How Can Bodybuilders Avoid Becoming Too Narcissistic?

narcissistic bodybuilders
June 6, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “how can bodybuilders avoid becoming too narcissistic?”. It is true that bodybuilding is quite a vain pursuit.

You are working on your body and aiming to make it as muscular and aesthetic as you can. As your physique becomes better you can start to look down on others that don’t have as impressive a physique or don’t take fitness seriously.

Most bodybuilders don’t do this but some do. Narcissism is important to a degree in the pursuit of any meaningful goal. You have to believe in yourself and have a good self image in order to achieve things.

This article will outline steps that bodybuilders can take to avoid becoming too narcissistic.

How Can Bodybuilders Avoid Becoming Too Narcissistic?

There are various steps that bodybuilders can take in this regard. Firstly, realising that physical appearance is only one aspect of cultivating healthy self esteem.

You can build your self worth in other pursuits such as hobbies, business and loving relationships. Surface level features such as building a great physique doesn’t make you better than others.

You should be bodybuilding for your own improvement and not for the validation of others. Recognising other people for their inner qualities and personality traits will also help to reduce levels of narcissism.

Whilst focusing on yourself is important for achieving goals and personal growth, you should also take care that you don’t lose empathy and contact with others. Self reflecting can help you to determine if bodybuilding has made you too narcissistic.

Physical Appearance Is Just One Aspect of Self Worth

It is true that most of us start bodybuilding to improve our physiques. This in turn will boost our confidence and self worth.

However, it is important to remember that looking good is only one aspect of cultivating a healthy level of self worth. There are lots of facets in life that can improve your confidence.

Having a good income can also build your self esteem and confidence. Likewise being in a loving relationship can help. Being accepted and respected by others can improve your self image. 

So just having a better body than another person doesn’t make you better than them. This is the trap that some bodybuilders can fall into from building up their bodies.

Jealousy over others successes in different areas can also fuel narcissism in some bodybuilders. Very few people have achieved great levels of success in all areas.

So when you see others succeeding at a high level in an area that you are not, this envy can cause you to belittle others achievement to protect your own ego, self worth and self image.

>> Previously I have examined whether bodybuilding is good for self esteem

Shifting To Performance Related Goals

Whilst all bodybuilders want to look as aesthetic as possible, it is also good to set other goals relating to performance.

This can drive you and also help to reduce the levels of narcissism that come from staring at your body in the mirror all the time.

Getting better at pull ups and squats or aiming to improve your grip strength are examples of performance related goals that you could strive for.

They will present another challenge and help you to minimise the self absorption that comes from focusing purely on aesthetics all the time

Focus On Inner Qualities

Focusing on the inner qualities in others can help to reduce your levels of narcissism. Realising that other people have special qualities that are individual to them can help you care more about others and have more empathy.

At the end of the day, when you are 70 or 80 years old you are not going to have the same amount of muscle. Likewise, wealth is also a surface level characteristic. Your wealth can also fluctuate a lot throughout life.

Personality traits are different and everyone has different personalities. Some people are kind and generous, others are more cold and calculating. Seeing the good inner qualities that others possess can be a great thing.


Try To Be Humble

Having more humility will certainly help you if you feel that you are starting to become too narcissistic. Realising that there are always people better than you in all facets of life will also help with building humility.

It is important to have self confidence and self belief. But if your levels of ego are so high that you feel like you are superior to everyone then this can present problems.

You will likely alienate other people with this mentality and many people will be repelled by your personality. 

Self Reflect

If you feel as if bodybuilding has made you quite narcissistic, it is a good time to do some self reflection and introspection.

What core beliefs and values do you have? Are you living in accordance with these values or is there some dissonance? All these questions will help you to learn more about yourself.

You can then go about trying to fix your narcissism if it is becoming a problem. Meditation is also a good practice to calm your mind and can help you to start seeing realities more clearly.

Be Grateful

Gratitude is a higher level emotion – alongside love, joy and peace. Feeling more of these emotions on a regular basis will help to improve your mindset and your life.

You will start to become less narcissistic. By expressing more gratitude, you will start to become more empathetic towards others who are in worse situations. Lifting weights is a privilege that you should be extremely grateful for.

Some people can’t even walk and those people would do anything to be able to lift weights. Don’t take things for granted and be grateful for the people and things in your life.

Are All Bodybuilders Narcissists?

Some bodybuilders are narcissistic. The very pursuit of personal growth and accomplishment requires a healthy level of narcissism. 

If you have a very poor self image then it is unlikely that you will ever accomplish anything of note in your life. Narcissists often have feelings of grandiosity and superiority.

This can lead them to achieve goals, as if you believe that you are superior to others, you will need to achieve things in equal measure to satisfy your ego. Eddie Hall is an example of an incredibly high achieving narcissist in the strength world.

His advice was “back up your bullshit”. The worst thing to do is say that you will do something and then never deliver. By having a healthy level of self belief and being accountable, you will achieve things.

The biggest negative traits of narcissism pertain to putting others down in order for you to feel superior and prop up your ego. This is not very healthy and can lead to many conflicts.

Ultimately, bodybuilders should train to improve themselves. But at the same time they should realise that people are more than just their physiques. There are many positive personality traits that should be recognised and cherished in others.

Final Thoughts

How can bodybuilders avoid becoming too narcissistic? There are many things that can be done in this regard. Self reflection will play a big role, trying to assess whether you are living a life that you can be proud of will reveal a lot.

Perhaps you will find that you look down on others or don’t treat certain people with respect. If you see a scrawny guy, will you automatically look down on them or will you try and encourage them to lift weights?

Recognising that people are far more complex than surface level characteristics such as their physique or wealth is critical. This can help you to fix your narcissism if it has gone out of control.

>> Is Lifting Weights For Vanity Good Or Bad?

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