Literal meaning might mean giving importance to self, the dictionary meaning happens to be radically different; ”an exaggerated sense of one’s own value or importance.” It is understood in precisely the same manner in common parlance, usage, perception and understanding. Importance is something which others are likely to feel about you, rather than you yourself brandishing your importance.
How often do we hear the off quoted refrain; ”You don’t know who I am?” This is what precisely, is self-importance. It can also be described as what you perceive / imagine of yourself, in comparison to what you are actually receive from people or people who matter to you. Self-importance is a mode / a mental state, having gotten into it, there is generally no coming back.
Once you get into that mode, the favourite hobby is to find out who has not given you importance and try to keep reacting in the manner, you deem fit. These reactions are nearly always inappropriate and mess up relations further. It happens in professional & personal dealings. At times, it might become successful and power centres outside the official mechanism develops. This type of success has many followers and lots of them, want to replicate. The atmosphere gets further vitiated.
This is the antithesis of humility of a successful or a powerful person. He who downplays his achievements. Various known individuals / groups have been known for having this mindset. It’s easy for people with no position and no accountability but an urge to gloat to fall in this trap.
The reverse is as much true. Some people with power / position get into this mode. Importance way beyond the system allows for. This is an epidemic, Indians small & big, are afflicted with. Self-importance is a termite making the system hollow.
SELF-IMPORTANCE IS SELF-DEFEATING.