Van·i·ty [van-i-tee] Excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments; conceit.
Are you vain?
How do you feel about the definition? Does it make you uncomfortable to openly describe yourself as vain, given the negative connotation? Do you think that vanity is a natural part of being a woman?
Let’s talk about it.
I rarely pass by a mirror without looking at my reflection. I like to accentuate my favorite parts with clothing and makeup and adornments. I’m 36. I want to continue to look young as I age. Caring about how I look is one of the things that drives me to be mindful about my eating and self-care habits, to ensure that I preserve this temple and age gracefully. I take selfies. Often. I regard myself from different angles, curious about how I look from the outside and how my spirit is conveyed through my appearance.
Am I vain? Prior to reading the definition, I would have said hell yeah, I’m vain. But I’m also humble, so there’s nothing wrong with a healthy dose of vanity. Right? That’s how I thought about it. But excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments? Conceit? Out of context, just stared at, the definition made me uncomfortable.
In fact, I reject the definition. So I’m here to redefine it.
We are made of magic. Pure love and light, expressing itself as a human being. When we don’t acknowledge that, we let our human insecurities rule our perception of ourselves. When we are in tune with our spirits, we feel beautiful on the inside, and we want to express it on the outside. Inner beauty naturally leads to outer charm, outer glow and magnetism.
Without that inside-out dynamic, we find ourselves placing too much emphasis on the external package, excessively proud or excessively ashamed of our appearance and acting accordingly. Thinking that our worth and our status is dependent on how we look. Allowing how we feel on the inside to be determined by the response we get on the outside, instead of the other way around.
In my world, to be vain without being grounded in spirituality and self-love is a practice in conceit and self-loathing. I have walked that walk. Obsessing over how I looked, dressing to get any kind of attention I could get, then feeling very uncomfortable with the attention once I got it. Expecting to be known as one of the “pretty girls” and feeling slighted when I was denied the attention that I felt I deserved. Showing off. Showing too much. Doing too much. This is vanity. Unpretty, unhappy, unfulfilling vanity.
But a woman who delights in her appearance in order to honor her Creator, her spirit, and her vehicle for expression, that’s a vanity that I believe in. It is more than caring about how you look, it is caring about how you affect people, how you speak to them without words, how you inspire them with your presence. Learning to express and accentuate what you love about yourself is a privilege and a discovery process that every woman deserves to pursue in her own way.
Today, I dare you to be vain. Look in the mirror and think of compliments instead of criticism. Celebrate how blessed you are and feel the gratitude coming out of your pores, illuminating you from the inside out. Recognize the creativity that lives inside of you and realize how free you really are to express it. This is beautiful, joyful vanity and I think it looks damn good on you.