What is vanity? Perhaps this is one of the qualities peculiar to the human person? Or something more associated with success, honor, glory? Or maybe something that is fraught with danger and can lead to the loss of the most valuable property of the human soul? Obviously, the answer is not as simple as it seems at first glance.
The interpretation of the concept of "vanity" can be found in different sources: dictionaries, works of psychologists, works of fiction. This problem is more deeply covered in the works of Orthodox saints.
Interpretation of dictionaries
You can get some idea of what vanity is by contacting the Russian language dictionaries.
The meaning of the word in another edition is complemented by such properties as arrogance and a clear desire to be the subject of worship. Here D. N. Ushakov notes the futility, emptiness of such aspirations. T. F. Efremova emphasizes that this quality is unjustified, that is, not confirmed by the true merits of man.
General meaning of the word
In the very two-part concept one can find a general answer to the question of what vanity is. It comes from two words. One of them is vain, characterizing vainness and emptiness, the second is glory, or, in fact, the goal of all these aspirations. Literally, its meaning can be referred to as “vain thirst for glory,” or pleasing oneself with arrogant self-esteem. This is an internal desire to prove their own superiority over all others. This is not only a characteristic feature of painful self-love, but also quite often one of the main motives for self-development.
Let us turn to science with the question of what vanity is? The definition proposed by psychologists reflects it as one of the socio-psychological qualities of the human person, expressed in his obvious aspirations for reverence and glory. On this basis, there is a reassessment of their own abilities and capabilities.
The growing need to appear better than anyone else leads to hypertrophy of pride and the growth of what is called the word “vanity”. The meaning of the word can also be represented as one of the methods of insidious self-deception, the root of which is hidden under a pile of illusions about its own greatness. Such self-exaltation can lead to dangerous consequences in the form of “star” disease.
Vanity in the modern world
Today a person, fearing to be worse than others and being dependent on the opinions of others, rushes toward goals that lead him away from himself. Indeed, as often happens: outwardly possessing all sorts of "attributes" of a good life, he can be deeply unhappy inside. There can be complete emptiness and disappointment. It is possible that, by acquiring the benefits of civilization and constantly thinking about them, a person is trying to protect himself from the emptiness that is in his soul.
The modern information world contributes to the development of vanity. Today everything in it is created in order to be able to be visible to others, to demonstrate oneself, the level of well-being, one's achievements in work, business, and even in personal life.
Vanity is justified because it is recognized as the incentive that allows people to achieve great success. A vivid example of this is celebrities, show business, sports or art. People who serve the idol of vanity and give him everything that is valuable to a normal person — motherhood, health, family, the best years of his life. And all this in order to still bask in the rays of glory.
This problem is not new. It is enough to turn to works of art and literature, and it becomes clear: the search for an answer to the question of what vanity is, has been relevant at all times.
In search of an answer to the same question, let us turn to religion. So what is vanity? In Orthodoxy, much has been said about this sinful property of the human soul. The Reverend Fathers saw its insidious nature and noted that this defect is hidden, many-sided and subtle. He is able to tempt a person not only carnally, but also spiritually, growing both to the sinful and to the virtuous.
Basil the Great defines the conceited one who is able to do or say something just for the sake of worldly glory. The attitude to the latter of the holy fathers is completely different than that of secular people. After all, no glory on earth can be compared with that prepared by God for those who love him. All earthly turns into dust and can be compared only with steam, which, having appeared, disappears immediately.
Answering the question of what a person’s vanity is, Orthodoxy calls him to fight this passion, which draws a multitude of other sins:
- charitable behavior;
The way a person thinks about himself determines the direction of his life. It is known that, ascending to a higher level, he begins to feel differently: smarter, more beautiful, or simply better than others.
In Orthodoxy, everything should be the other way around. Here, external advantages are total emptiness. The more a person climbs the ladder of life, the more acutely he feels how unworthy this climb is, because the level of development here is determined by the degree of humility. And the Lord will judge not so much by deeds as by heart intentions. A person, doing good, which is intended not for God, but with the purpose of showing that he is better than others, only moves away from God because of his vanity.
The root of this behavior lies in the fallen nature of people, and if you do not consciously fight it, you can fall very low.
How to overcome the vanity
To some extent, answering the question what vanity is, let us figure out how to deal with this ailment.
The first is to try to be honest not only with others, but also with yourself. Acknowledge your shortcomings and work on them.
The second rule is to adequately perceive criticism. Of course, it is difficult to treat well the one who scolds us. It should be remembered at the same time that by doing so he brings us invaluable benefits, indicating the direction of development.
Third – be careful with praise! She could have very different roots, which is in no way associated with its object. It may be the desire to gain the favor or just to do something nice, etc. you should Always remember about it and try to treat the praise is critical.
The fourth rule is to set goals a little higher than their capabilities. And upon reaching them, remember that there are people in the world who have achieved much more, but with all this remain modest and simple.
The fifth rule is from the Orthodox priest Dmitry Smirnov, who suggests not expressing his opinion until he turns to a question or for help.