Monday Matters: Do I do that?  Of course not …

by Michelle Edsall

I stumbled across a phrase, conversational narcissism.  I was curious what that could possibly mean.  From my limited search it is the act of telling a story about ones self in response to another’s story to relieve ones’s own discomfort.  My first thought was, I am so glad I don’t do that. But let me tell you who does do that.  The list started to form, the accusations, my own hurt feelings coming into play to add fuel.  The finger waggling was on and judgement was in full force.

A phrase I know well came to mind, “you spot it, you got it.”.  I groaned inwardly at being caught in my self flattery.  I would like to say I quickly course corrected however, I wanted to rationalize it away and stay comfortable in self flattery.  The energy it was taking to defend my ego suddenly hit me, it was exhausting.  A mind run amuck is the best way to describe what I was experiencing.  I wanted it to stop and I knew a shift was in order.

I shifted to curiosity.  I wondered where this showed up for me, in what situations was this conversational narcissism easier to delve into than to sit with discomfort.  I wondered what it might be like for the person receiving less than what I was willing to offer.   As I was wandering the path of questions I realized I believed I had nothing to offer in the area of grief.  The type of grief did not matter, the belief for me ran wide and deep. It is one place that I know I would rather make it easier for me in the conversation than sit in the pain, despair, heartache, and mess with another.  I want others to experience love and vulnerability when they are with me.  Clearly, that was not happening with this belief system.  So, I shifted.  I shifted back to my vision of love and vulnerability.  I am betting sometime soon I will get to put into practice my vision versus my belief.