November 5      

Today's quotation:

Some people are so intractably vain that when they admit they are wrong they want as much credit for admitting it as if they were right.

Sydney Harris

Today's Meditation:

Vanity is difficult to talk about, because of course one doesn't want to point fingers and say, "You're vain and you need to change!"  Vanity is a trait best left to the self to combat, and one should decide to combat it because it's proving to be damaging to them in some way, somehow.  To me, vanity is dangerous because it closes so many doors that may lead to wonderful places, and it keeps people focused on what other people think of them rather than defining for themselves what's good and important.

If I'm vain, there are so many things that I'll never do because I have an image that I want-- or probably need-- to maintain.  That kind of image is not a great motivating factor, for it keeps us focused outwardly, concerned mostly about what other people see, and we try to make sure we are what we think they want to see rather than our authentic selves.  If I'm authentic with others, then I'm living my life as I think it should be, and I'm not doing things simply to maintain an image that is nothing more than an illusion.  Wearing clothes of certain brand names only is not authentic-- it's a behavior born of the desire to impress others.

When our vanity controls us, it leads to decisions based on outside forces.  I don't want to be worrying constantly about what other people think of me.  I want to be my authentic self and let people do what they will with that.  If I try to create an image that I want others to believe I am, then I'm setting myself up for a very difficult and painful fall when I realize that the image truly is just an illusion that I've tried to create in order to deal with my insecurities.

We want others not to be vain because we don't want them to put themselves in harmful situations, and we understand what happens when false images crumble.  Sometimes, though, it's important to look at ourselves and ask ourselves if we, too, may be creating and maintaining illusions based on a desire to see ourselves in a more positive light.  And if we are, then we probably should do something about it, shouldn't we?

Questions to consider:

Why is what others think of us so important to so many of us?

How much of vanity is an effort to make ourselves appear "better" than others?

In which ways are you vain?  Where does this vanity (if any) come from?

For further thought:

Cure yourself of the affliction of caring how you appear to others.  Concern yourself only with how you appear before God, concern yourself only with the idea that God may have of you.

Miguel De Unamuno

more thoughts and ideas on vanity



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