Vanity

Snake SculptureSelf pride; conceit; self-admiration; unhealthy need to be praised and recognized . . .

The highest form of vanity is love of fame. George Santanya

Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory.  Joseph Conrad

The more vain we are, the more we shout to the world, I do not like myself. Randall Burkhalter

  If you throw something up into the air, eventually it will come back down to earth. “That which goes up, must come down”. This is the law of gravity and of vanity. The more special we think we are; the farther our fall when we come crashing down. Vanity should be considered a vice, an impropriety and a weakness.

   The vain are weak in their inner core. They may have some special qualities and skills that are to be admired. However, their ego’s need to be admired tarnishes their special quality. Vanity attempts to cover up and mask their inner weaknesses. A person who is ‘vain’ suffers significantly from self-issues.

   Low self-esteem often causes a person to feel that they must publicize, advertise, or flaunt themselves. They need to be admired. Actors, athletes, politicians, and celebrities often suffer from vanity. The evil queen asked her magic mirror who was the fairest in the land; it responded “Snow White” is now the fairest. Her vanity caused her to plot Snow White’s death. Getting the ‘big-head’ is something that can happen to any of us. Most of us have had experiences where we were especially successful at something. We received admiration and praises from those around us. Chances are good our heads started ‘swelling’ as a result of our special attention.

    Everyone has a need to be ‘loved’ and ‘admired.’ If we have problems feeling okay or ‘loved’, we will try to make up for our feelings of inadequacy. This is an innate survival skill and a defense mechanism. It will find expression in various ways. It can be a serious problem with low self-esteem individuals.  

    Humility is strength in character as compared to vanity which is a weakness. Possessing special skills and talents that others admire and recognize is a blessing. We should feel thankful and grateful, and even ‘humbled.’ We should avoid setting ourselves on a pedestal, seeking admiration and especially admiring ourselves. Anytime we find ourselves “blowing our own horn”, we should have alarms going off. Vanity, conceit, arrogance and pride are not qualities to be admired. To be vain is to be weak! Seek humility, be kind and considerate. Show care and concern for others and we will be admired. Anytime we find ourselves having to find reasons to admire ourselves we have problems that need addressing. Replace tendencies of vanity with expressions of humility.

Challenge:  Vanity is something that creeps on you. When you least expect it, something happens to put you in limelight. Vanity takes hold. You want to bask in self-admiration and seek the admiration of others. Remember to be gracious and humble in accepting praise. This enhances the good feelings others have toward you. When others become aware of your self-admiration; your standing in their eyes sinks. Vanity is a character flaw.

Wisdom: The truest characters of ignorance are vanity, and pride and arrogance.  Samuel Butler

Spiritual:: (NIV)

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:4

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12

The Lord should always be our example. In his perfection, he exemplified meekness and humility. God, himself, showed no vanity as he lived among us. He loved others, served and ministered to their needs. His own needs were secondary to the needs of others. The more we look to him, the less and less we will have problems with vanity. The more we come to appreciate how blessed we are, the more vanity will cease to be a problem for us.

Prayer:  Help me to replace vanity with humility. Help me to become who and what you want me to be.

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