What’s causing the rise of narcissism in the youth today?
Fuelled by the incessant opportunities for self-promotion on social media combined with a culture that promotes high self-esteem more than learning, young people’s personalities are changing to become more self-centered and narcissistic.
Let’s define the scope of this discussion before we go any further. The word millennials is used to refer to the generation born between 1980 and 1994. Narcissism—essentially a personality disorder—is now a personality type accompanied by high regards of oneself and lack of sympathy and/or empathy for others.
If you ask the psychologists today, they will tell you that there are researches dedicated to figuring out the mystery that is the millennials. It’s almost as if the existence of millennials is an epidemic. And if you continue your conversation with them, you’ll know that millennials are the most narcissistic generation ever. The only thing that invites debate is the degree of narcissism that exists in millennials.
Millennials weren’t born this way
Of course, not. If millennials were born between 1980 and 1994, they did not have a childhood governed by smartphones, endless reform moments, and social networking platforms. However, by the time they got ready to face the world, they were surrounded by numerous things which were convincing them to be the demanding, self-important, know-it-alls they think themselves to be.
Let’s begin with parenting. I am not a parent and I do not have the right to question anyone’s parenting style. But one common thing that I have witnessed among all the narcissistic people that we are talking about is the absence of role models.
Millennials have grown up with parents who were only friends and not parents who were also friends. They have been constantly pampered with the idea that they are special and they can have absolutely anything they want. While this is a nice thing to say to someone, it doesn’t really play out well in the real world where injustice, unfairness, and inequality prevails.
The next thing that has probably destroyed the millennials is reality television. This generation has grown up watching reality TV as an accepted form of entertainment constantly selling the idea that anyone who does not say positive things to/for/about you is your enemy. If that’s the case, where is the room for criticism?
And no discussion about millennials can ever be complete without the internet. There is hardly any social networking platform that hasn’t contributed to millennials becoming the worst versions of themselves. The social media has equated self-expression with self-obsession. And that is not healthy. I mean, I fail to understand how being a meformerand sharing every detail of your life with the world a career or a validation for your existence?
What’s allowing this?
As ironic as it may sound, the young generation of today has really reduced levels of self-esteem. A healthy self-esteem sprouts from a person’s achievements and abilities. And it continues to nourish from the belief that everyone can’t possibly do everything and that does not invalidate one’s talent.
But millennials are being trained to define themselves in comparison to others. Do you have as many followers as that person? Is your feed just as aesthetic? Does the world think you have a perfect life when they look at your social media image? Whenever the answer to any one of these is no, millennials are taken over by fears, insecurities, and hollowness. They are being taught to place their self-esteem in a very fragile place. What outcome can we possibly expect then?
How many of us are making friendships and bonds out of genuine concern, compassion, and care? The young world is brainwashing the youth make not friendships but contacts that could come in handy. There are no inter-personal relationships in the equation. Your ability to manipulate and misguide your peers for success is now your smartness.
The motto of no obligations is forcing them to give up on basic manners like being kind to another human being which is why beneath all the glitter and glamour, they are lonely. And it won’t be surprising if this narcissistic epidemic gets carried to posterity.