Women, It’s Okay to Have a Little Vanity (You Too, Guys)

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Women, it’s okay to have a little vanity. You are a worthy match for anyone. Worthy!

But all too often we get enraptured by the false attention unworthy men give us. I get it. Any attention feels good. Like what suckered this lovely woman. If you can add a little vanity to that attention that you receive, you will better be able to enjoy the attention and discern what is false attention.

There is something about that word vanity which connotes that we should not be vain. That this is a bad word to be. Maybe because it is used to so often negatively in Ecclesiastes and thus gets inserted into sermons as a negative word. Or maybe because Dictionary.com defines it as “excessive pride.” But for years I’ve been using it positively. It is that something inside of me that says “I am worth it so I will decide to…” This is not excessive.

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I remember the first time I gave this advice to a young lady. She was a wayward grown teen caught up in a promiscuous lifestyle. We were meeting for a catch up dinner while she was in town. We met at a “happening” restaurant. I noticed her looking around a lot while we were talking and eating which led to an honest discussion about her choices. I don’t think she thought we’d be talking so honestly and frankly about what she thought no one knew about. She finally fessed up and said that she was looking for the one guy who would take her home that night. I then looked deeply into this beautiful lady and said you should be looking at each one of these guys who are looking at you and thinking, “There is not one of you who is good enough to take me home tonight. Have a little vanity.” I still remember the look on her face when that truth hit her like a train. She thought her value was in her ability to pick up any guy. Her value was in her adorableness and endearingness that drew the attention. That attention didn’t then need to lead to promiscuous sex to be affirmed. She could have a little vanity and think she was enough just because she got the attention.

Then there is the adorable 18-year old college freshman who was arguing with me that the guy she met on Tinder genuinely cared about her as a friend. Woman, have a little vanity! You don’t find friends on Tinder. His attention is not forthright or for you. And you are worthy of a real friend. (And why would she put herself on Tinder in the first place?! Have a little vanity.)

When we have a little vanity, we stop contorting ourselves to get into a relationship or to make a relationship work. Without that little vanity, we believe to get a certain someone’s attention we have to contort ourselves and/or accept less-than-character behavior or worse yet, we excuse someone’s bad character. We willingly do it so we can have his/her attention. (Guys, it is okay for you to have a little vanity too.) This excusing is done because possibly having his/her attention means that something is not wrong with me and that I may be loveable. The contortion is worth it to receive this validation.

Have a little vanity. You are already loveable. You are a great match for someone else who is a great match. Don’t get blinded by the false attention. Use your little vanity to discern that “that guy is awful smart to be paying me this much attention but I am smarter because I can see that he is not quality enough for me.” Or “I’m going to give this smart guy a chance because he is paying me attention but I’ve got my discerner up because I am worthy.”

Use your little vanity to become one of those “hard to get” people. “Hard to get” people are alluring because they have boundaries which come from having a little vanity believing that they are worthy of these boundaries. To have good boundaries means you know where you end and the other person begins. You know how to set limits and when to say no. When you have good boundaries you are free to be honest, clear, direct, and able to confront when necessary. As Dr. Henry Cloud says, “Boundaries create autonomy, which creates freedom, which is essential for attraction and love.” (How to Get a Date Worth Keeping) “Hard to get” people are alluring because of their independence and freedom. You know exactly what you get from that person. That sounds like some vanity and that does not sound negative.

I lovingly call myself a Brave Dating Coach knowing full well I have some brave (what others may call crazy) “out there” thoughts about dating. Having a little vanity may seem too far “out there,” but I know it to be true. Meditate on these thoughts for a while. See if the truth bubbles up to your surface too. Then apply it to your life. I’m not saying to be excessively pompous. I mean you are a valued catch to be caught but you don’t have to come across showing off your value in that way. Strengthen your discerner (part-brain, part-instinct, and part-Holy-Spirit) by believing a little vanity about yourself, respect your boundaries you are coming to understand, lean into your team’s wisdom, and enjoy the attention you attract—whether it is false attention or good attention. Any guy is a smart guy to be flirting with you. But you are smarter by discerning what is best for you.

Remember, you have everything inside you that someone is seeking.

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p.s.  I love speaking on this topic and the other brave dating practices to singles groups.  There is a passion in me for this that will easily be caught by your group.  Let’s start a conversation about me having such conversations with your people.  Contact.

(photo credit: https://psitsamomsworld.com/2015/12/30/2016-i-am-worthy/)

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