The Deadly Sin of Vanity: How Vain Are You?
Pride Comes Before A Fall
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who's the fairest of them all? Do you look in the mirror and like what you see? I hope you do! However, if you're still looking in the mirror an hour later you may have a little problem. Vanity, pride, snobbery, arrogance, haughtiness pick your favorite word. But of course they all mean a similar thing. Basically being up ones-self. Possibly to your own detriment. Perhaps it's time to drag your lovely self away from your remarkable reflection and examine the inner you, but first let me tell you a story...
Hans Christian Anderson tells the tale of a foolish Emperor who loved to look good in his clothes. To the extent that he ignored his Kingdom and his people.
The Emperor's New Clothes
One day two little tricksters pretending to be weavers arrived at the Emperor's grand palace. They told the vain Emperor they would weave him a suit so fine that everyone would be in awe of him in his splendid attire.
The majestic suit would be the colours of the rainbow woven by threads of precious spider's silk. They told the Emperor that the cloth was a special cloth and would show up any subject that was really stupid and therefore unfit to be in the presences of such a man as the great Emperor. The suit would look invisible to unworthy stupid subjects.
The Emperor was delighted and couldn't wait for his finery to be finished. He was so excited he decided to present himself in a grand procession to show off his new clothes. The day arrived and the weavers helped the proud Emperor into his suit. Turning to the chamberlain, one weaver said.
''Here. Help with the train, so the Emperor won't trip over.''
The chamberlain was shocked. The naked Emperor stood in all his glory without so much as a stitch on. Keeping his thoughts to himself he clicked his fingers; two servants rushed to pick up the invisible train. Looking at each other with great amusement, the servants tried desperately not to giggle.
The Emperor and his party made their way out of the palace and through the gathering of people who had come to see his wonderful new clothes. Suddenly a child called from the expectant crowd.
''The Emperor has no clothes on.''
Everyone started to laugh and cheer. The vain Emperor, knowing the child was right, straightened his shoulders, held his head high and continued on his way. There was nothing else he could do. His two giggling servants in tow.
The naked truth often hurts. However it is very rarely wrong. When all is laid bare there's very little to hide behind. The next time you take a selfie to post to your family, friends or on social media, ask yourself exactly what message you want to send. Your own smiling happy face is probably all your loved ones want to see. Imperfections are your own individual perfections, they make you who you are in the most unique way.
Here's Looking At You Kid...
Let me just clarify something here: there is nothing wrong with looking your best. In fact we all should make the effort to look good and even better than good on some occasions. However there's a fine line between looking good and thinking you're the cat that got the cream. When really you're the moggy drinking sour milk.
So you think you're all that? Better than everyone else! Strutting around like a proud peacock with your feathers in the air. Dressed to the nines and loving any attention that comes your way. You're so vain you think everyone wants to be you. Vanity, pride in small doses are to be expected and of course being proud of achievements is only right, however it's how you project that pride and how you see yourself that is the issue.
Vanity is not a nice trait to have. A person that is excessively proud of themselves is boring, because without even realising it they talk about themselves all the time. We only have to look at numerous celebrities on social media: it's the same me, me, me tune, a consistent barrage of idol chatter. There is never anything new to learn from them: big house; lots of money; botox and the gym is the grounds of most posts. There is never anything amazing or empowering just silly posing with hair and make up in expensive clothes talking about themselves. Like the Emperor they care so much about their own persona they are actually oblivious of the message they send out to the world: Look at Me!
Vanity comes from the latin word vanitas, meaning: emptiness, foolish, futility and empty pride. Not one nice word among that lot! Being proud of your achievements is normal and rightly so, just remember to keep your pride at a level that is acceptable to other people. Pride in our appearance is also normal, but if you have more mirrors than chairs in your home, then you're probably the only one that sits on them. Vanity can make you look foolish. How many times have you seen people go to astonishing levels to look good. I'm not just talking spanx and hair pieces!
Making the best of what you've got and being proud of who you are is an important part of being you and being happy with yourself. Vanity is on a different level. Vanity proclaims a self obsession that is nothing more than boring and ridiculous. Loving yourself is one thing, worshipping yourself and wanting everyone else out there to adore you too is nothing more than narcissistic and very unlikeable.
The Sin Of Pride
Having a high opinion of oneself is quite unattractive for those around you. We all admire beauty however beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Vanity smothers true beauty, dragging it down to the darkest of dungeons. A bleak abyss devoid of nurture.
We can see how foolish it is to think one is far superior than another, just because we wish it to be so (look at the silly Emperor) it is not necessarily true. Vanity and pride are disdainful qualities that embolden selfishness. Humility is a virtue that should be learned and practiced and shared. Embrace who you are with respect for others. When your inner beauty shines through there is truly nothing more beautiful.
''The last time I saw him he was walking down lover's lane holding his own hand.''
Fred A. Allen.
Another Deadly Sin...
- Is lust a sin?
Lust is the desire to experience physical pleasures especially sexual. Lust for power is also top of the list, with an intense craving to rule not just your own roost, but everyone's, from the top floor down....
© 2010 Gabriel Wilson