Vanity has historically been cast in a negative light. It is, after all, listed as a sin in the Bible not once, but 35 times. So, if vanity is such a bad thing then why is it hardwired into our human DNA?
There are evolutionary and biological reasons why vanity exists. The drive to procreate runs strong in humans. The more attractive an individual is, the greater the likelihood that they will find the ideal mate. Vanity can, induce one to improve their physical appearance in the hopes of attracting such a mate. But attractiveness has many facets that go beyond just physical appearances. In today’s modern world, attraction includes superior intellect, wealth, celebrity, power and influence. Vanity can act as a driver for self-improvement and nudge us to do things we would otherwise not do. Here are some examples of vanity put to good use:
- Exercise – Improving one’s physical appearance by exercising daily has a derivative benefit of improved cardio, muscular, neurological and physical health.
- Education – Furthering one’s education in an effort to be more successful has a derivative benefit of improving brain function and intelligence. Your brain actually grows the more you learn.
- Pursue and Achieve Dreams/Goals – Pursuing and achieving your dreams and goals as a means of separating yourself from the crowd has a derivative benefit of increasing your self-confidence and overall happiness.
There is a very good reason human beings are vane. Nature doesn’t endow us with certain traits that do not serve some purpose. Vanity can act as a driver to improve our health, mind, emotional well-being and financial circumstances. The next time someone says you’re so vane, say thank you.