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Perspectives: Vanity ~ Vanity and Humility versus Pride and Modesty

Ambro @

Ambro @

© MartieCoetser

© MartieCoetser


The idea behind this series called Perspectives is explained in a hub published by MickeySr:

  • Perspectives: An Introduction
    What we think and how we feel about things is defined, not by the things themselves, but by our perspective of things. Everything that comes before us is filtered through our perception of things...

Oh Lord, it's Hard to be Humble!

Knowing your True Self

  • Do you know your SELF (and the angels and devils on ...
    Are you one of those who allow devils and angels to argue on your shoulders? Do you allow one of them to make up your mind? Or are you no longer in this phase, but still use the metaphor when you try to explain the difference between right and...


When vanity was pronounced as the second topic in our series called Perspectives, I had to consult a dictionary to confirm my comprehension of the word. Our Afrikaans word for vanity is ydelheid, in Dutch, the mother-language of Afrikaans, with a different spelling, ijdelheid. The word originates from the Latin word superbia, the unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem personified as one of the deadly sins.


· The excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others (Stephen LaMarche);

· An obsession with one's appearance;

· Unjustified boasting.

Synonyms for Vanity are egotism,complacency,vainglory,ostentation.

An antonym for Vanity is Humility – the lack of self-pride.

According to wikipedia in many religions vanity is a form of self-idolatry - sins committed by Lucifer and Narcissus. In Christianity vanity is the first of the ‘seven deadly sins’ and the root of all other deadly sins.

Unjustified Boasting or Self-Pride?

John Kasawa @

John Kasawa @

supakitmod @

supakitmod @

© MartieCoetser

© MartieCoetser


Before I can analyze my own state of vanity, I have to analyze my state of Pride – the pride I have in myself and all that I have accomplished.

Self-Pride is -

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  • An inwardly directed emotion;
  • A complex secondary emotion which requires the development of a sense of self and the mastery of relevant conceptual distinctions.

Of course we should be proud of ourselves. The mere fact that our existence was enabled by a diminutive, gumptious sperm, beating a million other sperms, should make us proud of ourselves. The privilege we have to be alive on this beautiful planet Earth should make us proud.

But words are misleading and our interpretation of words determines our concept of right and wrong. Christians have chosen the word ‘pride’ instead of ‘vanity’ as the correct translation of the Latin word ‘superbia’, which is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins.

So for the sake of my reasoning, let's consider EXCESSIVE and UNJUSTIFIED pride is Vanity and look at another word - Humility, which is the opposite of Vanity and also the opposite of Pride.

Could we say that there is in fact a very thin line between Vanity and Pride?

© MartieCoetser

© MartieCoetser

Humility, the opposite of Vanity and Pride

Personally I regard Humility on the same unbearable level as Vanity. According to dictionaries "humility" comes from the Latin word humilitas, which may be translated as "humble", but also as "grounded", "from the earth", or "low", since it derives in turns from humus (earth).

Therefor I distinguish between Humility (Humbleness) and Modesty, and regard Humility in myself and others just as unbearable as Vanity.


Salvatore Vuono @

Salvatore Vuono @

We are human

Because we are human, we are born with an urge to be our unique True-Self. Not different as the rest of mankind, but quintessentially the individual we are born to be. We have an instinctive need to accomplish the goals set by our True-Self. Although instinctive goals are simply to survive and multiply, the criteria determining our success was/is/are to be set and maintained collectively by mankind.

Human role models are the representatives of these criteria of success. Therefore we start at a very early age with the creation of a Self-Image – an idea of who and what we would like to become. This is not only a one-time creation, but an ongoing creation. If we fail to find the perfect balance between Vanity and Humility we will certainly end up being vain or humble as dirt.

Be Proud and Modest

We have already realized that we should be proud. Proud of ourselves and our achievements. If we are not yet, we ought to accomplish some achievements we can pride ourselves on.

I see Modesty as the only prevention of Vanity and Humility and I like to define Modesty as free from pomp or affectation.

David Castillo Dominici @

David Castillo Dominici @

My Personal struggle with Vanity

I share one of my personal experiences as example of the development of Pride and Modesty versus Vanity and Humility -

I was born with club feet that was rectified with treatment and operations. By the time I was two years old I was able to walk and run like any normal person. But as I grew up I realized that I did not have the beautiful calves, ankles and feet of the role models presented by mankind. My True-Self was therefore not able to build a Self-Image with legs that comply with the set criterion.

Being a child without wisdom, totally subjective to the criteria set by mankind, I secretly developed an inferior complex in this field. Secretly, because my Christian parents would have accused me of vanity, ungratefulness AND coveting the legs of my peers. They were in fact accused of vanity by their parents; according to my Christian grandparents it was God's will for me to be physically disabled. This was quite a family drama. I was even named Rina - derived from my maternal grandmother's SECOND name, Catherina. I was one year old when my grandmother demanded the altering to Martie. "Handicapped or not, she is a gift of God worthy of my first name," was her words, (By the way, years later she accepted her second and third names as worthy enough to be given to her grandchildren.)

Suppose my parents, or any other person, or even my ‘brilliant’ mind – managed to convince me that I was in fact the only person in this world with perfect legs, I could have developed a superior complex. The same could have happened if my loving parents and/or ‘brilliant’ mind had presented any of my other positive attributes as a distraction from my legs.

Complexes are the cradles of characteristics. Traits like Vanity, Humility, Pride and Modesty are born in the complexes of the human soul from where they develop into either attractive or detestable characteristics.

I do believe PRIDE and not VANITY made me - and still makes me - hide my legs in boots or trousers or maxi-length dresses. If it was vanity, I would have spent a lot of money on plastic surgery. And what if I had the money? Why shouldn't I spent it in order to feel more proud of myself?

