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I hated to be a killjoy at Christmas, so I left part two of the series on narcissism until after the holiday. Here ’tis.


When I was a kid, there was a girl in our neighborhood who would ride her bike to our house on hot summer days. She didn’t stop to play. No, she just sat there on her banana seat eating popsicles in front of us. When the treat was gone she would pedal away and leave the three of us standing in a cloud of wistfulness.

That reminds me of what I most want to avoid as a fashion blogger—voyeurism and narcissism. I’d rather be known for joining a movement that encourages anyone and everyone to think outside the mass merchandising box when getting dressed—doing it affordably, fashionably and unselfconsciously at any age. I’m interested in how style relates to life and all of its intricacies.

Here are four questions I’m using in 2013 to keep the focus where it belongs as I blog in the coming year. I hope they are useful for you as you think about your own social media and blogging plans.


How does this add value for others? Narcissists don’t care how their actions or words affect others. They care about their own success–and sometimes that means bringing others down. A narcissist lacks empathy. To cultivate more empathy, imagine what your friends and readers want or need every time you post.

How does this involve others? Maybe it’s just a contrary streak in me, but any time someone tries to cast me in the same role over and over again, I run in the opposite direction. It’s no fun if I always have to be part of the appreciative audience, but you always get to perform; or if you’re always the teacher, but I can only play the student.

A true narcissist thinks about what others can do for them—not so much what they can do for others. People become vehicles for fluffing up a narcissistic ego. Inadvertently, this is what we do when we always play THE EXPERT.

Trade places with readers or followers. Let them teach you. After a while, it isn’t fun if people don’t get to share what they know. Generate content that stimulates others to share ideas and solutions. Use your blog to spread the good word.

How often do we celebrate, praise or focus on meaningful traits in others? How often do we share the work of others? Being recognized, included and cared for by others is one of our deepest human needs. It’s also part of building strong personal relationships.

What are my intentions? There will always be demand for content that inspires, amuses, informs, entertains, or gives credit or advantage to others. If anything bubbles up that doesn’t feel peaceful, skip it. The world can probably do with out it.

Narcissism has created a culture of bullying and snark where we all feel safe ridiculing ideas and people, sometimes in a public (or semi-public) way. It may make us feel better to vent or expose some injustice, but trashing others is never flattering. Besides, just because I don’t like someone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Is this honest and realistic? How often have you heard this line? “I’m a fantastic_____!” (Seamstress, bongo player, Frisbee thrower––you fill in the blank.) Really? Because if you’re not (or you’re only average), you look more like a jerk than a person with a healthy self-esteem. We don’t have to be fantastic to be successful.

Using content to appear more well-off, smarter, or happier than I actually am is like plowing ground for narcissism. Ditto for craving envy or esteem from others. Some psychologists say it’s no coincidence that the economic crisis came on the heels of America’s huge increase in narcissism. Overconfidence, materialism and a sense of entitlement are classic signs of a personality disorder. Candor and honesty are always the best policies. Keep it real and you stand a better chance of not crossing the narcissism line.

If I didn’t consider fashion an art form that lifts the human spirit, I couldn’t spend as much time as I do writing this blog. Fashion relieves monotony. Some days, the only thing you can change is your outfit. That’s why I happily stand up for people who use their style blogs to promote fashion as communication.

I realize that fashion bloggers can easily lapse into a celebration of our selves. If I ever cross the line on narcissism here, would you promise to let me know? I’m always on the lookout for fun, interesting people I can feature here. Let me hear from you!

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.