The Paradox of Being Self-Centered

In today’s post I want to write about why being self-centered makes you more attractive and improves the quality of your relationships. (yes really.)

Very often, the narrative we are told is that being self-centered is narcissistic and unattractive. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that self-centeredness is one of the most attractive traits a person can possess. Let’s not get confused. Self-centeredness is not the same thing as narcissism. Narcissism is the sense that you are overall superior to other people. And it is grounded in delusion.

To be self-centered is not to devalue others but to value yourself more highly.

Self-centeredness in my terms is not to see yourself as the center of THE world. But to see yourself as the center of YOUR world. Because you are. Each of us is the hero of our own movie. But some of us are telling ourselves the story that we are just a supporting character, someone who needs to let others govern their life.

I believe this is an unhealthy attitude to hold.

I’m advocating that we recognize a key distinction; no one controls you, your actions, or how you think and feel.

It’s all you.

Does this mean that you ignore others? That you don’t love others? That you don’t take their opinions into account?

Absolutely not.

You are not able to really relate to others well unless you are self-centered.

Unless you are grounded in yourself then it is very hard to relate well to others.

There is an issue that plagues most people and in particular those that consume the opinions of others at scale (like millennials and gen z.)

As a result of information (and opinion) overload, they end up valuing others opinions over their own.

People who do this are making a huge mistake.

Taking others opinions as fact is a massive hang-up which destroys your understanding of yourself. Doesn’t that contradict what I just said about how self-centeredness allows you to really take others opinions into account?

Not at all.

I am not speaking against hearing advice and hearing others opinions and values. I am against taking what other people say on faith. Believing what is true for others is true for you without using your own judgement is the most limiting thing you can do.

We all have hang-ups, things that we don’t believe we can do. In today’s hyper connected age where we are inundated with more opinions through the various media channels which we consume, taking others beliefs on faith leads to accumulating inaccurate and limiting beliefs at an unprecedented rate. What I am saying a self-centered person ought to do is work to look critically at every opinion that is presented to you and ask “Is this true for me or not?” Building in that little filter and having the faith to believe thatwhatever you conclude in your heart of hearts is true, is power.

Does that resonate as true?

Any good relationship, romantic, personal, professional, are all stronger when both members are self-centered.

Why be Self-Centered?

To see why being self-centered matters so much in relationships, let’s take a look at what happens when someone values others opinions higher than their own.

Let’s go with a hypothetical romantic relationship – this applies to all relationships however.

First, someone who is not self-centered.

If your partner says something that offends you or you perceive as an attack on who you are, it lands with full force. It hurts. They say a nasty backhanded comment and all of a sudden your sense of self-worth takes a hit. You see yourself as less. You see yourself as less attractive, fun, intelligent, whatever.

Then you spiral, your bad mood rubs off on them and spurs them on to attack you more and more.

But if you are self-centered when someone attacks you, or says something that might have hurt your fragile ego before, then you just take a pause, look at it, and see if it is true. The odds are that if the person is coming from an aggressive place, what they say is probably not true or valuable feedback.

When you are self-centered, you don’t respond emotionally. You gloss over the pesky comment and you proceed with the conversation.

When you are self-centered and your partner says something nice, you accept and internalize the compliment as true. You take that compliment and allow it to fuel a positive self-image and a positive mood. As a result of this your positive mood rubs off on your partner and you both are more likely to say things that develop you both as people and less likely to attack each other.

If you become self-centered you will take only the information that increases your self-esteem or which gives you valuable feedback about how to be a better version of yourself.

Self-possession screens out destructive attacks and it screens out any interactions which would damage your sense of self-worth. To be self-centered is to place your sense of self-worth and responsibility for your own mood within yourself rather than externally.

When you do this you become more attractive to others too.

In another post I mentioned how the world acts as a sort of bullshit detector, it attacks you a little bit to see if you can take it or not.

If you are self-centered your confidence and resilience to pessimism will make you truly unique. People will respond positively because as a result of speaking with you they get a little bit of that unflappable self-esteem and growth mindset too.

Self-possession is the belief that you choose your own life. It is the belief that your to is the final one in any decision in your life. It is the ability to manage your own mood.

Self-centeredness is taking radical responsibility for every component of your interactions with other people.

Taking control of your mood.

Taking control of what information shapes your actions and what information you ignore.

Taking control of how you respond to others.

Taking control of how others respond to you by understanding that in aggregate, how people treat you is how you see yourself.

Action Items

Stop consuming media insofar as possible.

Ask yourself if the negative feedback you receive applies to you or if it is the other person projecting.

Understand that your mood is under your control.

Keep your internal dialogue on language that increases your self-esteem.


Become self-centered, it will make each and every relationship of yours massively more positive, increase your self-esteem, and increase your clarity of identity.

The magnetism which all original action exerts is explained when we inquire the reason of self-trust. Who is the Trustee?
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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