Modesty urges us to spend money on necessities we need in order to survive. Modesty urges us to rather give our extra money to those who struggle to survive, whether they are people or animals.

Each and everyone of us knows if we are vain or proud, humble (as soil) or modest.

Vanity is a form of self-defence

It is NOT easy to accept our own shortcomings. Vanity is a form of self-defense and most, if not all people, commit vanity until they finally reach the stage where they accept themselves just the way they are.

But let's see if all deadly sins are really rooted in Vanity....

Photo of Jacques Callot

Photo of Jacques Callot

The Seven Deadly Sins

According to the Roman Catholic Church who had based the concept of the seven deadly sins on the works of the 4th century monk Evagrius Ponticus, every deadly sin also has a virtue. (Latin words in brackets)

  1. Lust (Luxuria) versus Chastity (Castitas);
  2. Gluttony (Gula) versus Temperance (Temperantia);
  3. Greed (Avaritia) versus Charity (Caritas);
  4. Sloth (Acedia) versus Diligence (Industria);
  5. Wrath (Ira) versus Patience (Patientia);
  6. Envy (Invidia) versus Kindness (Humanitas);
  7. Pride (Superbia) versus Humility (Humilitas).

QUESTION: Is Pride, or rather Vanity - in other words, the desire to be more important or attractive than others - really the most serious sin, or rather bad human characteristic causing all the other bad characteristics and therefore the source of all misery on Earth?

I am sure that answers listed for this question will be as many as the angels dancing on the head of a pin.


Vanity, or call it Pride if you wish, is a normal human characteristic. Controlling it in such a way that we don't bereave others from the privilege to be proud of themselves, is the challenge to be met.

Perspectives: September 2012 on 'Happiness'


Perspectives: October 2012 on 'Vanity'



Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on April 01, 2013:

agapsikap - thank you so much for your lovely generous comment. We are certainly on the same page. Reviewing my past, I can clearly see how I have jailed my True Self by being my Self-Image all the time. You know, the image of a perfect mother, sister, daughter, business woman, administrator, friend, lover, etc. It is but only recently (sometime during 2010) that I (True Self) staged a coup. Self-Image is now in jail, just to be 'used' when I have to attend a compulsive function. She is quite a lady, able to do the right thing at the right time. While I (True Self) am a maverick from head to toes. Lol! Thanks again, agapsikap. I agree wholeheartedly with you. Have a good day!

agapsikap from Philippines on April 01, 2013:

Oh, Martie your star is shining so brightly. You know it takes me 1 day to finish reading this hub of yours. To the point where I almost forgot what its about..Why? Well, household chores and my kids whose on their vacation from school who never dare to stop me from cooking their favorites. Am I still in vain?

Vanity, I've seen and observe lots of people (including me in some areas of my journey in life) who were eaten by their false pride which I think hinders one soul. It will let one person hide his real self and make all his FEARS bigger than his soul.

Humility, too much of it makes one vulnerable to those people who are nearly similar to parasites.

Pride, without basis of one's worth is self emptying. Often,people near them were intimidated and too much is annoying.

Modesty, too much is not good either. They are often attacked by arrogant people.

Great hub. Just like many others who made their comments, I found this hub very useful, interesting,awesome, and beautiful.

It is such a long journey travelling down to this comment section.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on December 03, 2012:

Right. I doubt if anyone would expect to communicate analytical thoughts or even routine facts by body language. Happily, it needn't be an either/or choice. But we do most accurately communicate our true feelings with our body language (more than either words or our facial expressions, I recently read, because we can 'act' or fake what we want them to say); and we express our thoughts and philosophies best with our language. As you point out, it's important to hone & expand & to use our vocabularies to most exactly & succinctly say what we want to express.

A problem arises if the listeners' vocabularies are lazy or meagre, though! What good is the perfect word to say it if the hearers don't recognize the word? sigh - Or worse, if they think they know but have an entirely subjective notion of its meaning?

Language needs to be a fairly standard medium! What if math were treated as lackadaisically as language is? haha

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 03, 2012:

Nellieanna, communication via language is after all the ONLY way people will ever be able to understand each other properly. Sadly most people use less than a quarter of all the words in the vocabulary of their mother tongue. I sometimes wonder if body language properly understood would not be a better way to communicate, but then, how limited would our expression of thoughts then be, as we mainly express emotions with our bodies. Thank you for a most interesting and meaningful conversation.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on December 03, 2012:

Oh - Martie! That is such an interesting revelation!! It so points up how easily each of our subjective filters, including native language - can distort our actual mutual agreement! Of course that's not happened here - but how easy it is to see that it could, if people couldn't discuss and learn more about each other and such simple differences in the 'known' things. I'm really interested that the word for 'strive in your language contains different connotations, as does the word for 'aspire'. Then add one's own experience with and concepts of meanings -- isn't it a miracle that people can relate well, especially without the benefit of body language (which is universal!) and other 'clues'?

In a way, though - 'strive' still implies more willful control while 'aspire' allows for inspiration to have major input,but not in just longing, hoping, trying, but, rather, a sense of KNOWING already that it is workable, & knowing it will if I do my part! :-) So it's not only the general language definitions, but also each of our individual/subjective interpretations!

Yes, "Ma'm" has come into different connotation, for different reasons! It can seem to be a shallow 'respect' for a perception of age or false self-importance. There's even, I suppose, a connection to "Madam" - who might run a brothel. haha. So many of our earlier terms meant to be respectful actually were a little demeaning, suggesting that the 'ma'am' was out of touch or not fully recognized as a substantial and equal PERSON. There are other such terms in language, caught between one life-style and another.

In Jane Austen's day, a woman with "accomplishments' meant she could make nice cushions, play the piano, knit and embroidery, may be compose poetry, but had absolutely NO real status as a full-fledged human being. Sometimes it almost seems there are remnants of that attitude still surviving!

I have to hand it to you - to be so well educated and able to understand a language not your 'first' language' so as to almost always perfectly understand those of us who have only the unilateral grip on our own native tongue! I must admit that I take it for granted that you'll understand!

Then I think of our very literate friends from other areas of the globe who manage to follow our weird language idiosyncrasies.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 02, 2012:

Nellieanna, what an interesting (and thoroughly grounded) view on 'strive' versus 'aspire'. In the same category as 'pride' versus 'vanity'. I do agree with you and hope I will remember to use 'aspire' instead of 'strive' in the feature.

In my language the word for 'strive' - 'streef' or 'strewe' - is associated with joyful, energetic, enthusiastic action while the world for 'aspire' - falls in the same category as 'longing', 'hoping', 'trying'.

Is our different concepts and interpretations of words not extremely interesting? I've read a hub yesterday about the word 'Ma'am' - in some American states regarded as a compliment and in others as an insult.

Love you, my dear Nellieanna!

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on December 01, 2012:

Thank you, m'dear. Of course you're right: tself-improvement is our major life - activity and responsibility. We have one life in our own hands over which we have authority,- our own. It's ours to direct & shape which example will be our greatest influence on others within our sphere, - either for the better or the worse.

If I may make a tiny suggestion having to do with 'self-talk', I must admit that I prefer "aspire to" to "strive to" because 'strive' is associated with difficult struggle and unpleasant strife, while 'aspire' is associated with rising up and directing one's hopes and ambitions toward the achieving. It allows one to enjoy the process which makes it a labor of love rather than a tough grind. :-) It may make our example more attractive to others, as well, so that it's a more palatable & effective influence for them.

Perhaps it's only a minor difference of mind-set or attitude toward our goals, but we somewhat find our paths to be pretty much what we expect and we program our subconscious what to expect by our self-talk, and it goes to work to make it happen! :-)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on December 01, 2012:

Nellieanna, thank you so much for your insightful comment, forcing us to do introspection and honest evaluation of self and others. Indeed, "... the good balance is 'acceptance' toward oneself and others;- neither self-glorification nor self-incrimination in oneself and simply seeing others as whole people with uniqueness to be discovered."

But apart from this, I believe that we should always strive to improve our thoughts and actions, not only for our own benefit, but also for others to reap the good fruit we have sown. I do believe that our main purpose in life is to serve each other with whatever talents we have received AND developed to its full potential. Of course, not to the extend of making ourselves the victims of self-centered abusers, but to the point where we can be proud because we have met the challenges Life had in stock for us.

Again, my dear CM, thank you for always enhancing my hubs with your wisdom.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on December 01, 2012:

What an excellent coverage of a very important subject, my dear Martie! You do cover a subject with more 'hands-on' passion than anyone! And this is a subject which has been part of each of our developments. We're like blank pages in an already written book at birth, searching for the connections to our own beings. We encounter many distractions and experiences which can further cloud the view. It takes maturity to look at the scattered pieces & see how they fit together into a puzzle that reveals & 'becomes' ourselves. Feelings of guilt (like too much pride or vanity) or of inferiority can trip us up & obscure the path. When we reach "IT", though - neither pride nor humility are chomping at our heels. We just 'are'.

By the way - once that sperm has fertilized that egg, the rest of the process of becoming a living person is a built-in do-it-ourselves project, using the materials provided in that fertilized ovum! Though there's much more to be done, that's something to be proud of!!

Perhaps how we feel about ourselves along the way becomes a basis for how we feel about others. We might adore them to the point of idolatry or detest them to the point of rejection. Are these extremes we might go through about how we regard our own importance and value in the process of 'becoming'?

My feeling is that the good balance is 'acceptance' toward oneself and others;- neither self-glorification nor self-incrimination in oneself and simply seeing others as whole people with uniquenesses to be discovered. Clear self-honesty is a first requirement. Like the darling illustration of the kitten seeing itself as a lion - we must distinguish true from fictional.

Then, seeing and accepting oneself 'as is' provides basis for seeing & accepting others as they are. It includes honest appreciation of good traits, which is akin to pride and a realistic recognition of unresolved issues, which is akin to humility, (even self-hatred if carried to illogical extremes). When our minds play extreme games which don't truly relate to the actualities, our views of ourselves & others easily become distorted. Nothing's more debilitating than going forth basing our next actions on false assumptions. They tend to build on the shaky foundations & further obscure the truth. Some folks struggle a lifetime without coming to peace with themselves and others.

Perhaps each of us has a 'me' story from youth in which we felt 'less-than' in some way and perhaps our peers didn't spare reminding us of it! I could relate many of those! It may have taken time for us to learn to 'see' ourselves as OK. I can also remember the moment when the clouds parted and I looked around at 'others' and into 'me' and realized I really was OK! It changed my life.

We can still recall the moments of embarrassing humiliation if we stop & remember. We can begin to understand that they served valuable purpose in preventing our going too far the other direction, as well as having empathy for others!

We learn to make the most of the better traits we have along the way and fix or minimize the lessor ones; and even better, we learn to be able to forget ourselves & relate to life & others directly, without self-consciousness, or at least, with a minim of it. As a result, we're much less defensive or offensive.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on November 10, 2012:

Hi my dear friend, Tina! How nice to see you :) I like your perception - that Pride, etc. could be friend or enemy. 'Lagom' - Perfect balance (according to my interpretation) - will keep us 'normal'. Thank you so much for your insightful and thought-provoking comment :)

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on November 10, 2012:

Interesting and thought-provoking as always Martie, and you manage to make an excellent analysis of two words that is both a disaster and a benefit for man. Pride and vanity are our best friends as well as our worst enemies depending on the extent of them and how we interpret the words. I think we do need to allow ourselves to feel proud and also vanity but without it becoming to much. I would like to refer to the Swedish word "lagom" which means "not to much and not to little. Man's greatest fault is perhaps that we always overdo things. Thank you Martie for sharing your thoughts, your wisdom and your personal experience. I know I will continue to ponder over this and I would love to visit with a bottle of vine! Voted up and pressing all buttons except funny! Take care Martie,


Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 30, 2012:

Kallini, you can always use your cellphone, record a voice message and send it to me via email or Facebook..... now that is if you like talking aloud to yourself/soul mate. I prefer writing, but yes, it IS time-consuming.

Oh, I have an important and urgent chore to finish. If only I can focus..... Sandy is really blowing me, too, off the rails.....

Take care!

kallini2010 from Toronto, Canada on October 30, 2012:

Don't worry, Martie - my latest "outburst" of activity on HP is only because it keeps me upright. I want it to be non-committal - if I won't get up tomorrow, nobody will be hurt or upset that I am ignoring them.

Sort of inverted logic, but it is just pure survival at this moment.

Really, nothing important. Even though, I wanted to share something with you - again nothing important, just a curious bit, but typing it all?

You get my point. I love almost everything about long-term relationships, but TYPING!!!

Take care, my beautiful mirror!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 30, 2012:

Kallini and Epigramman, sometimes we don't allow others to confuse us with facts, just because we have made up our minds....

Good to know you are still okay, though I saw some alarming news about Sandy's doings in Lake Eri and Toronto. A woman in Toronto died after she was hit by a flying object....

Svetlana, I just don't have time to participate in forums - I have too many balls in the air. But maybe I'll manage to have a peak in there - you KNOW I always love to share my thoughts with you. Only Time prevent me from doing this in forums and Questions as well. I had to make a decision.... take notice of Questions and Forums and participate, or ignore them. So I am doing the latter while curiosity feast on my guts and will-power.....

Take care you 2 beautiful Canadians.... :))) Let ME be your mirror!

epigramman on October 29, 2012:

Hello Svetlana - how is life for you these days in Toronto.

How is the hurricane treating you there? So far at lake erie time 12:58am it is relatively calm here with light rain and a bit of a wind gust - and I live 150 feet away from the lake ......

kallini2010 from Toronto, Canada on October 29, 2012:

Yes, Martie and Colin, thanks! But a word to the wise - you don't want to see me now - my mirror is not lying. I don't keep lying mirrors, only dirty ones. I don't understand lying.

Could you maybe support me on my forum for sapiosexuality -

I could use some voices of reason

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 29, 2012:

LOL @ kallini! You too should chuck that nasty mirror of yours. Let me be your mirror. At least I can see the beauty in you!

4:00am SA and back to bed.....

kallini2010 from Toronto, Canada on October 29, 2012:

Colin, made me laugh and I love mirrors, too! The love is mutual - probably the only true mutual affection of my life.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 29, 2012:

Oh my, Epi, now you and your mirror made me ROFL while I am being so concern over all of you. And you on the banks of the lake!!! Please take good care of yourself! And thanks for clicking in for the read :)

PS: Chuck that damn mirror of yours in the dustbin. It is a liar!

epigramman on October 29, 2012:

I have no vanity whatsoever and my mirror tells me this in a brand new epi-man top ten:

Top Ten things the mirror says to me - the lowly epi-man:

10. What, you again!!!!!

9. You've got to be joking

8. I've never seen a button on a fur coat before.

7. Phone 9-11

6. Fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5. Someone pass me the smelling salts

4. Where's your dog collar?

3. You ain't no Docmo.

2. You're not thinking on going out , are you?

1. Turn around and let me see your face.

Oh, that was your face!

lol lol

Martie , you always pick my brain and make me a much wiser, smarter and infinitely more perceptive man when I have the pleasure of reading 'you' - there is only one Martie in this world and I am glad I found her - sending you warm wishes and I am bracing for a hurricane tonight by the lake of erie 4:59pm (true story)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 26, 2012:

Hi Lucky Cats, thank you for this lovely comment - the most delightful ego-booster I desperately need on this Friday morning while mourning an error I've committed in office. You know, every blokey can make a mistaky, but some VAIN people believe that they are perfect AND when they realize that your error was actually theirs, they don't even have the decency to say 'sorry, madam!" ....

But I will be proud and modest, biting my tongue instead of throwing a tantrum. (Lol! )

I am so glad you popped in, Kathy. You know I always appreciate your opinions. Take care and enjoy your exciting adventures up there :)

Kathy from Independence, Kansas on October 25, 2012:

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! Amazingly interesting and engaging article, Martie! I love intelligent writing and, my dear friend; you've done just that.....given us an astute, in depth, thoughtful and thought provoking, self searching / questioning thesis of which, I know, will occupy much of my thoughts for quite a while.

"But words are misleading and our interpretation of words determines our concept of right and wrong" BRAVA!! Amen and hear hear! So very true.

WOW!!! TWO thumbs up and a standing O and accolades to you, my dear.

