, if we don’t love ourselves who will love us?