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JJJPK

Vanity

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JJJPK

Hello all! 

I am a seventeen-year-old girl, and I am struggling with the root sin of vanity. Mostly, it just manisfests itself in discontent with my appearance and attempts to make myself more impressive to others. For example, I noticed the other day that I have a double chin. I am at a fine weight and I have been blessed with an incredibly healthy body. But I find myself obsessing over how nice it would be if I were slimmer, therefore prettier. I find myself comparing my looks to those of others, which often leads ot jealousy. I am constantly seeking human affirmation and approval. This is detrimental to my spiritual life and I want to try to root it out. So does anyone have any good tips on getting rid of vanity?

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chrysostom

Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes, and all things are vanity.

:topsy:

Not sure where you are spiritually, but if you're asking us online it probably means you haven't asked a spiritual director. If you can, get one! A good spiritual director will help you to stay on the right path in your spiritual life and not to worry overmuch. 

As a convert who has probably been a Catholic much less time than you have - assuming you're a cradle Catholic - I don't want to venture much more, but I will say that when I find myself struggling with sin or with life in general, I find it helpful to make acts of trust in God - for me specifically it is the Little Invocation started by Mother Yvonne-Aimee of Malestroit: "Oh Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy loving mercy."  I find myself repeating it often. Little by little we must learn to abandon ourselves to God, and to have a childlike trust in His tender care, for He has the remedy for everything. 

Edited by chrysostom

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Era Might

Sounds like your problem is envy, not vanity. Narcissus was too busy looking at his own reflection to compare with others, or imagine that he could be better than he already was. That's vanity, being preoccupied with yourself.

Seems that envy is a type of idealism, living in an idea and jealously competing for it. Rather than living in reality and accepting the real problems and possibilities that are there in front of you. After the Resurrection, Jesus meets Peter:

Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?" When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!" The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:20-23)

In other words, Peter was envious of John, worrying about what Jesus told John to do, because John was the "beloved disciple" and, presumably, the one to be imitated, the "ideal" disciple. But Jesus tells Peter, what is it to you what I have said to John? Take your own cross up and follow me. You are not John...if I tell him to stay and you to go, that is your path. Be who you are. It's not a competition, because competition is always about envy and jealousy. The message of the Cross is that Jesus refused to compete...when they asked him to go one mile, he went two, when they took his tunic, he gave his cloak as well. He didn't want to match their power or their beauty or their righteousness...he always avoided it and went to God directly.

Edited by Era Might

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HopefulHeart

Hi! When I was a teen, I experienced much of what you describe, down to disliking the appearance of my chin. ;) I hope I can offer a little advice.

Instead of focusing on rooting out negative traits, focus on cultivating positive attitudes and practices, especially self-confidence and gratitude. Discover and develop your talents, whether they be in academics, sports, art, writing, etc. Build strong friendships with people who help you to grow in confidence and virtue. Perform acts of charity for your family and friends, even something simple like sending a friendly text to someone who might be feeling lonely. If certain social media platforms bring out your feelings of vanity and jealousy, then you may want to use those forms of media less often.

Definitely talk to Jesus about your feelings of vanity and jealousy. He wants to hear about them and help you! :) Spend time recalling the blessings he has given you, and be grateful for them. Pray to Mother Mary for help!

Finally, be patient and gentle toward yourself. You're growing and discovering who God made you to be. :) 

God bless you!

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JJJPK
2 hours ago, Era Might said:

Sounds like your problem is envy, not vanity. 

Yes, I think you're right! Thanks for helping me put my finger on it more. Sin can sometimes be difficult to cubby hole! 

Thank you all for the sound advice! It's much appreciated. ;)

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FancyPantsMcGovern

People don't usually care what other people do and don't think what we do is too amesome.

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