In my column, “Fear Equals Vitriol” I spoke of the unwillingness to recognize consequences, and chronic narcissism in our population. So, here’s my theory on the two aforementioned topics.
An individual must understand one of the basic formulas of humankind and that formula is thriving. Thrivers are not born; they’re made. So, here are a few examples of what I mean by Thrivers:
You need a safe, loving and structured childhood. You need autonomy, competence, and – most importantly – agency. These will, in turn, become thriving abilities: Mental toughness, resilience, social competence, and moral strength. With this idea of thriving, narcissism relents and there’s a recognition and understanding of what consequences are, be they good, bad, or indifferent.
So, how does one do this? How does one thrive?
Through self-confidence. In the outcomes of self-confidence, one creates solutions, one faces obstacles, one owns their efforts and one snaps back. The example would be fixing your child’s problems; the child is unaware of your efforts, unknowing of the obstacles, has no concept of the solution and when they fail in early adolescence or adulthood, they don’t snap back.
So, how does one thrive? Through empathy. My thoughts on this are that there are three types of empathy. Cognitive empathy is the understanding of others thoughts and experiences as being as real as your own. There is, certainly, behavioral empathy, which is concern that rallies us to act with compassion, and for certain, there is effective empathy which is sharing another’s feelings. Through these three empathetic types, one can label emotions, ask questions, share feelings and notice others, which also helps to defy narcissism.
So, how does one thrive? Through self-control, which is the ability to control your attention, emotions, thoughts, actions, and desires. Again, this breaks down narcissism.
So, how does one thrive? Through integrity. Integrity is acts of learned beliefs, capacities, attitudes, and skills, which creates a moral compass and gives space to develop separate from family, parents, or a group. Integrity is where you are able to recognize consequences.
So, how does one thrive? Through curiosity. Curiosity is the recognition to pursue, and the desire to explore, novel, challenging, and uncertain events, which gives us the ability to recognize consequences.
So, how does one thrive? Through perseverance. Keeping on when everything else and everyone else has given up. This gives willingness to recognize consequences.
So, how does one thrive? Through optimism. To view challenges and obstacles as purely temporary. I believe that this will give way to recognize consequences, good, bad, or indifferent and lessens narcissism.
Could our Gulfport City Council members take into consideration these seven concepts of thriving? I believe that each member of council has the knowledge and the ability to create a thriving community. I know this exists within every neighbor in Gulfport. So, let us not regress into non-thriving individuals but progress into thriving individuals.
Your neighbor, Ian O’Hara