Do You Have "I" Problems
Self-centered is defined as being egotistically concerned with self. So a self-centered person is one that is not concerned with another person's feelings, ideas, points of view, etc, (even though narcissism is closely related to self centeredness, we won't go so far as to put our characters in that category). I guess you can say a self-centered person has "I" problems. Let's put this statement under a microscope in the next few situations.
Is Life All About You?
Perhaps you're involved with, or know someone whose every conversation begins with "I." Maybe you are that person. Is it your habit to always focus on your own life and totally ignoring that of your listeners? Do you have to make your presence known with loud declarations? Do you walk in and join the largest crowd and instantly take over the conversation? You either use the occasion to promote your supposed grandiosity, impress with your knowledge, or to complain about your maladies, or slights, etc. At any rate, when you enter a room it becomes all about you. When you walk into a room, all eyes are on you, however, unknown to you not always in a good way.
Are you the mate, friend associate, family member, etc? Do you find yourself dreading being in the same room with them, either alone or in the company of others? Have you learned, without realizing it, to tune them out?
I'd like to go about this hub in one of my customary fashions, using my own invented characters. So let's get started.
Let's begin with Bragging Bill. Family members are visiting from out of town. Bill comes over to visit his cousin, let's call him Accommodating Adam, who is with his in-laws. Bill walks in, not knowing a single soul, except for Adam. After a few pleasantries, Bill begins bragging, I mean really bragging. Bill, in so many words, begins with, "I am a Stockbroker, (true), I've made millions, for myself and others, (um), I own a mansion near the Mayor's home, I own a boat, I'm contemplating buying a plane, (ridiculous)." Poor Accommodating Adam, all eyes are focused on him, incredulous at the outlandish claims of his cousin. With every word coming out of Bill's mouth, Adam is slinking lower and lower in his seat, blushing with embarrassment. When Bill leaves, the biggest laughs ensues. All of these claims, except for the Stockbroker claim, proved not to be true, and even at that he was not a very good one. Every subsequent encounter with Bragging Bill was the same, until he was unmasked. This was an actual event.
Now this was outright lying. But what if there is a grain of truth to what the person is saying.
The next few characters are contrived.
First we have Very Boastful Barbara. Now Barbara is very beautiful, highly intelligent, very successful, and believe it, she's very aware of all of these attributes, and she makes sure everyone else is also aware of them. And we have Modest Millicent. Millicent is not "as well put together," but equally successful. When Barbara enters a room all eyes focus on her, just the way she likes it. She never misses an opportunity to, as she puts it, "keep Millicent in her place." Both work for a very successful Fortune 500 company. Each was hired for what they had in their heads, not for what they look like.
At the annual company awards dinner, both were given awards for the outstanding work done for the company. However, Barbara was given the top award. As both are surrounded by co-workers receiving congratulations, Barbara uses this occasion to make sure everyone knows that she's the best. Millicent is just as happy for Barbara as everyone else, and lets her know it. That's not good enough for Barbara.
Barbara begins her not so veiled put downs with, "you see Millie, being a visual society, let's face it, physical appearances go a long way in this world, and that's why I am number one, just kidding,(not).But anyway, I'm very conscious of my weight, thin is always in you know. Going to the best schools, not a state school makes all the difference. I make sure that I'm seen with the right people, that's not hard for me to do, because I'm naturally a magnet for the who's who. I always buy my clothes at Neimans, like this dress, it cost $500.00, and I only wear Prado shoes, see, all of these things make a difference. When I walk into a room all eyes are naturally on me, and for good reason, I know what it takes to make things happen for me." Millicent says, "You know, you're right Babs, (no one calls her that), and I'm happy for you." As Barbara walks away certain that she's kept Millicent in her place, and polished her own image, all onlookers shake their heads in disgust and, I might add, a tad bit of humor.
