I believe we should redefine the word ‘vanity’ for ourselves.
I’ve been guilty of hating on other people’s Instagram selfies. I’ve unfollowed other women in the past, because their photos made me feel insecure about myself. Sometimes, I look in the mirror and wish that I could wear a filter in real life. How dare I feel beautiful? Self-acceptance feels unreachable…forbidden, even.
But on other days, when I’m feeling lucky, I look in the mirror and think: “Damn, I look good today.” But before long, shame drags me down. The cycle of self-loathing begins all over again.
Why did so much of my confidence come to hinge on passing feelings, or validation from others online? Since when did comparison start ruling my life? And why can’t I just freakin’ love myself consistently?
It’s because of a little word called ‘vanity.’
The dictionary defines Vanity as “excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.”
I realize I’m being vain. Then the shame kicks in.
I grew up in an environment where self-love was a sin. Taking any pleasure in my appearance was wrong. I was instructed that Vanity was a woman’s downfall. The guilt still creeps in when I least expect it, sucking me dry of self-esteem. And the hatred I’ve developed towards my appearance comes out as insecurity, jealousy, and social anxiety.
Vanity. I’d be committing a sin for liking myself at all, so I just choose not to. It’s a virtue to be humble, right? Maybe someone, somewhere will notice how pious I am in my self-deprecation. They’ll say I’m pretty, but I won’t believe it. Somehow, that will make me worthy of their love.