If you ask one hundred women, “Do you want to be beautiful?” most of them will say they do. But, if you ask them, “So what do you think of beautiful women?” Most will have some pretty strong opinions. They will tell you that beautiful women are “thin, confident, perfect, well-dressed, and that they get what they want.” They will tell you that it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to look beautiful. They will also say that beautiful women are usually born that way. These statements are all myths — they are not true, but we tend to believe them.
And lurking just beneath the surface, the myths get even worse. When questioned more closely, many women will also report that beautiful women are “vain, self-centered, egotistical, selfish, and basically, not very nice.” I have asked tens of thousands of women of all ages and social groups these questions and share with you that this is what many women experience. They also think that they would have to be perfect. And until they are perfect in every way, then they cannot be beautiful.
If we think this way, we are in a trap! We think we want beauty, but the concept carries a lot of baggage with it. And if it’s as bad as some think it is, we should be avoiding it! The unfortunate result is that very few women have been able to be happy or satisfied with their appearance. Yet, we live in a world where others judge us and we judge ourselves on how we look.
Most women don’t want to be vain. In fact, the fear of becoming vain — or being perceived as vain — keeps many women from seeing and experiencing their beauty. This becomes very understandable when you look up the word “vain” in the dictionary. It is defined as, “having no real value, idle, worthless, useless, foolish, silly.” With this definition, I can see why no one would want to be seen in these ways.
Another definition of vain is “having or showing undue or excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments.” If a woman thinks that she is worthless or has little real value, then any small amount of personal pride is “excessive and undue,” and can make her uncomfortable.
Pride is a very tricky word. It has two completely different meanings and they are quite contradictory. One definition is “inordinate self-esteem; conceit” and the other is, “a reasonable or justifiable self-respect.” So, let’s think of false pride as, “conceit” and true pride as, “self-respect.”
Now, the plot thickens. It’s not just becoming vain that we fear. Women are afraid that others will think they are vain and so they either keep putting themselves down, or trying to prove that they are good enough. So, in several different ways, vanity is related to fear.
Vanity comes out of feeling worthless or unworthy to some extent and trying to prove you are not. So, every step toward finding your true worth is a step away from vanity.
Both vanity and false pride seem to come from trying to pretend that you are something that you are not. Let’s give this up! Every single woman I’ve ever met had her own beautiful qualities. Very few women realize their beauty fully and some have not realized their beauty at all. They are all just at different stages of learning their worth and beauty.