There are quite a few terms used in psychology. Among them are two very similar words, viz: “egoism” and “egocentrism”. In everyday life, the word “egoist” is most commonly used. For this reason, many ordinary people, who do not know the meaning of these terms, believe that egoism and egocentrism are synonymous.
However, according to experts, these concepts should be distinguished. The fact is that there is a significant difference between egoism and egocentrism. They only have in common the root “ego”. You will learn about the difference between egoism and egocentrism in this article.
What are the similarities between egoism and egocentrism?
These terms come from the Greek words. In translation from the Greek “ego” means “I”. According to experts, the “ego” is a psychological essence characteristic of each individual. Through the ego a person makes contact with the outside world.
In general, the ego is the bridge that connects the “superego” and the id, namely lofty mental aspirations and instincts. The presence of the ego enables a person to respond adequately to everything that happens in the external world. What do ordinary people mean by egoism and egocentrism?
What is egoism?
To find out the difference between the terms “egoism” and “egocentrism,” it is necessary to understand these terms separately. Egoism is defined as a value orientation of an individual who has in the foreground purely personal interests and benefits. It is noteworthy that these interests are not always exclusively of a material nature.
Who are called egoists?
It so happens that in everyday usage we hear the word “egoist” much more often. It refers to a narcissistic person who does not take into account those around him. The word “egoist” applies, for example, to children, as well as to those who do not marry and do not have a family. In other words, egoists are people who want to live exclusively for themselves.
The opposite of an egoist is an altruist, an individual who acts primarily for others. Altruists are most often found among family people. Thus, selfishness is an evaluative name for the behavior of an individual who has personal interests in the first place.
About the origin of the term
According to experts, during the Enlightenment, which is when this concept was first spoken of, selfishness had a positive emotional connotation. At that time, reasonable selfishness was proclaimed, and therefore it was believed that morality should be based on noble self-interest and personal aspirations. Remarkably, morality and spirituality were treated differently during the Enlightenment than they are today. These things were “on trend” then.
Is it good or bad to be an egoist today?
Of course, today the concepts of morality and spirituality are not devalued, but they are consciously cultivated much less often, especially among the younger generation. Nowadays the word egoism is used more often with a negative emotional coloring. Nevertheless, specialists are convinced that it must be inherent in a modern person within reasonable limits. Deny selfishness is not necessary, but also to exalt it is also not accepted, but because the clever individual is a quality that will be carefully hidden and masked.
How do egoist people behave?
Such individuals often use altruism as a cover for their selfish behavior. According to experts, there is a very shaky line between the concepts of “egoism” and “altruism”. This can be observed in relationships. For example, an individual covers his egoism with love: on the one hand, he cares about his partner, and on the other hand, he wants to make himself happy.
Selfishness comes in many forms. Some individuals seek material possessions. These individuals eat great food, dress stylishly, and go on regular vacations. This type of egoist needs comfort first and foremost. They have to work hard to provide a decent life for themselves. This behavior is considered an example of “reasonable egoism”.
Some selfish individuals want to achieve comfort for themselves, but at the expense of others. They want to make a lot of money, but they want to work less. If they have any kind of trouble at work, they shift all the blame on another person or on the coincidence of circumstances. Judging by the reviews, this type of egoist is considered the most unpleasant. In general, these individuals deliberately lead a parasitic lifestyle.
Who are egocentrists?
In contrast to egoists, egocentrism is the position of an individual whose interests are limited only to his own experiences, feelings and needs. This type is completely immune to any information, if it goes against his personal attitudes. Predominantly the source of such information are the surrounding people.
What are the differences between egoism and egocentrism?
The difference between these concepts is that individuals are differently aware of their attitudes. The egoist chooses to live only for himself completely consciously. The egocentrist simply cannot understand that it is possible to act otherwise.
In other words, egoism is an unwillingness to accept other people’s opinions, and egocentrism is an inability to do so.
In psychology, egoism and egocentrism manifest themselves in different ways. For example, the egoist loves only his own person and strives to do everything only for himself. The egocentrist perceives himself as the center of the universe.
Also differs to these phenomena attitude in society. Selfish people are always censured. Positive interpretations are simply not characteristic of egocentrism. The egoist, in pursuit of self-interest, simply ignores those around him. The self-centered person considers the interests and feelings of others absolutely insignificant and unworthy of attention. An egoist needs other people to parasitize on. The egocentrist doesn’t need anyone.
For example, if men start relationships with women and then easily break up with them just because something doesn’t suit them, that’s a typical egocentrist. An egocentric man can easily sit unemployed on his “wife’s neck”.
About the behavior of an egocentrist
Such a person sincerely believes in his point of view, considers it the only correct one. The self-centered person is not even aware of the existence of different opinions. The rejection may be due to psycho-physiological and social reasons. The egocentric person is only interested in his or her personal beliefs, emotions and feelings. Due to the fact that such an individual is fixated exclusively on himself, other people around him simply do not notice.
Such behavior leads to frequent conflicts. It is noteworthy that there is no such thing as a “close person” for an egocentric person. This type mainly considers people around him as pawns. They are toys and things for him, and he is the only one in the center.
If an egocentric person is confronted with a different point of view, he will start to change everyone’s mind and teach everyone else. In a team, such a person thinks that those around him are doing him only out of spite.
At what age can egoism and egocentrism appear?
The manifestation of egocentrism can occur in a person at any age, but it most often appears in young children. According to psychologists: it is the norm for them, but only if they are very young – before entering elementary school .
Egocentrism is also considered the norm in individuals who have been diagnosed with mental pathologies. Thus, egocentrism is due to psychophysiological features.
In adults and mentally healthy people, egocentrism is considered a destructive trait, a sign of an immature person. It can be so that in the course of socialization of an individual, this process is disrupted. As a result, adolescent identification goes inadequately.
Thus, if there is a failure during the period of formation of self-awareness, when the child is searching for the middle between the personal and the social, egocentrism begins to form. It can also arise if, in adolescence, the individual did not retain his or her individuality, but fit into the general rhythm of life. Besides, such a person also develops infantilism.
Unlike egoism, egocentrism is characteristic mainly of children and people with mental disabilities. Egoism, on the other hand, will accompany the individual throughout his life. According to experts, many people become more self-centered closer to old age. The reason for this is the psycho-physiological age-related changes. It is noticed that the behavior and thinking of older people practically does not differ from that of children.
What is the trouble with egocentrics?
Since every person can develop harmoniously only by interacting with other individuals, egocentrists very often get “stuck” at this stage. The fact is that such individuals are limited by the boundaries of their ego. If an egoist, despite the fact that he understands people’s feelings and knows that by his actions he can offend someone, still, in pursuit of his own benefit, ignores the interests of others, the egocentrist simply does not guess about them.
According to psychologists, such an individual himself very much needs attention, love and recognition. Learning to hear others is possible only by communicating. This requires willpower and patience. If the problem is so serious that it is impossible to cope on your own, then you should attend several psychotherapy sessions. The exact number of them determines the specialist after diagnosing the problem. It all depends on how neglected subconscious. Psychologist already determines what a person is missing, and begins to work in this direction.
As a conclusion
Egocentrism is a kind of credo, a life position, according to which the individual is guided solely by his own opinion. Such a person has his own view on any issue. Personal opinion of an egocentrist for him is above all. The people around him are only a source of benefits. Other people are not part of his world.
Of course, in life the egocentrist in rare cases can do things that are contrary to his interests. This is the difference between him and an egoist. Since this type has the courage to take full responsibility, as psychologists say, there are many strong, successful and strong-willed people among egocentrists.