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What makes people with a “Me…Me…Me” attitude dishonest and disrespectful towards others? Why might a person or persons act this way toward others? originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
One weird bit of human nature makes us into total jerks sometimes. You see, as much as we like to pretend that we can multi-task, the human brain is simply incapable of thinking about two things at the same time. We can switch between tasks, but we can’t multi-task. It’s just a weird little side effect of how we roll and no amount of brain exercise will ever make it so you can think about two things at once.
Now, for the part about how this makes us into jerks. What happens when someone starts thinking about themselves? Oh stop kidding yourself, you know everyone is their own favorite topic. Yes, even you.
Since we can only think about one thing at a time, and we are so enamored with thoughts of ourselves, it’s no wonder that people engage in narcissism, entitlement, and me-me-me attitudes. If you think about it, these behaviors are nothing more than an inability to shift one’s attention away from the thing their brain most wants to think about.
The next time you encounter a narcissist, think about them as a person with an attention disorder, not a low-life jerk, and see how the interaction changes. Why are they so stuck on themselves anyway?
Self-focused attention doesn’t have to be about self love. In fact, it rarely is. Self-focused attention happens more in people who are desperately trying to protect themselves from some terrible fate, either real or imagined. It’s so much harder to shift your attention off of something when you think you have to be vigilant to protect yourself from something bad.
How many people do you know who fall into the category of narcissist, entitled brat, or folks with me-me-me attitudes? Here’s the bigger question, do you know when you are behaving in those ways?
You might say, “No, wait! I was taught to treat others with respect. I always think about others before myself. I hold the door open for people. I give up me seat to the elderly or injured on public transportation. I send birthday cards and thank you notes to every single person in my immediate family, every year, on time, no matter what.” Ok maybe you don’t do that last part. Or maybe you do. We aren’t judging.
But, do you see the I-I-I attitude in that? People who get worked up about other people’s behavior are self-focused too, but they do it in an indirect way.
A me-me-me person will ask, “Where’s my share?”
An I-I-I person will declare, “People are not behaving correctly, like I do.”
Both me-me-me and I-I-I are self-focused attitudes. One is self-focused in a direct way, where their concern is about getting what they need right now. The other is self-focused in an indirect way, where their concern is about getting a silent and figurative gold star for putting off their own needs. The solution to both of these behaviors is exactly the same cure, and it might be surprising.
It’s self care.
Self care means making sure that your needs are taken care of every day, every hour, and when they are not, you do something about it as soon as humanly possible. You don’t wait until the kids go to college for self care. You don’t wait until your boss notices that you deserve a raise for self care. You don’t wait for other people to do your self care for you (that’s where the self in self care comes in). You take care of self care as the need for it arises. Self-care waits for no one.
Examples of self-care:
- Taking a few hours of time for yourself when you need it.
- Recognizing that you made a mistake and accepting the mistake without self-reprimand.
- Eating healthy on your own body’s timeline.
- Taking time to exercise your body in a way that you enjoy.
- Noticing when you are upset and taking time to ask yourself what’s going on inside.
- Accepting each emotion you may have as ok and normal.
- Taking time to process emotions (especially the old ones).
- Saying no to things you really don’t want to do.
- Saying yes to things you really do want to do.
- Making sure you do what’s needed to have enough money so you can eat every day, sleep everyday, and shelter yourself.
For some, having unmet needs is simply a way of life. It’s easy to get into a lifestyle where you keep putting off your own needs. Unfortunately, those around you pay when you don’t take care of yourself. Just like forgetting to eat makes you hangry (hungry+angry=hangry; we all know this, right?), not taking care of your own needs makes you narcissistic, entitled, me-me-me, I-I-I, and/or way too concerned about other people’s behaviors.
When you have unmet needs for a long time, you are highly susceptible to feeling like you have to be vigilant about your needs. This is a healthy safety mechanisms that is trying to get you to stop and do some self-care.
You may have gone a long time without self care and if that’s the case, you may not know when self care is appropriate. Anytime you feel like someone in your life isn’t fulfilling your needs, it’s time for some self care. You guessed it. You’ve been thinking your lover or boss isn’t fulfilling your needs, but really, it’s you. You haven’t been fulfilling your self care needs.
Times to engage in self care:
- When you feel like your romantic partner isn’t fulfilling your needs.
- When you wish you were somewhere else.
- When you have a dream that you don’t think you can start working toward.
- When you find yourself doing things you really don’t want to do anymore.
- When you are running out of money.
- When you can’t get ahead in your career.
Taking a few hours to yourself isn’t going to help you get ahead in your career (directly), but it might help you get into a frame of mind where you realize you’ve been missing an opportunity.
By saying no to the things you don’t want to do, it frees you up to say yes to the things you do want to do. Frankly, you’ve been imposing most of your life’s rules on yourself. By taking a self care approach, you’ll be a little nicer to yourself. You’ll loosen up some rules, and you’ll get more out of each day.
Your life is much less limited than you currently think it is. Self care will help you see that there are lots of options available to you.
Self care is a small act that allows you to find new ways to go about your day. You can get out of ruts using self care. Instead of quitting your job, ending your romantic relationship, and running off to join the circus, self care can support you through difficult times without all the drama.
This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:
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