All ups but funny!!! Kathy

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 23, 2012:

What a lovely comment! Thank you, Alastar. That 'IT' we find so attractive in others can only be unpretentious self-assurance and even while it is still covered with a bit of uncertainty and shyness because of the total absence of vanity. IT disappears the moment when vanity OR humility get hold of us. I agree with you about those ladies and can say the same about men. I've seen it so many times - Victims of Vanity are not as good and beautiful as they think they are and victims of Humility are not as bad and ugly as they think they are. Somewhere in the middle is the perfect balance ~ Pride and Modesty.

Always good to see you in my corner, Alastar :)

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on October 23, 2012:

The Mac Davis video was fun. I've known beautiful women- who because of their vanity attitudes or caustic personalities weren't as hot as they thought they were. And then again there have been some who maybe weren't centerfolds but were absolutely more desirable to gaze upon and desire because of their attitudes and personalities which enhanced their physical charms. The Madison Aves. of the world have shaped far too many lives for the worse in my opinion. Bulls-eye with your takes on vanity, pride and humility, Martie; and thank you for being so open about your self- your a top-ranked lady and person in my book, from head to toe, always.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 22, 2012:

Aceatnna, so good to see you! Thank you for your lovely comment :)

acaetnna from Guildford on October 22, 2012:

Congratualtions Martie on another outstanding hub. What a great insight, you always explain things very logically and so well. Brilliant as always, this should be read by everyone!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 21, 2012:

ChristyWrites, thank you for making me feel as successful as I would like to be. I am proud of myself because YOU - a writer of extra-ordinary informative and well-presented hubs - found this hub of mine an interesting eye-opener, BUT I will be vain when I live on believing that I am always successful and those who don't agree are idiots.

Thank you for allowing me to use your comment as a perfect example of the difference between Pride and Vanity. I look forward to read more of your hubs :))

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2012:

Wow, I have learned so much from this hub Martie. I am going to follow you to learn more. I had never thought of vanity as being about low self-esteem before. I actually thought the opposite. Thanks for such an interesting read.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 21, 2012:

Hi midget - (my ex-husband used to call me 'midget'.... so your name pull some forgotten memories.) Thank you for your most inspiring comment. I have a dictator in me - in my genes. But I try to be his/her boss all the time; I have an instinctive aversion to dictators. Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing :)

Michelle Liew from Singapore on October 21, 2012:

Thought provoking, Martie. You've made the reader think very much about the level of pride he has. For me, vanity is quite an unwanted commodity, especially dislike narcissism. Thanks for the excellent definitions, weaved in expertly to not make the article didactic. A great one, and shared!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 18, 2012:

drbj, I can but only say 'AMEN' on your comment. So very clearly defined, I feel like duplicating it ~ Just saying I think you 'said' exactly what I've said in my hub, but only with different words :)))

Thank you so much for the up-vote. You know, of course, that I will always accept chastisement coming from you, as I believe that you are the master in the gender of human behavior.

Take care, drbj and thanks again for your supporting comment :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 18, 2012:

ImKarn, what an interesting perspective: "It is not necessarily a vanity issue as it is a longing to be 'normal'."

So sometimes we simply have a crooked perception of 'normal', and maybe pushed down our throats by the media or vain and snobbish friends and acquaintances?

Thank you for your most profound comment, Lesley :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 18, 2012:

Hi Genna, the prouder we are, the further and harder we fall. Pride so often comes to a fall. Just look at our HubPages scores - we feel so proud when we hit that ever evading 100, just to fall down to 93-94 the very next day. Receiving an award makes us feel proud, but then life goes and we have to work all over again to be honored with another award. We writers know too well that every hub/story/poem has its own merits, as if it is our very first. We CANNOT surf on previous successes.

My pride came to a crashing fall after I've retired my job beginning 2011 after 20 years of extremely hard work with amazing successful results. I was replaced in less than a week by people just as efficient as I, if not more efficient. So where did I get the idea that I was irreplaceable? Only vanity could have given me that idea!

Thank you, Genna, for your delightful complimentary comment :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 18, 2012:

always exploring, I can't imagine all people living not proud of themselves and their accomplishments. How awfully miserable a person must be when he/she has nothing to be proud of? The hearts of normal people go out to them, we call them 'people in need of charity.'

Why are we greedy? Wanting more and more and more of ALL the things we like/love? Is it not because of VANITY - our tendency to think we are more important than we really is and therefor more entitled to possess what we desire?

Of course, keeping balance - moderation - is the key to true contentment and joy.

Pride prevents me from accepting too many presents. But moderately giving to me, I appreciate them with all my heart. However, when my beloveds are stingy, I feel kind of used and abused and sorry for myself. I need at least regular outspoken 'thank yous'.

Thanks for sharing your perspective on vanity, Ruby :)

drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 17, 2012:

I congratulate you, Martie, on tackling the subject of vanity vs. pride and humility vs. modesty in such a comprehensive manner. Vanity and pride are different qualities and not synonymous, but people often see them as being the same. To my mind, they are not the same but similar.

I can be proud of my accomplishments, but that is my opinion, the way I see myself. Vanity relates more to the way I want others to see me.

Modesty and humility, however, are two sides of the same coin. Modesty can be becoming but humility which I see as excessive modesty, is unattractive and generally false.

Just sayin'. Oh, voted up, too.

Karen Silverman on October 17, 2012:

I feel for your insecurity over your legs, Martie - it is always what we consider to be our shortcomings that become our obsessions. It is not necessarily a vanity issue as it is a longing to be 'normal'..

the things that people are usually most vain about - are usually the most fleeting and then they are left with empty shell..

pride can be much 'deeper' than vanity and have basis in actual accomplishment - yet - must also be kept in check and balanced..

everything in balance is my motto - the good with the bad - the vanity with the humility - the pride balanced with humbleness..

