Self-love and vanity have always been seen as similar states of being. We’re taught that no one should love themselves “too much” for fear of becoming, or being seen as conceited and vain. While our society supports “loving yourself” we find ourselves lost in the ambiguity of the concept: What kind of love exactly, and to what part of my “self” do I apply that love? So many of us think that loving ourselves, is loving how productive we can be, or the status that we’ve earned either at a job or within the community. In this article, we’re going to explore how different vanity and authentic self-love can be.
The first definition of vanity is this: excessive pride in or admiration of one's own appearance or achievements. The second definition has a more obvious negative connotation: the quality of being worthless or futile. There is a lot of irony in the two definitions. Being vain causes people to not only attempt to cover up their flaws, but grossly enhance their assets for all the world to see. They are concerned about what people think of their looks, achievements and/or status. They pursue what makes them happy, even if it means hurting others. Vanity is a form of loving all the best parts of oneself, while simultaneously attempting to make the worst parts of oneself disappear. Vanity is an insult and a barrier to humility and self-acceptance. In all honesty, being vain can only be described as a futile attempt at loving oneself.
Truly loving oneself is a completely different venture and is an action of the heart, not of the mind or body. Loving oneself has a slightly different definition: Regard for one's own well-being and happiness. There is truth to that definition, yet it is an oversimplification. In the act of loving yourself, you begin to see your flaws for what they truly are: unique. Then by slowly accepting those flaws, your insecurities start to heal. Instead of attempting to cover up your imperfections, you’re comfortable with them and feel no need to falsely represent how you look. When one is filled with self-love, there is happiness for accomplishing achievements, but celebrate in private or in a non-boastful manner. Being humble in the face of greatness and in the face of the desolate is a strength that only self-love can provide. Self-love is the foundation for which we can genuinely love others with that same kindness and gentleness we treat ourselves. Self-love is so important, because the only person that self-love can come from is you.
Loving oneself doesn’t mean that magically flaws disappear, mistakes don’t exist, and happiness is a constant. Loving oneself means that you accept your flaws, your mistakes, and the fact that happiness is not always a constant. It means seeing your best self and your worst self as equals, and loving them both equally. It means nourishing your heart and choosing to treat your mind, body, and soul with respect and love. Self love equals freedom from our addictions to hatred, judgment, fear, and shame. Self-love means to heal, from the inside out. So love yourself, from the inside out and let that inner light SHINE.