Narcissism is a state that everybody seems to define differently. Basically, people agree it means vanity. But what is vanity? Is it spending three hours on your hair? Maybe not necessarily. Is it getting your nails done every day? Maybe not necessarily. Is it a face? Maybe not necessarily. Is it staring into the mirror for a long time? Maybe not necessarily.
The word “narcissism” comes after the Roman god Narcissus, who “faced” a demise after staring at his reflection in the water for far too long. Narcissism today is a clinical diagnosis. And yet, when a guy puts on a tie and gels his hair, everybody at church comments cheerfully that he “cleans up nice.” A lot of beauty routines can be considered to be self-care. Many professions seem to require careful grooming. And beauty and fashion can definitely be a legitimate hobby, like collecting milk glass. Where do we draw the line?
One key to less narcissistic behavior, potentially, is to always love your higher power. See your body first and foremost as a vessel to do good things on the planet. Know that your mind is more important than how you look and have positive thoughts. Treat others with kindness and always give them the benefit of the doubt beyond your first impression. Don’t treat your beauty routine as the most important part of your day. Make the most important part of your day reaching out to an isolated loved one and being a good listener. Don’t let your beauty routine become more important than love. Love your wife when she is not wearing makeup. Love your daughter no matter what she is wearing.
Next, keep a good frame of mind. When you look in the mirror, know that you are not the most attractive person on the planet. Just know that you had fun trying on a new look. You are comforted in your routine. You like how your hair turned out today. You hope that this outfit will help you to land the job. This outfit reminds you of your sister, something you saw in a magazine, or something Nanna would have liked wearing if she were still alive. It probably won’t be the hottest bikini on the beach. You’ll probably see a dress at prom that you’ll like better on your own. My wife will probably like somebody else’s tie at temple better. But you had a hypothesis of what would make you happy, you went for it, and you are generally satisfied, especially knowing that there are more important things in life. You are not competitive with fashion, you are just enjoying yourself, and all the tools God gave us in the world to keep our spirits bright.
Finally, make sure that you are not hurting anybody with your look. Narcissists, people usually agree, are out to make other people suffer. Don’t wear white to somebody else’s wedding. Don’t wear a red dress to a funeral. Don’t copy your friend’s haircut without asking her. It’s nice to feel special, but it generally feels nicer to be appropriate. Have fun, but not too much fun. Allow people to get used to your taste. Wear the same pieces time and time again. Be familiar. Soon, people will be familiar with the fact that you’re not a narcissist.