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Narcissism, Nonprofit, Philanthropy, and Metaphysics

"The measure of intelligence is the ability to change" - Albert Einstein
The word change


Are you looking for solutions or are you just looking for information to support what you already believe? - M. Davenport (Co-Founder of The Soul Focused Group)


There is a distinct connection between metaphysics, narcissism, philanthropy, and nonprofits.


Metaphysics is the study of the connection between the unknown and the known, the intangible and the tangible, what we don't know, and what we think we know. This is what I study and love. I write, create content and work to help us use metaphysics in the modern world.


We all want to make the world a better place and are doing so with what we know and understand. This is not some scathing blog I'm writing to shame, blame, or guilt the nonprofit industry - quite the opposite. I aim to bring to light some of the issues that are present in this industry that prevent us from making the change we work hard to create every day.


My hope is that we become open to learning and open to the possibilities because if we don't, we risk ushering in a new generation of babies and children that will suffer from our unwillingness to challenge ourselves to unlearn, learn and grow.


I'm a birth worker at heart - a spiritual midwife. I do what I do for the babies. Always and forever. Hear me out :)


 

In January 2020, I reluctantly agreed to attend a two-day workshop held by The Soul Focused Group called "Gatekeepers Academy". I was hesitant because I thought it was another training about racial equity, and at that point, I was uninterested in sitting through anything that talked about the problems but offered no real solutions - this was a trend in my hometown of Cleveland, as I'm sure it is in many other places.


I was exhausted. I had been working to solve this issue of infant and maternal mortality for the last 6 years, and while I had been successful at building a nonprofit perinatal support agency, I felt there was no significant change - not only in maternal and child health but also in education, environment, community development, and many other fields. These areas had one thing in common - a lot of leaders, a lot of money spent but little progress. I didn't want to talk about it anymore.


The room was filled with who Cleveland considered to be its leaders - people who genuinely wanted to learn more about what could be done to make an effective impact. There was just one problem - The Soul Focused group challenged us to use our creative genius and think outside of the nonprofit box we were all so accustomed to. The overwhelming idea that what we had been doing might not be the most effective way to create change was evident by the end of day two - they were not invited back for a follow-up session.


Granted, covid hit a couple of months later, but Zoom calls were still in effect.


I, however, resonated deeply with the concepts they presented. A few in particular:


  1. As adults, we are operating at just 2% of our creative genius - a far cry from the 98% we operated at as 4 and 5-year-olds

  2. Our tendency as humans is to look for evidence of what we already believe as opposed to looking for actual solutions

  3. The time it takes to reprogram our subconscious minds to think differently, which can be short if we are intentional about gaining a new perspective

I was so moved by the philosophies that were shared, that a year later I left the nonprofit/philanthropy sector. For me, I could not go on pretending that we were being the most effective at what we could be. I felt myself turning narcissistic.


 

How Metaphysics Can Help The Narcissism Present in Nonprofit and Philanthropy


The nonprofit/philanthropy sector is quite narcissistic in its design - not necessarily the people working it in, but the design consumes the people who want to serve and create change.


According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissism can look like:


  • Have an unreasonably high sense of self-importance and require constant, excessive admiration.

  • Feel that they deserve privileges and special treatment.

  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements.

  • Make achievements and talents seem bigger than they are.

  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate.

  • Believe they are superior to others and can only spend time with or be understood by equally special people.

  • Be critical of and look down on people they feel are not important.

  • Expect special favors and expect other people to do what they want without questioning them.

  • Take advantage of others to get what they want.

  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others.

  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them.

  • Behave in an arrogant way, brag a lot and come across as conceited.

  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office.


Let me break down the top four I've witnessed in the nonprofit/philanthropy industry.


  1. Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements - The nonprofit sector is filled with award ceremonies and events. I received at least 6 awards during my career - Community Leader, Visionary, Most Interesting People, etc. We have a tendency to pass out awards, I assume as motivation to keep going, without seeing significant change and progress. This creates the illusion that we are actually doing a job well done, which leaves no room to challenge current methods and introduce new ones. Everyone is absolutely doing the best they know how but couldn't we aspire to know more? Shouldn't we aspire to know more?

  2. Take advantage of others to get what they want - A lot of universities rely on community organizations to get local-level data through quantitative/qualitative research. This is because they themselves don't have relationships with the people they want to study. There's an entire process called the Institutional Review Board (IRB) that tries to prevent researchers from taking advantage, encouraging them to be ethical in their partnerships. However, a lot of community organizations have accused universities of stealing their data with no recompense or credit given. I had two research studies published in national journals that gave no credit to the organization I founded. They used our clients for their research and told us they couldn't credit the organization due to privacy concerns.

  3. Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others - Although it is painfully obvious across communities that whatever is being done can be done better, there is a reluctance to be creative and do some things that have never been done, and as a result, the needs and feelings of the people they serve get ignored. What people really need is a sense of empowerment and inspiration. Not more community listening sessions, meetings, or free giveaways. People want to be able to provide for themselves. We haven't figured out a way to help guide them to make that happen.

  4. Have an unreasonably high sense of self-importance and require constant, excessive admiration - For the most part, no one gives donations anonymously. The bigger the check, the more recognition is given. This is because we have come to associate people with money as being people with high value when in truth, everyone is of value and no amount of zeros should make you feel more or less important. Donors require or in exchange for their donations, nonprofits feel compelled to mount their names on buildings or walls.

Understanding how metaphysics can help in the nonprofit industry begins with the acceptance that there is a connection between what we know and what we don't know, a higher power, and the everyday practices we use in our work. Most of us agree that we are led by some higher power and even believe that's how we ended up in this work as servant leaders.


With that belief and inner knowing, we also know that most of us are trying to separate our belief system from our work, and it just doesn't work because we are whole people. So, in our professional lives, we try to focus on the hard facts, and the hard data, making decisions that we deem logical, even if it doesn't feel right.


The second step in using metaphysics in the nonprofit industry is understanding the two minds - the conscious and the subconscious mind. Learning how our two minds work together or work in conflict gives us a better understanding of how to approach our work - how to get the most effective outcomes for the work we put in.


There, of course, are more steps and an intentional design process for organizations ready to explore this next level of impact. For now, I leave you with those two pivotal turning points.



 

I write this from a place of experience, not judgment. I've spent the last 14 years developing models, methods, and processes to address community needs. What I found out in all this time is that the real change begins within, with one person, then spreads. This is what creates a community. I believe this realization is what led me to dive deeper into metaphysics and understand its impact on the modern world.


I bring the subject of the nonprofit industry, maternal and child health, and metaphysics together because I'm building off of what I know. This is my story and experience. I hope to bring about a different and interesting perspective because I really want to serve.


To learn more about my work, please browse my website. It's still changing and undergoing construction but it still will bring value to understanding who I am and what I do.


I am planning a podcast series, so more information will be available for that soon. In the meantime, like and share my blogs. My hope is for healing - for me, for you, for us all, so we can get to enjoy the life we want for ourselves.


- Christin

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