We call someone who is obsessively concerned with their own beauty or importance a ‘narcissist’.
But what does my name have to do with them? OK, it’s like this…
Around 1900, the famous Viennese psychiatrist Sigmund Freud was the first to use the term ‘narcissism’ to describe people who feel innately superior to everyone around them.
But he actually stole the idea for this word from someone else: Ovid.
In ‘Metamorphoses’ the great Roman poet Ovid told of the tragic fate of Narcissus (Nárkissos).
This Greek boy who was so beautiful that everyone fell in love with him – including a nymph called Echo.
But vain Narcissus scorned her love, and was punished by the gods as a result: from that moment on, he would love only his own reflection.
Sure enough, Narcissus saw himself reflected in a pool of water and… wow! What a beautiful boy!
He fell in love – with himself. An impossible love, of course: no matter how he tried, he could not kiss himself.
Desperate, and heartbroken because his love would never be reciprocated, Narcissus melted away, eventually turning into me, the daffodil, a flower that is always bent towards the ground.