Is vanity such a bad thing?
It certainly can be, when flaunted in the extreme, when unrealistic expectations are placed upon appearances to an extent where it becomes distressing for the person and intolerable for others, or when aesthetic desires go beyond what is possible through natural or plastic surgical means. In a competitive world saturated with photo-shopped images of how we should look, it is easy to see how socially accepted levels of vanity continues to escalate.
There is however a certain “healthy” level of vanity that can prove to be a positive influence on our lives. What do I mean by this? Well, vanity is defined as possessing pride in or admiration of one’s appearance, correct? The complete opposite of vanity can be aptly considered as self-forgetfulness or neglect. Neither extremes of the term is beneficial or desirable. Taking pride in one’s appearance however is certainly important. It creates a real time awareness of the importance of “maintaining” ourselves. It makes us eat better, exercise more regularly, and sleep more soundly. For the sake of appearance, we apply sunscreen, drink more water, or perhaps even give up smoking! Without this “healthy” level of regard for one’s appearance, we can be tempted to let it all go unmonitored, unkept and eventually, neglected.
Vanity serves as motivation to be healthy, as how we look externally is always connected and highly dependent on what goes on internally. Sure, plastic surgery can help turn back the effects of time and ageing, reverse the consequences of childbirth or gravity, and even enhance what nature has provided us; however, no matter what advances take place in plastic surgery, gravity will persist and time will continue to tick. To get the most out of our surgical enhancements, therefore, we need to maintain what has been achieved. Examples of this can be skin care after various forms of facial rejuvenation, or toning exercises after liposuction or body contouring surgery. Vanity in such circumstances actually stand as incentive for us to pursue a healthy lifestyle and to look after ourselves.
Vanity therefore is not evil. A healthy level of vanity that motivates us toward a healthier lifestyle can help us look our best, feel better, and altogether contribute positively to our personal well being.