How To Use Narcissism To Your Advantage
Narcissus At The Fountain
One of my clients, Karen, loved rallying crowds to her cause of protecting wild life preserves. “I eat it up—all those people hanging on my every word,” she confessed. But she never let either the delight she took in public speaking or her ambition to found her own company hurt other people; she enjoyed a loving mutually supportive relationship with her husband. She—and others like her—are healthy narcissists, who display all the benefits of narcissism and none of its dangers.
A little narcissism comes with a host of rewards. Feeling somewhat special and unique helps us persist in the face of failure, enjoy giving and receiving in relationships, and press on in pursuit of our grand dreams. It also helps us feel stronger, more resilient, and perhaps even extends our lives—when we feel great about ourselves, we tend to practice better self-care, too, including exercising more and eating well. Healthy narcissism lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, making us less prone to the ravages of a frenzied life, including high blood pressure and heart disease.
The gifts of healthy narcissism extend to our romantic lives as well. People who feel a little special enjoy longer relationships. When we view ourselves through rose-colored glasses, we’re likely to think that the people we’re with are special or extraordinary, too. And that feeds back to us—we feel special by association. The benefits of placing our lovers on a pedestal can’t be overstated. One study of nearly 40,000 people found it to be a stronger predictor of relationship longevity than either partner’s personality, self-esteem, or feelings of closeness.