You are special…

02007-03-07 | Uncategorized | 25 comments

+kenwilber.com – blog
Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.
“We need to stop endlessly repeating ‘You’re special’ and having children repeat that back,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. “Kids are self-centered enough already.”

Ken comments:

More of the fun fruits of boomeritis

Why does everybody want to be special, unique? And if everyone is special, is anyone?

You may say special, just don’t say like.no.otherâ„¢
It’s a new trademark of Sony

25 Comments

  1. Eno

    yes everyone wants to feel special. we all want to feel as if we’re the center of the universe. the amazing magic of it all happens when you realize that we’re all the same and somehow through that realize that we all come to that realization differently.

    …if that makes sense…

    Reply
  2. Richard

    They haven’t seen this. ;-)

    The despair.com site seems to be down at the moment, but the image can be found at the top of this blog post.

    Reply
  3. laurie

    perhaps it is a reaction to the increasingly homogenized culture we live in?
    people want to be the same yet it seems they yearn to be unique…

    … funny, you ask why anyone would want to be special or unique (becasuse this comes on the heels of your post about your guitar sound) – you pretty clearly say that each person would bring different attributes to their playing than you and therefore teaching the same “sound” would not be possible…
    that implies we are all unique – whether we want to be or not…
    so, if that is true, then being unique is not that special?

    Reply
  4. Carol

    No one special in everything, but everyone is unique and special in some ways. Whether you want to or not, you know you are a unique and special musician. Sorry, that makes you special tsk tsk.

    Reply
  5. ottmar

    Laurie – Yes, indeed, being unique is nothing special, no big deal. Every snowflake is unique, to use Richard’s example above, but when they come together they are just white and cold…

    Reply
  6. Carol

    Isn’t feeling special the same as feeling confident. Doesn’t one have to be confident in their talents and abilities in order to use it to help others? It is different from being so self-centered you think your own opinion and life is better than others?

    Reply
  7. Victor

    It’s interesting to notice how life thrives with diversity. So recognizing my kinship with life through my uniqueness feels good (might say “special”). But I think the narcissistic problem they are talking about begins with creating a false sense of self worth by saying “you’re special.” It requires no relationship with a person to say “you’re special”, and the intent is to cause the person to temporarily feel good. But if I grow up with a sense of self-worth based on “I’m special” then I’ll put my needs above everyone and everything else.

    Reply
  8. laurie

    ottmar, i agree, but how about a cheerier analogy?
    you make snow sound so dismal – there’s lots of fun to be had with those
    snowflakes when they all come together!

    self worth includes recognizing that non-specialness-ness… and as a whole, that is not what our culture has been teaching of late…

    Reply
  9. laurie

    it seems this wanting to be special might be another symptom of the broken “connection” that is being felt these days and presents itself in most of the problems our world is facing now… it’s not really feeling special that is wanted but perhaps just that sense that whenever you are interacting with another human being you feel like that person is there with you 100 percent (not just physically but energetically as well) and/or just having someone REALLY listen and hear you – in both instances as if NOTHING ELSE WAS MORE IMPORTANT…
    hence, the feeling of not being special enough to matter when this is not what you are experiencing…
    (i don’t know if i am clearly saying what i mean to say here…)

    Reply
  10. Carol

    “it’s not really feeling special that is wanted but perhaps just that sense that whenever you are interacting with another human being you feel like that person is there with you 100 percent (not just physically but energetically as well) and/or just having someone REALLY listen and hear you ”

    You have said so much there, Laurie. Thank you.
    If someone you really care about doesn’t seem to care, it’s hard to just turn to others. We all need to know a friend who cares and listens and is willing to give you some positive feedback.

    Reply
  11. brolix

    I agree with what Laurie has said, except the part of “…then being unique is not that special?” and totally disagree with OL´s comment. I´m in the realm now of thinking out loud, but as an aristotelian/randian I think being unique is not “un-special” and IS a big deal. In relation to a whole (i.e. others) both whole and part are as important. It´s like a big Jigsaw Puzzle…there are not two parts with identical qualities (it IS that. Individualism, Uniqueness) a single part here has its own identity. The sum of all this makes a whole, a big picture. There is no whole without a part, without the sense of “i´m special”. On simpler technical language A=A (identity) or A is not B….meaning A and B are different but NOT separated; they are parts of a whole, an alphabet; like 6 different individual strings that make a guitar.

