There is little focus on empathy in America. Mostly, there is importance on understanding yourself, bettering yourself, and creating your own perfect life. So, why should anyone be surprised that Generation Y is now being labeled the most narcissistic generation in America to date? And is it narcissism or an emphasis on individuality?As far as an individualistic society goes, this is nothing new. After the desperate times of the Great Depression came the hard working Americans who thrived during World War II.‘The greatest generation’ as they were coined by Tom Brokaw. A productive bunch that valued ‘doing the right thing’ and ultimately creating a prospering society. The productivity of Generation Y is stifled by the economy and job market. However, the individualistic mindset is still there.
It’s a common thread among people of all ages and a treasured ideology. However, what are generation Y’s morals? Liberals are on the rise as well as a value on self-importance as a key to success, which unfortunately isn’t a reliable value. The DSM-5 labels features of Narcissistic Personality Disorder as, “variable and vulnerable self-esteem with attempts at regulating through attention and approval seeking. Overt or covert grandiosity.” So, assumptions of Millenials being narcassistic is probably based on their ‘approval seeking’ social media tendencies which is infact insecurity. It is a generalization but similar to The Greatest Generation, Generation Y is so focused on on progressing others around them while at the same time focused on themselves more than ever.
When it’s the latter, society as a whole suffers.
Self-importance does not necessarily create success if anything it can work against it as narcissism works against society. Individuality poses no threat and is healthy. When empathy is introduced as an important value in our society, when it’s emphasized by the media instead of selfish rich people in TV shows, or a circus of ‘showdown politics,’ then perhaps we can all move together as a collective in the way we want to. Until then, we should all learn the differences between narcissism and individuality.