Narcissism And Peter Pan Syndrome
A classic characteristic of Peter Pan Syndrome is narcissism. The truth about Peter Pans is that they are self-absorbed, but not in the negative, uncaring way that narcissism connotes. They simply feel a dreamy, imaginative comfort inside of their own minds – an attraction to introspection that is positive and well-meaning.
Everyone has some level of self-involvement. After all, life is constantly impacting us and is impossible to ignore. We experience emotions, sensations, desires, and the sense of our own mortality. Although other people play a crucial role in our lives, we cannot possibly relate to them as well as we can to ourselves. Their feelings cannot resonate in our nerve centers in the same way our feelings can. Thus, we must dwell on ourselves from time to time.
Peter Pans accept this reality but enjoy it more than most. They live vicariously through their own lives as if they were the protagonist of a story. Their relationship with themselves is like a reader’s relationship with a sympathetic narrator.
Yet “narcissisism” with all of its unpleasant connotations continues to be the word of choice for describing Peter Pan Syndrome. It makes sense that the same people that consider childlike characteristics a “syndrome” would err in their characterization of Peter Pans. Many of the people who disseminate knowledge in our society – especially psychologists, journalists, and religious leaders – are set on standardizing people’s lives and minds. They have lost touch with the unbridled imaginational freedom of childhood; the very concept that life’s possibilities may be endless stands in stark contrast to their work.
Ultimately, most people do succumb to the prescribed order of things, forgetting what they knew as an idealistic child. But that is why it is so important to have a subset of people who draw from their own raw, creative energy to remind us of how colorful life really is.
Narcissism translated as inspired self-immersion, as it is with Peter Pans, is not only positive, but necessary to our world. When life seems to have lost its original purpose amongst societal responsibilities, a connection with the vast and limitless mindscape of childhood may be the only antidote.
Evan Bailyn is a serial entrepreneur, search engine and social media expert, celebrated author and child advocate. His company, First Page Sage, is a leader in search engine optimization and social media marketing - vastly increasing business for its clients through high SEO rankings, targeted Facebook advertising and viral videos. Evan is also the founder of the Evan Bailyn Foundation, a foundation dedicated to teaching emotional awareness to children and adults.