“As soon as a woman gets to an age where she has opinions & she’s vital & she’s strong, she’s systematically shamed into hiding under a rock.” - Sarah Silverman
The demonisation of self obsession is so booo-ooo-oooooring, don’t you think? It’s one of those things where when I see it, I immediately want to flop down onto a fainting couch (scattered with velvet covered, tassel-trimmed cushions), rolling my eyes and demanding a “stiff drink s’il vous plait ” from the darling butler. (Pure imagination of course, I’ve no fainting couch or butler. Il est tragique!)
“Oh she takes too many selfies, oh she likes her own selfies! So self obsessed!” they snipe and sneer.
Gosh! Who cares! I hope she posts 500 selfies on Instagram, likes all of them, then shares them on Facebook and likes them all again! Just to annoy you, mon petit imbécile! Don’t you realise, every second you are focusing on someone else, that is time less spent on furthering and improving yourself?
If you aren’t dedicating yourself to yourself, you are never going to succeed.
I really believe this vindication of young women who are independently happy with themselves is the remnants of the idea that women should be dedicating themselves to men. Women aren’t quite so obviously expected to please men anymore, but the underlying feeling is still there, so sinister and so annoying! The rise of female vanity – particularly beginning with imagery of old Hollywood glamour – has quite the correlation with the advancement of women’s rights once you think about it. Put simply: the more acceptable it came for women to gaze at themselves in mirrors and fuss around with their looks, the more they fought for their independence. It is interesting, no? Especially when female vanity is often chalked up to a desire for male attention.
But really, if you are seriously bothered by women who appear to be confident or “self-absorbed”, you need to ask yourself why. Do you have an idea of how women should act & they don’t fit into it? Are you envious? Are you unhappy with yourself and projecting it onto others? These are all problems within yourself, not within her, but luckily they’re not that hard to fix.
The world is only yours when you know what it is you want it to be and who you are in it.
Otherwise how can it be yours? People who know themselves well, and who are unapologetic about sharing themselves, they have confidence and self-respect. Confidence and self-respect are what helps people to develop healthy relationships, to believe in themselves in a way that allows them to succeed in their careers, and most importantly, leads to them taking responsibility for their own lives and making the best, educated decisions possible. Confident people are more able to be generous and open, they are okay with what they have and because they are not constantly grappling for reassurance or scared of possibilities and unknowns, they are more capable of caring deeply and selflessly for others.
People who do not know themselves, however, are constantly confused about why they react certain ways to things, why things don’t seem to go their way, why their relationships go bad or seem to be built on negativity, why they keep getting taken advantage of, and never know how to stand up for themselves and speak their minds. I ask you, which person would you rather be? The girl in control of her own life, or the girl who quietly does everything she’s told, even when it’s not something she wants to do? It’s fine if you wish to be the second, but if you are truly happy being that person then there’s no need to drag down those who are the first kind!
Stop viewing self-interest as something negative, because it simply is not bad.
Perhaps if there was someone so self-obsessed that all they ever did was sit in front of a mirror to stare at themselves saying, “I’m rather the best at everything ever and I’m sure I am the greatest person in the universe”… well sure, then that would be somewhat unhealthy. But also, so what? Is it really any of your business anyway? Why does it bother you so terribly? If you were truly a compassionate, good person, you would realise they maybe have a problem and that they need help and empathy. A bad person is one who mocks, belittles, and fails to empathise with people’s lives and experiences – these are behaviours just as unhealthy as those of the narcissist; yet worse, as they inflict their negativity onto the rest of the world too! Ugh!
So please, I beg of you, stop worrying about the vanity and self-interest you perceive in other people, and start paying attention to yourself!
It’s time to get to know you, to understand yourself intimately and to reap the rewards that confidence brings. The world is what you make of it, remember. How you are now is irrelevant to who you could be tomorrow: so shed yesterday’s self and become someone new! Someone better, someone kinder, someone stronger. When you are confident you are not only kinder to yourself, but you are kinder and more generous with others. You are less afraid and more able to open yourself to everything life has to offer. This is a journey you should never stop taking. Write big lists and monstrous stories about who you want to be. Collect images of the life you want and wallpaper your brain with them. Chart your life like you are a constellation of beautiful stars (because you are, you know). Trust me, you will never, ever, ever, ever regret it!
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Love & what-have-you,