Next we have Bearing The Burden Bradley. Bradley, as he puts it, has to always carry the load of his whole family, his friends etc. Bradley, on one of his rants about how no one appreciates him for what he does, or have done for others, begins with. "I can't believe it, after all I've done for this family, and my cousin's sister-in-law's sister didn't even invite me to her son's wedding. So what, I don't know them, but I deserve to be at this wedding, after all when my cousin needed a ride to the store last year, who did she call, ME." Mind you now, Bradley says no, more times than he says yes, when asked for a favor, but let him tell it he's always there for everyone. "And my mother knows she should have spoken up, after all I do for her, after all when she needed her medication 3 months ago, who sent his son to pick it up, ME. Nobody appreciates me. Speaking of appreciation, my wife, asking for a new dress, I just bought her one last year, does she think I'm made of money, (actually he is, well to do that is). Let's not even mention this country club, what's this about donating money for the homeless, I already donated to that other charity, after all I'm one of the biggest contributors in this club." One by one, all of Bradley's listeners ease away, after all no one could get in a word edgewise.
We've already met Complaining Calvin (OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY...YEAH BUT). When Calvin enters a room an audible sigh is usually heard. Oh here goes. Patient Patty and a group of co-workers are discussing Battered Benjamin's terrible accident. All are in agreement that after work they'll pay a collective visit to him in the hospital. Calvin, overhearing this, chimes in with, "I don't think I'll be able to make it, my rash is particularly bad today, not to mention with this weather my arthritis is acting up, (he doesn't have arthritis yet, just a bum knee, from an old childhood football injury, and he uses that to the max). And oh, did I mention I think I'm catching the flu. I woke up this mornings with the worst cough, (not heard yet by anyone). Did I tell you about the time I had the flu so bad that I took to my bed for three days and it was so bad,(just about a hundred times), that I wished that I was dead. It started with a flu shot, I guess it was a bad strain. Within minutes of taking the shot I wanted to die, and I had a temperature of over 103 Fahrenheit. I'll never forget that, (neither will anyone else). And so on, and so on.
Just one more
What about, Know It All Ned. I'm not going to give Ned any dialogue, I'll just tell you about him. He's the guy that is never surprised about anything, he already knows it. You tell him about something you just heard or read about concerning this heretofore unknown ailment, and guess what, he already knows it. You even tell him about an ailment that you just found you had, and again, he, as he says, figured as much. But yet when he tells you something that he knows, you're supposed to be surprised, and when you are, or acts surprised he makes you feel like an idiot, saying in his most incredulous tone, " you didn't know that." Even in a group, no matter how many scenarios are presented, he already knows it. OH, so maddening!
Now if you find yourself in any of the situations above, and you wonder why no one stays around long when you enter a room or a conversation. Guess what folks, you're not fun to be around, and more times than not you're the fodder for jokes when you leave the conversation. But all is not lost, this can all change. What do you think should be your course of action? Um, could it be you need to examine yourself honestly, and possibly change the way you do things. Of course this sounds so simplistic, but aren't some answers to what ails us is that, SIMPLE.
For instance, how about you, Know It All Ned, couldn't you let someone else have the spotlight for once, can't they know something you don't know for once. Even if you do know it, let them bask in the spotlight for a change, after all they, like you have spent years acquiring knowledge. Can they, this once tell you a thing or two. I'm just saying.
What about you, Very Boastful Barbara, look around you, unfortunately for you, that is, beautiful, smart people come a dime a dozen nowadays. It's true, must be something in the water, I see them everyday. So jump down off that horse and take a look around you, you'll find that you're not that special after all. Along with all that beauty and knowledge, acquire a little, character and humility. Again, just saying.
I won't belabor this any longer, if you find yourself in any of these situations or even close, as Michael Jackson said, "take a look at the man in the mirror," and ask him to change his ways.
I tell you what, give this new way a test the next time you're tempted to perform in your same old way, and see what happens. At the very least you will be happier with yourself.
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