Self-Esteem Vs. Narcissism in High School: Where Do We Draw the Line?

Are we narcissists by allowing ourselves bragging rights, or is that just having self-esteem?

One of my biggest pet peeves is someone projecting their own narcissism in any environment, whether it is in academics, sports, theater or any other hobbies; I really hate it when people brag about themselves. 

"Look how good I am at football!"

"Look how many AP classes I'm taking!'

"Can you believe I got the solo again? So crazy, right, like oh my gosh!"

Like, seriously? Stop. No one is impressed. But lately I've been thinking that I've been a little too hard on my peers. With all the new celebrity advocates for self-confidence, such as Lady Gaga, P!nk, and Katy Perry, is a little narcissism a good thing? Well, I guess it depends on the situation.

These performers teach everyone to love themselves exactly the way they are, because God or Allah or whoever you choose to worship made you exactly the way you are. How fine is the line between loving yourself and bragging about loving yourself? I see dozens of unhappy teenagers as I walk down the hallway during the school day, whether it's because they think they're fat or ugly or dorky or irritating, and it sucks they have to go through every day of high school feeling that way. And then there are the people I mentioned above—the ones bringing these people down talking about just how special of a snowflake they turned out to be.  

A lot of people use the new-media support as a defense mechanism for their inner turmoil—bragging about their successes to their peers daily for praise. This isn't meant to fuel cockiness or rude attitudes by any means. When you hear someone bragging about an accomplishment, it's probably because they're trying to convince themselves of how great they are just as much as they're trying to convince you.

Now, a lot of people use these bragging rights as a way to keep their own self-esteem afloat, which I guess is a good thing, when you're the only factor in this equation. But there are other people to be concerned about. Realistically, not everyone is going to be excited for you when you get a good grade, get really good at an instrument or if you happen look hot that day. To tell you the truth, a lot of people won't be proud of you. In the world beyond the first years of education, rarely will you be patted on the back for a job well done or complimented for an outfit. (That's what we call sexual harassment, my friends—a topic I miraculously retained in my consumer ed teacher's often-sidetracked lectures). Despite you finally getting around to finally starting to love your own unique-ness, other people get generally irritated by frequent boasting. The reality that everyone has to remember, as aptly put by Ben Folds, is that "there's always someone cooler than you."

Self-esteem is important, especially in high school. High school is probably the most awkward time in a person's life, so it's good to have confidence in everything you do. However, the key to this confidence is letting yourself be humble to those around you, as everyone is trying to reach that level of enlightenment where they thoroughly love themselves. No one wants to feel like the untalented loser or the illiterate moron—that's why we all brag, so we don't feel that way. But in a perfect world, there's a happy and humble median where everyone knew that everyone was beautiful and everyone was happy with themselves. However, we're all just stuck bragging about ourselves, constantly one-upping one another in order to find some sort of inner peace, even if it means putting other people down.

It's a tricky line, I'll admit. No matter how comfortable you are with people, you can't brag frequently about your accomplishments, because although the world may seem against you, it still doesn't revolve around you. In order to live in a calm and peaceful environment, we all have to try and look past ourselves, and I'm not just talking about our accomplishments and natural talents, I'm also talking about our flaws. We have to look past what makes us great and what makes us terrible in our eyes and start thinking about what makes us, us.

So don't brag so much, don't use your self-motivation to put down others, and try to keep as humble as possible. And if by the end of all these tips some other person is still boasting to everyone how fantastic he is at tennis, keep in mind: His narcissism may just be an act. Talk to him, let him know that he is special and that he doesn't have to keep remind himself or others by constant public bragging.

Love what makes you who you are, but don't make others hate themselves in the process.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jeff October 02, 2012 at 07:56 PM
No one can make you hate yourself without your consent
Carrie October 04, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Great article Jeff and very insightful!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »