Self-absorption vs. self-esteem, the battle between vanity and mental health

By Colleen Harlely
Copy Editor

There are all different kinds of people in this world, each individual person with different personality traits and quirks, as well as a variety of looks. Some people have all the confidence in their looks and think they are perfect the way they are, virtually in love with themselves. But, on the other hand, so many girls and boys lack that confidence in themselves, because of the weight of their own standards and those of society they feel the need to live up to.

“You’re so self-absorbed.” Someone might say this to another person if the person they’re talking about has a cocky vibe coming from them. Possessing this quality is not necessarily a good thing though.
Qualities of someone who is self-absorbed are things like not being excited for someone when they receive praise or good attention, not liking someone just because of their status on the social ladder, demanding that things be done their way, and taking the spotlight away from other people for no apparent reason. Being vain though, is different than being self-absorbed, it means they only care about their looks and think they’re the best looking person in the world.

It’s good to have confidence in their looks, but sometimes people take it to the extreme. Examples of being vain are that if they are a girl, they cannot leave the house without makeup on. If they are a boy, maybe they have to have their hair cut in a certain style.

Another example of possessing the quality of vanity would be if they pass a mirror, they have to look at themselves. Also, if they see the slightest sign of imperfection of them, they will take immediate and irrational action to get the imperfection taken care of. An example of that would be if a pimple appears on their face, they will start to throw a tantrum and do everything possible to get rid of it.
Senior Megan Barrett comments on the subject, “I think that people who are vain just have an ego that they feel needs to be noticed. They need the attention to make themselves feel better about what they’re doing or who they are. I think it’s good to have confidence and to like how you look, but to make shallow minded remarks about others isn’t okay. Appearance shouldn’t be the only trait you care about, and it shouldn’t be all you think about either.”

Self Esteem by definition is “ones self-worth or self-value. Often defined as a personality trait, it can involve security/insecurity about someone’s own beliefs, appearance, behaviors, and emotions.” Self-esteem problems affect people of all ages, in all four corners of the earth.

According to Dove’s research, only 4% of women believe they are beautiful and only 11% of girls worldwide are comfortable enough to use the word, ‘beautiful’ to describe themselves. The pressure of women and girls everywhere to look perfect 24 hours, seven days a week, is almost unbearable.
From society, to the media, and to even their own families and friends, women constantly have an image they feel the need to uphold. In fact, Dove’s research also found that 72% of girls feel there is a huge amount of pressure on them to be beautiful.

But not only does the criticism come from the media and society, it comes from the women themselves. They always say that an individual’s mind is their own worst critic.

Senior Jackie Connelly gives her definition of what a lack of self-esteem is. “Lacking self-esteem basically means that you think you aren’t good enough in your own shoes. You’re confidence isn’t as good as you want it to be, and you are always looking to just feel better about yourself”

The popular smartphone app, Instagram is a prime example of how social media affects how people view themselves and others. On the app, you can take pictures from a cell phone, edit them with a filter, and upload them for ‘followers’ to see, and share with other people on different websites.
People feel the pressure to look like they’re having fun doing something, when in reality they are not, just because of all the hype about the app. Even celebrities are jumping on the Instagram bandwagon.
When people see the fun and amazing things celebrities are doing, or seeing how amazing they look, it prompts regular people to try and show off like their favorite famous person. Yet, at the same time, the normal people feel bad because they aren’t doing the lavish and exciting things that they wish they were doing.