Let’s face it. We live in a world dominated by vanity. We all want to look good and feel good, and we will stop for nothing to achieve that desired “image” and feeling. Modern day vanity causes us to go to extremes to fit in. We get into debt to buy that trendy car, we spend our precious time in front of mirrors, we spend more time patting ourselves on the back instead of loving, and we even put ourselves on operating tables all in an attempt to be something we aren’t.
Vanity is one of the main sins that plagues humanity today. Much of our country and economy is built on people’s vanities, and it could potentially destroy the world as we know it today.
Why Vanity Is Dangerous
It may sound silly to say that a personality trait is dangerous, but hear me out. Modern day vanity IS dark and dangerous. Don’t believe me? Look at all of the people that are suffering (or dead) due to melanoma caused by tanning beds or excessive sun tanning. They only wanted to look good to others. Or what about all of the children who have committed suicide because of bullies? The bullies thought they were being cool and impressing others – they were being vain.
The price of vanity is high. Here are a few reasons why vanity is dangerous to ourselves and to our society.
Admitting you’re wrong is hard. I get that. We are all opinionated and want to be right. Why? Because being wrong would destroy our perfect little image we have worked so hard to build. The downside is that if no one in the world is wrong, who is right? We may believe we are right, but in reality we are merely pushing the truth away. And one day, it will sneak up and really bite us in the ass. Truth has a funny way of doing that.
2. Vain People Are Untrustworthy
Maybe you are well accomplished or insanely good looking. Maybe you are rich. Maybe you are even the President of the United States. But if you are so full of vanity and conceit that it shows, you are telling the world that you cannot be trusted. Vanity causes obsession. If you are obsessed with yourself, then that is the only person you truly care about. Conceited people do not have what it takes to be a friend. They do not have what it takes to be a leader. You cannot count on them. They are untrustworthy.
3. Vanity Causes Eventual Self Loathing
Self-obsession leads to narrow mindedness which may temporarily blind you to your flaws, but eventually you are going to fail big time. You will fail big enough that not even your skewed view of yourself will shadow it from your eyes. And since you are so obsessed with perfection, you are going to beat yourself up when you fail. Vanity is an emotional roller coaster of praising yourself and beating yourself up. That kind of ride is never fun. The more you beat yourself up, the more you hate yourself. Vanity is like a drug. For a while you feel pretty good, but if you indulge too much, you wind up in a really bad downward spiral.
Confidence and self-love are great things. They are empowering, inspiring, and courageous. However, it is a fine line between confidence and vanity. Once you cross over to vanity, you lose your self-awareness. You lose accountability for who you are. The truth is that vanity stems from insecurity, so, in reality, vain people are very insecure. They constantly seek praise and affirmation from others. They want to be “cool” and fit in.
So how do you cross back over from vanity to self-confidence? Here are a few tips.
1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
In today’s world, it is easier than ever to browse through social media and see pictures of beautiful models, successful business owners, and rich people. It is tough not to start comparing yourself to them and coming up with ways to model their behavior and look, but you must resist. You are who you are, and you are perfect that way.
2. Build Your Humility
Yes, you may be smart. Yes, you may be beautiful. You are probably really good at a few things. But never lose sight of the fact that you are very small in this big old world. You are not good at everything, and there are people out there that know much more than you do. You are not as powerful as you’d like to think. Be humble. Let go of all that pride.
Do you have a roof over your head? Food on your plate? A paycheck? Do you know that there are millions of people out there that wish they had those things? I’m not trying to be a Debby Downer, but this is reality. While you are busy worrying about how perfect your hair is, someone with cancer is losing theirs. Thousands of people in our country sleep on the streets and beg for food every day. There are people that die from diseases that we are vaccinated against. So make it a daily habit to be grateful for the things that you have. You do not need more. You need to be happy with what you have now.
We are in control of this dreadfully vain society. We have to be the ones to change. Stop caring about what you and others look like or how powerful you are. Time is fleeting. Spend it well. Embrace your imperfections. Love others. Go have fun and enjoy your life. Do all of the things that vanity is currently preventing you from doing. Do not let this deadly sin take control of your life or our society. Vanity is only as powerful as we let it be…so let’s not let it be.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.