For decades, we have been rushing towards an endless goal. We have built skyscrapers, human-made islands, and luxury cars, then tried to break the world record of the existing best things to prove our mettle, which is needed for human evolution. We get a home theatre, just for it to get replaced by a better home theatre and better homes to live in altogether. All of this for a slice of vanity.
The quote by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe says, “Vanity is a desire for personal glory, the wish to be appreciated, honored, and run after, not because of one’s personal qualities, merits, and achievements, but because of one’s existence. At best, therefore, it is a frivolous beauty whim it befits.”
Because we are talking about vanity, we cannot refrain from addressing social media acting as a virtual mirror of an unreal contemporary world. Weekends hit, we put on our best dresses for clubbing and partying, and finally we wake up hungover with a squinting eye to all the reactions on our pictures uploaded the previous night.
But in lockdown, our only pub is our home, and we are our party. Most of our extroverted selves sometimes express a terrible need for validation we are accustomed to. While we work from home, no one could say, “Hey, you are looking pretty today,” or “Hey, that shade suits you; you should wear that more often.” There is no get-together where we could share a meal or a laugh over a joke or two, giving vague looks to each other.
We are not only caged in our homes but also our minds. After all, reading books and Netflixing can divert your mind to another world away from yourself. This pandemic has the word “self-love” attached to its surface, traveling with it wherever it goes. For ages, debates have gone on about self-love and vanity, and I believe both words are two sides of the same coin. Others cannot appreciate you if you cannot appreciate yourself. When the only thing you’ve got is yourself, taking out 15 minutes in a day to enjoy yourself and indulging in self-love can help you improve your mood and overall sense of quarantine life.
Even if the only place you are going to travel is from one room to another, put on that lipstick and post on social media in your dress, waiting for a moment of celebration, and let the reaction to your self-love flow. Sharing our pictures or lifestyle is venomous when we start comparing it, passing on a feeling of worthlessness. This is a time to reflect on the importance of physical and mental health, and if vanity is helping you, then don’t step back.
Take out those 15 minutes to remind yourself how lucky you are to be with yourself and do whatever you can when the world is paused. Make a habit of writing little thank you notes for yourself on how you’ve dealt with all the difficult circumstances of your life and how grateful you are for making it up to this moment.
Reflect on all the moments you never really noticed, whether it’s that smile on that stranger’s face, that ice cream truck, your near ones visiting you, or being able to dance to your favorite track in a club (which you can still do). We often blame others for failures but forget to thank the ones who help us succeed. Practicing gratitude may sound cliche, but as standard as it sounds, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea; practicing gratitude is a form of self-love too.
Take out that quarter of an hour to write about everything that makes you proud of yourself. You don’t have to be a Grammy award winner or a president to achieve that sense of self-pride, for that matter. Your list can be learning to cook meals for yourself or making a vision chart for the future.
Lastly, at the end minute of your quarter-hour, close your eyes and smile for yourself because this hour needs you, and you should be thankful to yourself. All the best.