    Reply
  12. Carol

    One more thing. Schools are becoming “feel good ” instiitutions instead of learnng centers where everyone is treated equally and no one is made to feel any less in any category. Without healthy competion, we’re in real trouble.
    Now I will shut up..Really!

    Reply
  13. Brent

    One definiton of “special” reads, “readily distinguishable from others of the same category : unique.” Apparently, if you’re unique (and a single perspective is always unique) you are special. The problem might be wanting what you already have… Oh, assuming there is a “you,” of course!

    Reply
  14. laurie

    thanks carol… nothin’ special, really
    (smile)

    Reply
  15. ottmar

    I find this totally bizarre, getting hung-up on the word special when the issue is: Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered

    Reply
  16. Will

    I like this article by the Daily News…..
    http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_5312072

    I do not think it is only college aged kids either, it is society in general. Many laws and other “societal rules” are adopted out of the “me syndrome”. Sure they pass it off as a “group movement” but what happens when that group doesn’t fit your needs? You move on to something that fits your ideals. The only way to truly move away from a self-centered ego is grace, understanding and forgiveness. Give people around double the grace, understanding and forgiveness you give yourself and you will see a huge change in not only yourself but others around you. Trust me it is something I have been practicing, although not perfected, a long time.

    Reply
  17. laurie

    sorry ottmar – your absolutely right, that is the topic as stated in the opening sentence of the article…
    i think we were all just following the thread that was started with your original comment on the article and got carried away… thanks for bringing it back

    (guess i’ve said too much – must be cabin fever)

    Reply
  18. marijose

    I’ve never understood the rationale behind the whole “you are special” feel-good movement. Each person on this planet has a different set of DNA, fingerprints, irises, skills–big deal, that is a given. I have much more respect for a person who can apply less-than-perfect skills to contribute to the community than for someone with an inflated sense of self-worth. Actually I find the latter unbearable to be with.

    Reply
  19. Victor

    Ottmar, I didn’t see that coming. Turns out I’m more “special” than I thought. LOL

    Reply
  20. Carol

    It has been an interesting discussion though, hasn’t it?

    Reply
  21. Brent

    I don’t think it’s bizarre… Self-centered and narcissistic, maybe.

    Reply
  22. llindaskaye

    Ottmar, i thinke this is interestinge…i have “wrangled” withe this issue for a while also…special, unique becominge narcissistic…the responsibility of becominge one’s self to be responsible to society…somehow has gotten perverted!? and shades of Steppenwolf…the lonely existentialiste…very frighteninge and i hope not irreversible…i finde your comments very encourageinge…this is the most hopeful group i have read in a while…muy bueno y amore amiogoeas *******

    Reply
  23. ottmar

    marijose – right on
    Victor – you are special!
    carol – yes, it has
    brent – that is hilarious, thanks for the laugh!

    Reply
  24. Luz

    I’m with Marijose! As an educator at a Community College, I have seen this firsthand and just the other day we were talking about this same article and how true it is. I continually push my students to give back to their community and the looks I get sometimes would blow you away. They can’t believe I’m asking them to do something for nothing. I have had a few though actually come back and thank me for pushing them to do something they had not even considered.

    Reply
  25. Will

    http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/handouts/ethics/rr_culture_commercialism.cfm

    “Advertising fosters dissatisfaction, envy, and insecurity. It can make us feel unattractive, uncool, and unhappy with what we do or don’t have.”

    “Our commercialized society places a strong emphasis on appearance, encouraging us to care about our own and others’ appearances rather than about characters, talents, and personalities.”

    “Constant exposure to ads may encourage materialism and selfishness. This may make people less inclined to help others. Statistics show that giving to charitable causes has decreased in recent years. Similarly, there has been a decline in public support for government programs to aid the least fortunate members of our society.”

    “Commercialism may erode values – such as sharing, co-operation, and frugality – fostered by families, religious institutions, and schools. ”

    The list goes on and on….this is a subject I have been reading about lately and it further illustrates it isn’t just college aged kids. Think about the quotes for a while, for some it may be hard to grasp because they are so inundated with commercialism they are trapped in a box.

    Reply

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