On Beauty: The Selfie, and Beauty vs. Vanity

**all photos in article are self-taken; also known as ‘selfies’**

I take great measures to pamper myself in the sanctuary of my own home. Like a devotional practice on the yoga mat, I believe it strengthens my personal sense of beauty, and of self esteem, to lovingly care for myself. As such, when the house is quiet and solemn, I’ll take a long bath, soften the spots of skin the world has hardened, and paint my fingers and toes. It may seem trivial, but aren’t these – our hands and feet – the most important and devoted tools in our everyday lives?

There is nothing wrong with honoring, praising, and rewarding our physical forms if it is done as a practice of gratitude rather than discipline or guilt, or in an attempt to gain worth. If it is an act of exposing rather than concealing, that is to say exposing one’s unique beauty rather than hiding one’s flaws, then it can bring a small sense of peace and deep inner love. More poignantly: Self love for the temple.

in love and light

This is the fundamental difference between ‘beauty’ and ‘vanity’. Vanity is an act of boastful, exclusionary exploitation. Beauty, conversely, is founded on respect, on acceptance. It is our gateway, our everyday peek into the divine perfection of the universe.

Vanity points the lens at our outer appearance. But that lens cannot see deeper than the skin.

Beauty points the lens from the inside facing. It can see far beyond vanity, from deep within the eye to far beyond the stars. That is why beauty has such a profound effect; when we see it, we are reminded of the divinely balanced and endlessly bountiful map of existence.

Allowing ourselves to see our own, individual beauty from our faces to our toes and sharing that beauty, whether through a glimpse of ourselves in a ‘selfie’ or our work and actions in the world, connects us (and others who are perceptive enough to see it) to something much bigger than ourselves. In fact, it is only when we are able to see and appreciate the beauty in ourselves that our ability to see the individual beauty of others is exponentially increased. As we become more beautiful (yet not vain) and present within our bodies, so does everyone around us. The energy of happiness to be in your own skin is playfully contagious.

The next time you see a picture of a person, of a place, of an action or being or moment, distinguish it as beauty or vanity. And next you share your own face with the world, say through your own ‘selfless’, do so for the beauty of your soul rather than your skin. The difference will be remarkable. No likes needed.