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What does being egocentric mean?

egocentric

There are many undesirable human qualities that we all don’t like to think we possess, from hypocrisy to greed. It’s not always the case that we are self-aware enough to realise that we have them, especially in the case of egocentricity. No-one brags about or admits to having a big ego, but being egocentric isn’t necessarily to be arrogant, pompous or to have a superiority complex. So, the subsequent question is what does it mean to be egocentric?

Breaking down the word: The definition of ‘egocentric’

The word has two roots, ‘ego’ and ‘centric’. Ego is best known for its use by Sigmund Freud in identifying the self. From the Latin word for ‘I’, ego defines the decided representation we give of ourselves to other people, from our beliefs to our appearance. It’s a sensitive part of who we are as it contains innate qualities that we can’t change but it is also up for judgement by other people. ‘Centric’, more obviously, is about the centre, and if you describe something as ‘centric’ to something, it is considered the most important thing to how it functions and operates. Therefore, to be egocentric is to always think of yourself first, and it’s easy to do without thinking.

Egocentric, not egotistical

There are two parts to being self-centred. Egocentric is the actual putting of oneself first, before anyone and anything else, but egotistical is to fully believe that it is right to do so. Egotism is where the ego inflates beyond naivety. You would be considered conceited and deliberately selfish to be egotistical, whereas egocentricity is where the self-centred thinking starts.

When egocentric, you can be innocent. You might struggle to see things from other people’s point of view or are naturally biased to be consumed by your own problems and worries rather than see the bigger picture of how others are affected.

How to deal with egocentricity

Egocentricity can be a sign of more serious issues. Some people when dealing with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues have been overwhelmed by certain parts of their brain which deal with survival instincts. They shut off from other modes of thinking in being so distracted by fear or apathy concerning themselves. Recognise the benefit of helping others out, even if you feel that your own life is a struggle.

Getting out and about to help relatives or become involved in what they have to do can be a welcome distraction from your own mind. You might find yourself seeing life from a new and more whole perspective and feel your problems have been lessened because of it.

Some words gain negative connotations without fully deserving it, and egocentric is one of them. It remains an undesirable quality, but to be egocentric isn’t to necessarily be a bad person. Think clearly about any issues in your life or your daily routine and assess how fixated it is on your needs and whether it contributes to or worsens any troubles or concerns you have with yourself. You might be living to justify your worries and fears rather than living to solve them.

The first step is getting out of your own head and thinking about others. Don’t let the self-talk overtake you and look to support others. You’re more than likely to get a mutual reaction.

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This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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