OPINION: A new year, new you

SAIT campus, and Calgary as a whole, is brimming with a new sense of purpose as we once again begin the season of failed and failing New Year’s` resolutions.
Sure, some people make a year-long effort to change certain aspects of their lives, because January once again showed its champagne-soaked face. However, most people give up after they’ve denied themselves long enough to feel they’re suffering, justifying a dip into the temptation pool and drowning in it until they wade out next year.
People decide to “resolve” all their vices over night, because it’s a new year and the self-obsession has kicked in. And because of new generational habits, these ideas are becoming more of a farce.
Self-obsession is very much correlated to the comical and habitual failure of New Year resolutions. With institutionalized social crusades such as “Human Potential Movement,” or “Self-esteem Movement” – where every person is “special” regardless of ambition or work-ethic – and a parenting structure following both, our society has become narcissistic and self-obsessed.
This self-aggrandizing has spawned everything from parading a hyena howl on American Idol and crashing markets with an over-expenditure on mortgages to deciding to change the world with a new refusal to smoke cigarettes or maintain the same weight.
Sadly, these traits are not only affecting our social-interactions, but facilitating a broader communal hurt.
According to a study by research psychologists Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, as well as several other clinical studies, our collective self-obsession elevates things like drug use, materialism, inflated expectations, uncommitted sexuality, sloth, apathy, and unfocused work ethic.
Twenge found that 10 per cent of 20-somethings border on clinical Narcissistic Personality Disorder, versus the less than three per cent in those over 65.
But it’s not like we feel bad about it. In fact, in a study conducted by a Toronto research institute, the majority of students stated narcissism was necessary to their success, and the detached, unfocused personalities accompanying it were simply a price to pay.
This, tied to the fact that we become obsessed over changing ourselves at New Year’s, seems like a tradition begging for change. This small act of forced self-introspection is just another thing we feel entitled to do; claim that we’ll make big changes, and once the going gets tough we scamper back to the comfort of whatever vanity we swore last month we’d never indulge in again.
It’s time to seek out sincerity, find meaning, and make a heck of a lot less fake promises before we see a change in narcissism, community, and the way we interact with each other.

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