When your big awakening is really just narcissism

Everywhere you look, someone seems to go through a great enlightenment. People are waking up, and not only are they waking up to politics and the way of the world — they’re waking up to themselves. But is the awakening really as great as we think it is? Sometimes, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to enlightenment…and that includes a big dose of narcissism.

Enlightenment is the perfect place to hide for narcissists and makes a tempting haven thanks to the inward focus it requires. They pursue a higher life, not for themselves, but to make themselves feel superior to others.Their intentions are off, and that requires a big dose of humility and reality to overcome. Are you becoming a better version of yourself? Or are you just reveling in a narcissism fest that is driving you further and further away from your higher purpose and calling? There are concrete signs that can give you precisely that answer (and steps you can take to correct them).

Living in the age of new awakenings.

We are living in an age of new awakenings, and with that have come some drastic changes. No matter where you look, you’ll find someone proudly proclaiming that they’ve finally realized their inner “truths” and “taken control” of their lives. While, for some, this observation is the truth — for others, it’s little more than a con meant to feed their ego and their blossoming sense of narcissism.

Becoming self-obsessed can feel a lot like stumbling into enlightenment if you aren’t coming from the right intentions. When we chase enlightenment we are told to look inward and start putting ourselves first. To the narcissist, this is an invitation to become the dictator in a reality of their own making. And that is something which can be both dangerous and toxic.

So how can you tell if what you’re experiencing is true spiritual awakening, or just your pride getting out of control? It’s all about intentions, and looking inward and finding the balance between our needs and caring for the world. When we seek to drive others down, or make them feel as though they are less-worthy than we are — we aren’t on a path to positive growth.We’re destroying our relationships by being insufferably self-absorbed, and pushing away the people who matter most.

Why fake awakenings are so common.

Narcissists are complex people, with an array of traits, skills and attributes that make them both attractive and toxic. In the simplest of terms, narcissism is the tendency to think grandly of oneself, to the point of losing respect and compassion for others. The narcissist is a person who is selfish, vain and obsessed with attention. For this reason, a public enlightenment is attractive.

Hard to spot

Because of this new “self-empowerment” narrative we’ve brought to the mainstream (a narrative that many fail to explore further than the initial concept of putting their needs first) — many cannot see the falsity in their own awakenings. It can also be hard for narcissists to see that the “strides” they are making are little more than attempts to mask their own insecurities (while also attempting to make everyone else around them feel bad) because they are so self-absorbed.

No true introspection required

Fake awakenings can feel a lot like a real one, because they don’t really require any true introspection. Instead of looking deep and truly analyzing intentions, desires or even behaviors, the proud-bearers of a fake awakening are required only to provide the relevant mantras and social media brag-posts. They don’t dig deep and consider why they’re doing what they’re doing. They’re paying lip-service and repeating statements they’ve heard from other “enlightened” or “strong” individuals. There’s no true awakening, because there’s no deeper look at who they are or what they truly want.

A haven for narcissism

We are living in a society that not only encourages narcissism, but rewards it. Those who think only of themselves are those who can put themselves out there in unimaginable ways. They litter our Instagram feeds and our Facebook timelines. New awakenings can be a haven for this perpetuation of narcissism, because they encourage us to put our own needs on par with others. The truth, however, is that there is a fine-line between putting our needs first and thinking only of ourselves. Being self-obsessed isn’t being “woke” and it isn’t an ingredient for happy relationships in future.

Convenient excuses

Fake awakening provides a convenient excuse to flaunt your self-obsession and garner new and exciting attention. Even those who have no intention of improving themselves or their lives can engage in “woke” behavior in order to garner more likes, more attention or a bigger following of supporters and friends. It provides a convenient excuse to feed your ego, and put yourself first at the peril (and heartbreak) of the people around you.

When your big awakening is really narcissism.

There are some pretty simple signs that can help you tell whether or not you’re truly onto something, or just trying out a new way of making people feel bad. Start with your intentions. Why are you seeking to improve? Is it for your own wellbeing, or for bragging rights alone?