You covered this topic beautifully, Martie!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on October 17, 2012:

What an interesting quote from Nietzsche – of all people. :-) I keep thinking of “pride goeth before a fall.” I believe this to a certain extent, especially if we take our pride to extremes and forget that humility keeps things real. If I feel pride creeping in to an extent that might be unhealthy, I say to myself “Get over yourself, kid.”

I agree with vocal coach in that this beautifully perceptive and candid hub should be required reading for our young people. It causes us to think about ourselves, and is one of the most refreshing hubs I’ve read in some time. Thank you!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on October 16, 2012:

Martie, I think pride is a good thing. Vanity It seems goes beyond reason. I know pride is listed as one of the deadly sins, to my way of thinking, It is a lesser sin than greed. I guess keeping balance is the key. I really enjoyed reading this..Well done..Cheers..Hugs..

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

@ picklesandrufus - Thank you for clicking in for the read :) As long as we are willing to think about matters such as vanity, we are growing. Anything not growing, is stagnating or dying. Take care!

@ bravewarrior ~ Love you too, Shauna :)))

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

kallini, my dearest friend, I know those thoughts of you so well. Not having them anymore, I still remember. I had them during the time I was apparently not able to obtain the love and admiration - MY PERCEPTION OF LOVE AND ADMIRATION - of people I really adored - my parents and my husband. I did not feel loved by them; I felt like a failure; my achievements were apparently not enough to make them proud of me. I've tried harder and harder to obtain their recognition, and also to obtain solid grounds to be proud of myself, working myself more than once into the state you are now in.

Now before I make a hub of this reply on your comment, by sharing the end of my desperate quest for recognition and solid reasons to be proud of myself, I just want to assure you that you will eventually find a way out of your current circumstances and up to the stars. Just move forward, don't give up! Believe me, you are destined to become a very wise old lady, proud of herself because she has survived desperation - the state in which hope is lost or absent.

Believe me!

Lots of love to you!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Eiddwen, always good to see you in my corner. Thank you for the votes :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

mckbirds, you made me blush. I must have done something right to deserve such a lovely compliment from you. Thank you!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Rosemary, you've hit a prominent nail on it's head. Vanity is indeed boasting about something not true and genuine, or for example in the case of women with natural admirable 'attributes', with something we can lose any moment during an accident or due to ever-unforeseen Cancer, and definitely to be lost in time to come. I think boasting per se is vanity.

I am most of the time not courageous enough to boast, too afraid I might be accused of vanity and snobbishness. And yet, on FB I am audacious, because I can't see the expressions (of shock or scorn) on the faces of other people. On FB I often boast about achievements I never thought I would have been able to accomplished. You are my friend in FB - while you are a silent observer, I boast with my beautiful grandchildren - I am so proud of them! And I boast with my awesome boyfriend, and all my awesome friends, pimping their hubs. Why? Because I am vain?Surely vanity could not be my reason! I am simply grateful, amazed, maybe impressed with myself and truly happy to have such beautiful people in my life, and I love sharing my happiness. Or maybe I am a masochism, pleading to be criticized and hurt? Rosemary, this seems to be an ideal topic for a hub: WHY on earth do we - some of us - share our lives with others on FB and even here in HubPages? While in real life we keep our mouths shot and pretend to be just like all other people?

Over my dead body will I allow my grey hair to cover my head at this stage of my life. Previous generations regarded grey hair as a sign of maturity and wisdom - crowns confirming their survival and achievements such as motherhood and grandmotherhood. Nowadays one of the achievements set by mankind is to stay healthy and young for a long as we can. Grey hair would only confirm that we are not successful in achieving that goal. So there. We go with the flow and let me respectfully add - may God forgive us.

Take care, Rosemary!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

fpher, thank you so much for your supportive comment. Meticulousness is one of those habits of mine appreciated by half of the people who know me and detested by the rest. So what can I do but be grateful because you appreciate my way? Thanks a lot, Paula :))

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Hi Docmo! I've noticed the similar strands in our distinct perspectives. I guess this could be compared with seeing a bar of chocolate on an elephants back. Of course, we would both see that, don't you agree?

Thank you so much for your inspiring and complementary comment :)))

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Sunshine! Woot-woot, you are nothing but a human star. To be honest, facing the wonder of being alive, a matter such as vanity does not even matter. My thoughts are always with you - you're always in the back of my mind and sometimes right in the front, even though I don't get the time to always remind you of my existence. Thank you so much for your continuous support :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Vocalcoach, oh, don't overcome your vanity. Just control it in such a way that you don't hurt or humiliate others while you practice it. And don't forget to be grateful because you have what's necessary to commit vanity. Well, this is but only my 'humble' advice. Lol!

I've once posted a really bad picture of myself, taken before I got myself respectable for the day. The other day I deleted it, because, geezzzz, only the people who know and love my heart can be able to appreciate me in my most 'humble' state. Why should I expose my true vulnerable self to 'vain' humans with the instinctive desire to admire and even worship Beauty? We don't want to see ugliness. Ugliness provokes depression and a sense of futility. When I looked at that picture of mine - months after I've posted it - I all of a sudden wonder why I've posted it. Of course, my intention was to proof how love changes our appearance. Dopamine - released when we fall in love and when we are extremely happy - makes us beautiful. Just look at brides! But not considering my intention, I was quite disgusted with myself for posting the picture. Was I courageously trying to proof that vanity was not one of my sins?

Oh, Vocalcoach, this is one of those topics - we will keep on chasing it IN VAIN - like a dog trying to catch his own tail.

