Egocentric. Individualistic. Self-absorbed. Selfish. Conceited. Know-it-all. Egomaniac.
Call it what you may, but they all mean the same thing. Being self-centered may be great for you, as it puts you in the center of attention, but for everyone else, it’s a real nightmare.
What many self-centered people don’t realize is just how self-centered they really are. That’s probably because they strongly believe that they can do no wrong… because they’re too absorbed in their own greatness to even notice. Quite mind boggling, isn’t it?
However, come to think of it, this endless cycle makes perfect sense, and it explains why and how some people are simply insufferable and can never seem to take the hint that even the Dalai Lama won’t be able to tolerate being around them.
If you refuse to acknowledge that you are not, in fact, the best in the world, here’s a little wakeup call: You may think that you’re a special snowflake who needs to be appreciated by those around you, but guess what? There are 7 billion people in the world, and the odds are high that someone will be smarter than you, better looking than you, stronger than you, richer than you, and even more likeable than you. What can and will set you apart from the madding crowd is how gracefully you behave, whatever your accomplishments may be.
There’s no need to be boastful. There’s no need to inform others of how much you’ve done or make it seem like you’re the only one capable of making it happen. Get over yourself.
At the end of the day, no one really cares about what award you won, how much money you made, what you spent on your car, how many politicians you know, how great your hair looks, or what grades you got. What they will care about is how good you made them feel, and trust me when I say that self-centered people rarely make people feel good.
You have probably been told on more than one occasion of how annoying you are, how brash you can be, how vainglorious, how selfish, how rude. It’s time to drill into your thick skull that there’s probably a reason why people are reacting so negatively towards you. Plainly and simply, it’s because you exude negative energy.
People tend to be very unforgiving when it comes to bad first impressions. If you don’t try to change, you will miss out on important connections and opportunities, not to mention risk spending the rest of your life sans meaningful relationships with lovers, friends, and family.
How to stop being such an egotistic person
Here are 8 tips on how you can stop being so self-centered, or at least be more aware of your attitude, so you can take the necessary steps to change it.
#1 Start paying attention to how people respond to you. If you take a second to stop focusing on you, you will be able to tell if someone is feeling upset, annoyed, or just plain bored. Pay attention to their tone of voice and whether their answers are curt. These are telltale indications that they are on the brink of walking away.
As telling as emotions are, don’t forget to pay attention to their body language. Nonverbal communication is just as important in gauging how someone feels about you. For example, if the people you’re with has their arms crossed, are leaning backwards, and are not making much eye contact with you, they are not huge fans of the conversation, or you, for that matter. Positive indications include plenty of eye contact, leaning in towards you, and standing with their feet slightly apart, with their arms loosely at their sides. Participation in the conversation is also a good sign.
Keep in mind that it is not just how people react to you in the present moment but also when you’re apart. Take your friends and colleagues, for example. Do they initiate contact and meet ups with you? Are you one of the top invitees if there’s ever a get-together?
Paying attention to whether people want to spend time with you is also another telling sign of whether they like you. Self-centered people may find this hard to admit and always think that they’re the life of the party, but that title is usually self-proclaimed.
#2 Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Say you’re out with someone for coffee, and they’re telling you about the bad day that they had. Think about what you would like to hear in response if you were the one sharing.
Would you want that person to hijack the conversation and make it all about them? Would you want that person to ignore everything that you just said and bring up a completely unrelated topic? Would you want that person to scoff at what happened to you and boast about how they overcame an even more traumatic day? Doesn’t sound too pleasant, right? Well, that’s exactly how others feel when you try to make everything about you.
If you’re trying to be less self-centered, one way to do so is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Listen to what your friend is saying, smile, nod, and politely contribute to the conversation by asking related questions and offering sound advice without making it all about you.
#3 Remember that people have their own lives too. People have their own ups and downs to deal with. It’s completely normal to want to be in the company of people you like, but when those people simply don’t have the time for you, don’t hold it against them. They’re not being jerks by refusing your invitation. They’re just living their lives.
Also, always consider the situations of the people you’re talking to because you never know just how selfish you sound, until you hear it from someone else. Case in point, don’t be the jerk who bitches about their “first world problems” to people who have real world problems to deal with.
#4 Get to know the people around you. From colleagues to neighbors to the parking lot attendant you see twice a day, be friendly. Don’t you find it odd that you see these people on a regular basis, but you know nothing about them?
Anna at the office knows everything that has to do with you because you keep telling her, but do you know anything about her? Joe, who lives in the apartment next to yours celebrated a milestone birthday yesterday, but do you remember how old he is? Everyone probably knows your life story thanks to your storytelling tirades, but whose life story do you genuinely know? Get to know the people around you, and you will gain insight on the things you’ve missed out on while you were too busy focusing on yourself.
#5 Be proud, but don’t brag. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements. It’s not easy accomplishing something in today’s highly competitive world, so rightfully so, you should be happy about what you’ve done. With that being said, no one likes a showoff. Always be modest when publicizing your successes.
One way to do so is to recognize the help that you’ve received and to thank those who were there to lift you up. For example, instead of taking full credit for nailing that presentation, add a disclaimer in there that goes something like, “Thanks to my mentor, Sarah, for never giving up on my vision and for piling on the help and advice when I needed them.”
#6 Do something nice for everyone you care about. You can also kick self-centeredness to the curb by doing something nice for those you care about without expecting anything in return. You don’t have to do anything extravagant. Simple things that remind them that you care about them will suffice.
Everything from sending your best buddies a meme that reminds you of them to sending your colleagues a postcard from your annual getaway destination, little gestures like these will show them that you care enough about them to reach out to them.
#7 Get involved in volunteering. Volunteering will help you quickly come to the painful realization that there are far more important things in the world than you. Remember that donating cash is not enough because the heart of volunteering lies in the time and effort you actually spend to help others out.
Whether you end up fighting for animal rights, human rights, raising awareness on HIV/AIDS, or anything else that you feel particularly passionate about, lend a hand to those in need, as it will open your eyes to a whole new world.
#8 Let those close to you know what you’re doing. Just like quitting smoking or laying off the vodka, you have to be 100% ready to get rid of self-centeredness if you want to change. You also need to inform those close to you that you are going on this journey, so that they can support you and prompt you every time it seems like you’re falling back into the gaping hole of selfishness.
Let them know that it is all right to call you out and tell you off. Just remember not to get offended. This is all for your own good, and you will find that the world will be a much more pleasant place to live in once you change your mindset.
Always remember to practice modesty and be more attentive to those around you. Changing the way you think and the way you approach everyday life is not the simplest thing in the world to achieve, but if you make an effort, there is no reason why you won’t be able to get there.