Have you ever been told that you can be so full of yourself sometimes? Do people take offense at your extreme self-confidence? Or perhaps you’ve even been told that you need to learn how to stop being a narcissist.
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You might feel that the world is against you simply because you like to put yourself above the rest.
While it is true that self-love can be healthy for us at times, as the old adage goes, too much of something can become harmful and dangerous.
You may simply want the best for yourself, but prioritizing yourself at the cost of other people’s feelings is a sign of selfishness and a lack of empathy.
Can Narcissists Change?
Admitting one’s faults is never easy—especially for a narcissist. But if you are reading this, you’ve probably already acknowledged the consequences of such behavior. Perhaps you are motivated to learn how to stop being a narcissist and to finally change your ways.
People tend to say that it is impossible for narcissists to change. But the truth is, it’s never too late to start all over again and to rebuild relationships—as long as there is a genuine intention.
Here are some ways on how you can do it:
Learn How To Stop Being A Narcissist In Just 8 Steps
STEP ONE: Acknowledge The Roots Of Narcissism
One way to identify narcissism is through the absence of empathy.
Narcissists are less likely to empathize with the people around them. It is not enough for the spotlight to be on them—they also show no remorse when disregarding the feelings of others. Narcissists are driven to win, no matter what it takes.
At the same time, they do not believe that they are flawed—all they see when they look at themselves is perfection. This makes it very difficult to admit that change is needed.
The key to stop being a narcissist is to first acknowledge the roots of narcissism, and then to practice empathy and acceptance.
By understanding the importance of this very first step, it will be easier to proceed with the steps below, where empathy and acceptance are recurring themes.
STEP TWO: Be Willing To Hear Other People Out
This next step is probably one of the most difficult challenges a narcissist can ever face: To start listening to—and accepting—the opinions of others.
Narcissists are deeply convinced that there is nothing wrong with them; that they are, in fact, perfect. They tend to believe that the world needs to catch up to their impossibly high standards and therefore, no one seems to be worth their time.
Take the time to really listen to the voices of others.
You might not like what they are saying, but this practice actually helps you to stay grounded and connected. Narcissists are used to seeing themselves high above the ranks, which leaves them detached to their surroundings.
STEP THREE: Put Yourself In The Shoes Of Others
Empathy has never been in the vocabulary of a narcissist. And the sad part is, empathy is not something that can be learned from a textbook.
Understanding the emotions and situations of others can only be done by putting ourselves in their place.
Although it is impossible to actually experience the situations of others in real time, simply imagining how we might react to such situations is a good place to start.
It is very easy to become indifferent to situations and emotions that do not apply to us. Just because we can’t feel the same emotions, it does not mean that they are irrelevant, especially when we are the cause of another’s suffering.
When we allow ourselves to feel what others might feel, we learn to be more responsible toward the welfare of others.
STEP FOUR: Be Mindful Of Your Own Actions
Narcissists are normally accused of being self-absorbed, which is why they are often called out for their vanity.
Up until now, you may have only been concerned with your self-image. You despise making mistakes, especially in front of others. But you also love to rub your achievements in other people’s faces.
If you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, you will realize that this behavior is a sign of low self-esteem.
While a narcissist might feel instant gratification by being the best, their need for attention and recognition is their very weakness. To become the secure and content person that you really are, you need to pay attention to how you behave.
Every time you have the urge to talk about yourself, ask others about their day. You’ll be surprised at the results—pay attention to them, and they’ll be more willing to listen to you too.
STEP FIVE: Give Yourself Time To Heal
You can’t change something that has been going on for years overnight. Learning how to stop being a narcissist will take a lot of time.
Aside from pushing forward, take this as an opportunity to grieve as well. Meditate, relax, and reflect on those moments.
It is said that narcissists become who they are because of their surroundings.
This is especially true for those who grew up in an unsupportive household, or perhaps a traumatic event in your past shaped you into the person you are today. Use this time to allow yourself to feel those pains, and then let them go.
You might also be grieving about broken relationships and missed opportunities brought about by your narcissistic ways.
Give yourself the chance to heal instead of always fighting back—stop blaming others for the way you feel and to start being responsible for your own emotions. After all, it’s you that decides how you react to things.
Instead of retaliating, or always seeking a way to get even, allow yourself to become vulnerable.
Believe it or not, there is strength in showing weakness. Now that you know the pain, you will be more careful in dealing with other people’s feelings as well.
STEP SIX: Don’t Wait For Or Expect Praise
If you have gone this far, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back—but don’t expect other people to do the same.
Narcissists are always thirsty for praise. It is what pushes them forward, and makes them turn everything into a competition.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to receive a compliment or two. But when it becomes the end goal, everything else loses its meaning.
Narcissists often believe that they are entitled to praise and compliments. In fact, they don’t only need other people’s attention; they also want their confirmation.
Realize that praise isn’t something that should fuel your self-esteem. The void you may feel does not stem from a lack of compliments—it is probably because your achievement has lost its meaning already.
Don’t do something for the approval of others. Do it simply because you love doing it, and because achieving your goal matters most to you.
In the same light, not many people will give you a round of applause simply because you’ve learned how to stop being a narcissist. After all, it is your own personal business.
And remember, while you might be doing this to prove others wrong, you’ll find more meaning in this if you’re doing it for yourself first.
STEP SEVEN: Practice Kindness
Showing acts of kindness is easier than you think. At a closer look, there are actually many opportunities in our everyday lives where we can show kindness to the people in our community.
Greet your neighbor with a big smile as you head out to work. Compliment your co-worker on their awesome OOTD (outfit of the day). Even a simple thank you to the barista who prepares your coffee to a T every day shows kindness.
The reason why narcissists might find it hard to be nice to others is that they see things from a self-centered point of view.
They might not greet their neighbors because they consider them to be total strangers. They don’t compliment their co-workers because their own outfits are way better anyway. And they don’t say thank you to their barista because they paid for the service.
Practicing kindness sharpens our skill of being mindful toward others. We are challenged to consider the well-being of others before our own. Instead of focusing on yourself first, people who practice kindness every day ask how they can help.
This practice also takes us away from selfishness—a habit narcissists are always accused of.
So, what are you waiting for? Show someone a little kindness today and you’ll be surprised at how grateful they will be for your presence.
STEP 8: Be Contented
Narcissists have a bad reputation of being envious. They just hate seeing other people happy with something they don’t have, and might even try to always outdo the achievements of the people around them.
They one-up someone’s new job with talk about their promotion. When someone else gets back from an out-of-town trip, they suddenly talk about their upcoming Caribbean cruise.
In short, whatever other people have, they have something better.
Isn’t it very tiring to see the world as a competition instead of simply being happy for others?
When we don’t know how to rejoice in the happiness of others, we can’t expect them to rejoice for us. Chances are, they couldn’t care less about what you have—especially when you make it sound like you have everything in the world.
Instead of trying to compete with everybody, be at peace with yourself and learn to be content with what you have.
Not only will you be freed from constant rivalry, you will also learn how to be more grateful for the things in your life. Often, we are so busy chasing after new, “better” things, that we forget the value of what we already have.
Ask For Help When You Need It
Your journey on the path to not being a narcissist isn’t going to be easy. There may be times when you are pushed to your limits, and when you may be tempted to revert to your old ways.
But it is important to remember that you don’t have to do it on your own.
Let the people around you know that you are working on a very personal and difficult challenge.
There will be some who may doubt your capabilities, but there will also be others who will be willing to support you. And those people are the ones whom you want to work hard for.
Show them that their efforts will not go to waste. Let them be the reason why you want to change in the first place because they are the ones who truly care. Don’t let the naysayers bother you, because you don’t have to prove anything to them.
As a narcissist, asking for help is unheard of. Why would you need help from anyone when there has never been anyone who can do a better job than yourself?
But a part of learning how to stop being a narcissist is realizing that using people to your benefit isn’t the solution. Whenever people offer you help, it’s not because you are entitled to it, but rather, because of their own kindness.
And so, receiving help from someone is already a blessing on its own. There is no need to have a background check on whether or not they are qualified to help you out.
Remember that asking for someone’s help is an act of humility. By mastering this, you will have already begun to free yourself from narcissism.
Allen Wei is someone who believes in living his best life, focusing on balance, happiness, and relaxation. He fosters a positive lifestyle in terms of his body, mind, and environment, and he is a huge proponent of learning to be balanced via relaxation techniques integrated into our busy lives.