Vanity is a weird subject. What constitutes someone as being vain? For the longest time, I always confused vanity with self-love, and now I still don't really know where the line is. And, even more confusing, how do you express self-love that doesn't come off in a pompous way? One pretty messed up thing I've noticed is that it almost seems that if a lean person is proud of their body, it's vanity, but if a person isn't conventionally skinny, then it's called "self-love." And I think I may have found out why...
For some context, this is something I've been thinking about since I made some pretty big (relative to me) life changes. Back in May, I started going to the gym every day to lift weights and I also invested in my skincare. So, while the weight sheds off and my skin clears up, I'm feelin' myself! And because I feel so happy and healthy I want to share it with others. When this happens, I usually get one of two responses: 1) People are supportive of me, or 2) silence. Silence?! Really!? I was so confused until I finally realized this silence was a result of me coming off as self-absorbed, and people just don't know how to respond.
This is easier to understand if you assume that people are egocentric by nature. This means a couple things; the first being we like when the attention is on us, and the second being that we constantly compare ourselves to others as a way of making ourselves feel better. So, when people we know are improving themselves and practicing self-love, the first thing we do is compare ourselves to that. And, because we are raised to want to be the best at everything, we feel attacked. That means it's difficult to support someone if you feel like they just attacked you.
Others people's triumphs are not your failures. I cannot stress that enough.
So to the people trying to better themselves: keep doing you, because you're doing amazing! You don't need anyone's permission or blessing; you don't need any of thatto do something that is entirely for you. And I know that it sucks when this positive and amazing thing you're doing for yourself isn't translating to others, but it's not your job to explain to everyone why it is important to you. So, put your headphones on blast and keep going.
And to the friends of those trying to better themselves: be there for them. Ask them questions and be engaged in their efforts as well as their progress. The little things that can really make your friend feel so supported. A simple, "your skin looks great today" works WONDERS, y'all. I know it's easy to get defensive, but we need to wrap our heads around the idea that if our friends are working out, that doesn't by default make us garbage cans. There is always room to support others.
In short, self-love and vanity are both relative, but we should do what we can to be supportive. Unless someone dead-ass says "I'm better than you,"... then they can choke.