“The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
What’s a pronoun?
That’s simple: a pronoun replaces a noun to make sentences less cumbersome.
(This would be a good place for an example, but that would be cumbersome.)
So let’s move on.
What’s a personal pronoun?
It’s how we talk about ourselves, each other and others. That’s simple enough.
Personal pronouns refer to person(s) that act as the subject.
And acting as the subject sounds important… it sounds empowering… doesn’t it?
We all like to feel important. That’s why moms and sometimes dads, teachers and some counselors told us, over and over again—how special we were. And we believe them… for a while at least.
But that stops, or at least it should stop.
If it doesn’t stop it’s called narcissism—a personality disorder more and more common among adolescents and adults. Maybe we didn’t learn how to negotiate the adjustment to adulthood, or maybe we believed all the pep-talks of childhood. But somewhere along the way we lost our way.
Narcissism is the trait of vanity, conceit and selfishness. (Now it sounds familiar, right?) It’s what’s wrong with us if we think the world and everyone in it should talk to us like our mama’s once did.
And if we don’t get over ourselves we become our own worst enemy.
In Greek mythology Narcissus was a self-absorbed young hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia. Some might not think it fair that poor Narcissus earned such a bad reputation because he was, in fact, beautiful. But he was also so proud of himself that he felt contempt for those who showed him love.
Sounds familiar, right?
From Narcissus we’ve either learned so much or learned to become so much. It’s hard to figure out whether we’ve become ourselves or we’re just being typical.
Narcissists are shameless, twisting themselves into perfection by distorting others, in arrogance degrading others for self-elevation; envying others because they’re entitled, exaggerating and bragging achievements without regret or gratitude.
How many narcissists does it take to change a light bulb? Just one. He holds the bulb while the world revolves around him.
And it’s common. Too common.
Everyone knew this about Narcissus but no one knew how to give him what he deserved. Except for Nemesis (in Greek her name means to give what is deserved, and we use the word nemesis to mean enemy—what’s deserved and our enemy are the same thing).
Nemesis made sure pretty boy got what he deserved. She led him a pool of water where he saw his own reflection and fell in love with what he saw. But he didn’t realize it was just his reflection.
This would be the right time to ask about looking in mirrors. They tell the truth and won’t lie to us; it’s what we see in them that makes the difference.
So let’s do it; look in a mirror.
If someone else is watching, and we don’t make it quick, what will others think?
It’s time to look ourselves in the mirror while others are watching.
And not care.
Narcissus was not only told how special he was, he believed it in the worst way possible.
He was trapped by his own reflection and was condemned to spend the rest of his days admiring his own reflection in the pool.
Narcissus was condemned by the first person singular—himself.
Narcissus only cared about Narcissus.
So let’s look in the mirror.
Can we see more than our own reflection?
Can we see a different pronoun than Narcissus saw?
What’s our pronoun?