Hugs to you!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Well, Mickey, I feel proud of myself for sharing the same perspective on humility as your obvious brilliant daughter. Yes, according to many of the authors who wrote what was accepted by a couple of priests to be writings inspired by the Holy Spirit, we humans are NOTHING and therefor vanity is Bad and Humility is Good. But at the same time we are supposed to be representatives of God - descendants of Adam, who was created to the image of God. (According to Genesis 1-2). Is the mere thought that we are representatives of the most Perfect Power in the universe not vanity per se?

How thought-provoking are your words: "We count humility to be such a virtue, such a beautiful and esteemed trait - yet we count the experience of humiliation as a dreadful circumstance?"

And to think that this experience of humility is instinctive - a natural reaction triggered by our primary urge to survive until Death literally kills us. How could this be vain? Then simply being alive is vain. But now the latter was in fact confirmed by The Preacher (King Solomon or who?) in Ecclesiastes.... and everything is actually nothing.

Coming to mind now is Jesus' refusal to justify his preaching and Godly doings during his trial. Was he humble/ humiliated, or proud of himself and his doings and not willing to waste his breath trying to obtain the comprehension of a Roman judge?

Thank you, Mickey! I've found your perspective on vanity also profound and thought-provoking. Take care, my friend! Don't eat too much cakes and pastries!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 16, 2012:

Love Ya, Martie!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Sunnie, you've stressed it so much better than I - in moderation everything goes. Finding the balance between too much and too little is the challenge we should meet. Thank you, my dear Kim; I treasure your friendship and support.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Suzette, I dare to say that we were all born to be beautiful. What kind of creatures would we be if we were able to accept deformities and any kind of abnormalities without more ado? Of course we should do our best to be the best we could possibly be. But then, never to the detriment of others. Rectifying deformities people are born with, or even acquired during their lives, could hurt nobody at all and least of all it could hurt the creator and maintainer of this awesome, mind-boggling universe. Thanks so much for sharing your personal perspective on vanity.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

bravewarrior, I could relate to your perspective on vanity, and so true, most of us do 'outgrow' it. We get on top of it, so to speak. Thanks a lot for your supporting comment.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

SommerDalton, nice to meet you and thank you for your comment. Although perspective on vanity was offered by us from different points of view and with different angles, I could clearly see VANITY. Just like MickeySr has described the different views on an elephant in his introduction to this series, we can but only see what we are seeing at a specific point of time and perception. Maybe we will never be able to see the true depths and heights of vanity - Indeed, Paul stressed the fact in his letters to the Corinthians - or was it the Ephesians - that we can only see a part of what really is; eventually we will see all of it.

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

tillsontitan, thank you for the lovely compliment. Candidly, always when I receive a compliment, I remember an insult I've received about the exact same thing. Then I do feel proud of myself - and kind of sorry for myself as well, licking my wounds - 'thinking' that I am not as bad as the insulter thought I was/am. So often others, by insulting us, change our Pride into Vanity.

Christians believe that Adam and all of mankind was created to be representatives of God, though with a choice to be or not to be. With a crooked conception of God, vanity would surely be our most deadly sin.

Thank you so much for your support, Mary of Titan :)

picklesandrufus from Virginia Beach, Va on October 16, 2012:

Your hub left me with a lot of thinking to do!!

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Marcoujor, thumbs up again with your perspective on vanity. Using those fables as reference was a brilliant idea.

What a lovely fantasy - You and I looking like lazy bums just talking nonsense for at least 7 days before tackling again our responsibilities and goals. Oh, I need a holiday and I know you too.

Lots of hugs to you, my dear Maria :))

Thanks again for checking this hub of mine for grammar errors :))

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Billybuc, thank you for your generous and interactive comment. Vanity - our believe that we are, or should be, stronger and richer than all of our fellowman - certainly instigates Greed. We will never reach the end of a discussion about the seven deadly sins. What exactly instigates the other? But I do have a problem with the word Pride instead of Vanity. The latter is excessive Pride. I belief in moderation. ANYTHING more or less than moderate is a sin. My perception/definition of sin is 'missing our purpose'. Take care and thanks again :)

Martie Coetser (author) from South Africa on October 16, 2012:

Gypsy, I believe we ought to GROW until the day we die. I will always try to be a better person than the one I am today. Really, I am always in a battle with my bad characteristics - for example my short temper when it comes to unacceptable matters such as poor customer services and rude people. As soon as I've beaten one bad habit, I realize with a shock that I have already acquired a new one.

I believe when I boast about my achievements, I merely draw attention to my shortcomings. Yet I proudly reveal my achievements and not so proudly my failures as a proof of experience and qualifications, like a curriculum vitae. That is not boasting, that is submitting facts.

Thanks for reading my perspective and commenting, Rasma. I was in awe of yours. You've used true and indisputable examples of vanity.

kallini2010 from Toronto, Canada on October 16, 2012:

Hi, Martie, should I be proud to be born?

I think it was the job of that sperm that made it.

Am I proud of myself? Maybe that is the problem. Maybe I should have been proud, but I never was. I never learned how to be proud.

Excellent work.

I loved two things most of all - the quote by Nietzsche and the little thing you said (not so little in my understanding) -


I am going through the stage when all words seem to be misleading and empty.

Just waiting for this phase to pass...

Eiddwen from Wales on October 16, 2012:

Brilliant Martie and I vote up plus save.

Enjoy your day.


mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on October 15, 2012:

Martie, I think there needs to be letters after your name. Martie Coetser g.e.n.u.i.n.e

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on October 15, 2012:

Martie it is interesting how you have broken this down, it makes us think and question. Is pride vanity?

I have always thought of Vanity and pride as being two totally different things. We can take pride in the way we look or what we achieve without being vain.

Pride to me is feeling good (more than good) about what I or my children, family, friends have achieved or the way they look, behave.

