In Oscar WIld's famous novel, 'The Picture of Dorian Gray,' the namesake's main character does whatever he can to attain eternal youth and beauty. Heck, the man swaps his soul for good looks!. But that, in a nutshell, is where we've all gone wrong.
You see, like Wild's fictional character, many of us have gone bit mad about looking a certain way and living up to a socially attractive image that praises a flawless appearance over a person with any degree of intelligence or moral values. Then again, narcissism or vanity isn't solely reserved for appearance. It can manifest in all parts of your character- from the way you talk to how you judge others.
With that in mind, we'll go through 10 traits unique to narcissists that you might not be aware apply to you as well.
1. Looking in the mirror for long periods of time
There's nothing wrong with taking pride in your appearance and in many ways looking good and feeling good goes hand in hand. But like with all things in life, moderation is key.
If you're always in the gym assessing the growth of your arms because you've only worked out five times this week instead of the usual six, then chances are you're a full-blown narcist that even Patrick Bateman would be proud of.
2. Judging others by their appearance
You don't have to be Anna Wintour to have an eye for what looks good and what doesn't.
But if you're always questioning others' outfit choices, and wishing they'd straighten their hair instead of having it tied in a bun because it would show off their features more, then that's because you're obsessed with society's preconceived notion of beauty.
3. Not listening to the opinions of others
It can be hard when we're in a passionate conversation or zealous debate to listen and digest the views of others when yours sound more appealing. It's a common trait among egotists as well as narcissists and can be detrimental to your personal development if you aren't willing to entertain opposing arguments.
Or, in the eloquent words of the famed American physician, Francis Collins, "One must dig deeply into opposing points of view to know whether your own position remains defensible. Iron sharpens iron."
4. Blowing your own trumpet
Nobody likes someone who goes on and on about themselves as though they are God's gift. It's highly irritating and can come across as immature and can make an attractive person ugly. By all means, celebrate your success and don't be afraid to feel good about your qualities/achievements.
But if you've developed a habit of letting the world know that people say 'you look like a model', or that you're, 'easily the choice for the next promotion' at work, you may want to tone it down a little- for your sake as well as others.
5. Being the center of attention
Being a narcissist doesn't mean you have an exuberant personality with a charisma that George Clooney would approve. In fact, many of the quieter types are often those that believe their moment in life will come sooner or later and that those days of a sharing a bus with others of a less sophisticated and ambitious nature will soon be a thing of the past.
However, in the more stereotypical narcissist, you'll find that they thrive off being the centre of attention. After all, you only have to look at the plethora of rock stars and athletes (*cough* Floyd Mayweather *cough*) to see that the adulation and worship of others are what truly makes them happy. If that's you, then you may want to realize there are 8 billion people out there, who are all just as unique and extraordinary as you!
6. Managing to make the conversation about yourself
We all do it- though some do it more than others. So instead of turning the conversation around to you, which can sometimes be of second nature, learn to keep your mouth shut and replace your voice with a simple nod of the head.
You'll find yourself listening to others more, and in time, you'll see it as an important step in improving your character.
7. On social media, you won't have a single bad picture
Thanks to the proliferation of social media websites like Instagram and Facebook, appearance has almost become a by-product of success. As a result, millions of young people are trying to keep up with the Joneses in search of 'likes'. But is such approval making you happy? Why should you only feel good when you look a certain way?
That's not to say that having a flattering profile picture isn't acceptable, but discarding any which you think isn't of an 'Instagram standard' should make you question why you're seeking such a shallow form of approval.
8. You're probably more likely to cheat
It may sound harsh, but those that believe they were handcrafted by the man upstairs are probably more liable to deceive their partners. The reason? Because many narcissists think that they can attract anyone they want.
After all, few have your emerald eyes and skin tone, right? If that's the case, question what it is that makes you feel that way. Is it the lust of others that you thrive off? Or is it the beginning of the end in your current relationship? If the answer is the former, then you should learn to be more self-assured- something narcissists surprisingly fail to possess.
9. You get easily offended
People with narcissism can be offended by even the lightest form of banter.
Even a constructive piece of criticism from a college tutor can cause considerable distress. In their eyes, everything they do turns to gold, and for someone to say otherwise is not only wrong but also highly offensive.
10. You're often jealous of others
One trait that's endemic in all narcissists is jealousy. Yes, the green-eyed monsters that they (maybe you, too) are can lead to a form of self-centeredness that isn't easy to rid and can lead to many a fractured relationship if a friend or loved one does well.
Why? Because the attention is away from you and it will show in your limited ability to praise or show support when they need it most. So we'll say it again: everyone is special, not just you. And the sooner you realize that, the better. You can still be go-getting and ambitious and be proud of the way you look, but always remember that we bleed the same blood, and most of all, want the same thing in life: to be happy.