To me vanity is shouting out 'Hey look at me aren't I just wonderful' But... do these people not realise what 'real' people think of them. 'OK so your your boobs look great, but they're FAKE for goodness sake. And that nose, well it may be a beauty but has it made you any more beautiful as a person. Probably not because you spend so much time thinking about yourself that you haven't time for any compassion for the rest of the world' No these people would be ignorant of the two faced compliments they receive 'You look beautiful dear (mutton dressed as lamb)'

I guess we are all a little vain but there is a limit to 'going over the top' I was very vain as a teenager and in my early twenties, the latest fashion and never without make-up, but that is part of the fun of growing up. Now I take pride in how I look but settle for comfort, EXCEPT for my hair, I have no wish to go grey just yet.

Suzie from Carson City on October 15, 2012:

Martie....As fabulous as always, I would expect nothing less than this from the wonderful writer you are. I am duly impressed with the meticulous manner in which you walked us though your descriptive journey of Vanity & Humility vs. Pride & Modesty.

I am grateful for the gracious way you have presented these qualities to us, in terms of their similarities and differences and how we can delicately balance them within our personalities. Thank you Martie, my dear friend.......Voted Up to the stars.

Mohan Kumar from UK on October 15, 2012:

Martie - it's interesting to see your take on vanity that draws many similar strands to my own... As always, you build your thoughts and ideas logically and elegantly. You populate your. excellent hub with quotes and illustrations with such verve and panache. I love the way you make the reader think and reflect.. This is another wonderful example of your writing skill ... Voted up of course!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on October 15, 2012:

I have pride, so I'll take vanity along with it. I have most of the opposites of the seven deadly sins, I reckon I'm not a sinner! Woot! You do have a way of making me think, even when I'm too tired to. WTG SAA, your perspective is awesome!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on October 15, 2012:

Very impressive Martie. This should be required reading for our young people as well as the rest of us.

I think I still have a little vanity in me, which is one reason I posted the terrible picture of how bad I can really look in my hub on sleep apnea.

I don't want to be vain. Your wisdom shines through so brightly, Martie and inspires me to keep working on overcoming my own vanity.

Thank you for helping me to become a better person. Hugs - Audrey

MickeySr from Hershey, Pa. on October 15, 2012:

. . . isn't this interesting; just prior, just moments before i turned to begin reading your 'perspective:' on 'vanity', I was talking with one of my many daughters who was telling me that she is not at all uncomfortable with being humiliated. She explained that, as with everything in life, we can learn from those times when we feel humiliated . . . that the immediate feeling of personal humiliation is not desirable or pleasurable to her, but that she knows it's a necessary experience if we're going to grow and mature as individuals. My small contribution to our little discussion was; isn't it a bit peculiar that we count humility to be such a virtue, such a beautiful and esteemed trait - yet we count the experience of humiliation as a dreadful circumstance? Is that a measure of our vanity, that we hold humility to be a lofty characteristic, but we abhor any personal humiliation?

Again, you've demonstrated the intent of and hope for the 'Perspectives:' series - thank you.

Sunnie Day on October 15, 2012:

Awesome hub my friend, giving us much to think about concerning the person in the mirror..Vanity...too much is a detriment, too little is not good as well..learning to find a balance within ourselves..accepting the things we can change and embracing the things we cannot...Thank you Martie..up and awesome!


Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 15, 2012:

My sister was also born with club feet and when my parents talked to doctors about correcting them, they also were told they were vain. They persevered anyway and today my sister has beautiful feet. ankles and legs. I can't imagine doctors acting this way and wanting a child to remain crippled when it could be fixed. When I decided to stop wearing glasses and change to wearing contacts I was told by the eye doctor I was vain. I said, Yes, I suppose I am, but I prefer to wear contacts in my youth. Today, I'm back to wearing glasses, so I guess that means I got over my vanity. LOL Great article and I enjoyed readfing this!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 15, 2012:

Martie, your perspective on this month's subject took a deep, philosophical, clinical, educational and personal turn. You have presented an article with so much food for thought, it deserves to be read over and over again in order to absorb the complexity of the simple three syllable word 'vanity'.

Awesome post, friend!

Sommer Dalton on October 15, 2012:

Voted up, interesting and awesome. So many hubs on vanity lately love all the different opinions! Very well done!

Mary Craig from New York on October 15, 2012:

Wow! Not only do you open yourself up completely but you have listed so many facts and informative ideas, all leading to the truth that we need to have some pride in ourselves but not go to the extreme of being vain.

It seems every time I read something of yours I become more and more impressed, not just with your writing but with your personality. I am proud to be your follower.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on October 15, 2012:

My Sista,

No one can slice and dice a subject quite like build an analytic base and weave your personal experience into the theme to make it significant and memorable.

These types of essays make me want to enjoy endless hours of conversation and giggles with you, whether we come up with answers to these questions or not, whether we even look gorgeous or not, come to think of it...!

Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 15, 2012:

"The fear of appearing original" Isn't that a great line! Almost as great as the way you covered this subject. You construct a hub beautifully; visually it is a treat to behold. Then your words....your personal reflections on your own life were honest and inspiring, and your question at the end about vanity....I'm not sure I'm wise enough to answer. It seems, in today's world, that greed is the greatest sin....but where does greed come from. Vanity must enter into any discussion about greed, or so it seems to me.

Excellent hub Martie!

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on October 15, 2012:

Voted up and awesome. I agree when we feel in some way inferior it is so hard to pull ourselves up and accept ourselves as we are. You are right vanity is a normal characteristic but one should never let it get out of hand. We should be proud of ourselves and our achievements but lets not call out the cheerleading squad. Great hub. Hugs.

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