“What’s wrong with you? When did you become a vanity critic?” Donna asked.
“Wrong? There’s nothing wrong with me,” was Courtney’s puzzled response.
“Oh really! Every time we speak, you are negative. You behave as if you are the world’s biggest self-appointed critic. The problem is that unlike a real critic, you never have anything positive to say. Everything is bad. Your energy is negative.”
“I don’t have to put up with this,” Courtney said. “See ya. And by the way, I don’t know what a vanity critic is, but I know I am not one.”
“Whatever,” Donna said. There was a time when Courtney leaving in a huff would have bothered her. Not anymore. Her stress level went up each time she spoke with Courtney. Courtney had a litany of criticisms that changed constantly. It seemed as if each time they got together, she had a new target. She was always negative with nothing positive nor helpful.
You see, Courtney took her cue from whatever was trending on the news or Twitter or Facebook. She parroted other people’s thoughts — the unfavorable ones. It was as if Courtney felt doing so gave her validation and made her significant. She had lost her sense of self and become a vanity critic.
So exactly who or what is a vanity critic and how would you know if you are one? Most importantly, what can you do to ensure you do not occupy that stressful space?
A Vanity Critic Is . . .
When you are a vanity critic, you critique people and situations to be seen as being knowledgeable, rather than coming from a sincere place of conviction, knowledge, and helpfulness. The latter would be a place from which you seek to bring light and healing.
However, as a vanity critic, you target whatever is the flavor of the moment. Thus, you follow shiny objects, are negative in your critique. You are dismissive of any perspective that would even suggest you are not aligned with what you perceive to be the popular view. When you are a vanity critic, therefore, you are sanctimonious rather than being a genuine change maker.
Yet, if you are a vanity critic you deserve sympathy. After all, you lead a stressful life. Here is what I mean.
The Stressful Life of a Vanity Critic
At the root of being a vanity critic are unresolved issues that keep you from seeing the positive aspect of things and people. Most likely you have wounds from the past or present with which you have not dealt. Rather than deal with these, you turn your pain into anger and outrage.
Of course, there are times when your anger and outrage are merited. However, when you are a vanity critic, these become your de facto posture. This is a stressful place from which to live.
Unresolved wounds keep you from knowing and growing into who you truly are. This leads to insecurity. When you are insecure, you seek validation from others. This is why, as a vanity critic, your criticism is only negative and it is focused on what you think gives you validation and status.
In focusing on your need for validation and status, you seek to elevate your importance rather than examining the positives and negatives about what you genuinely care about. Finding and keeping up with the latest outrage to feed your insecurity is stressful.
A vanity critic does not seek positive change nor seek to be helpful. Thus, at the end of the day there is nothing to which to point that would bring you joy and/or satisfaction.
If you find that you are a vanity critic, what can you do to move from this stressful place and have joy and satisfaction?
How You Can Avoid Being a Vanity Critic One
As you would realize by now, it is okay to be critical of situations and places when appropriate. However, critique from a wholesome place, seeking to elevate and bring positive change. In this way, you will avoid being a vanity critic.
Claire Annelise Smith,PhD, aka Dr. Claire, is the founder of Blazing Star Network, a Professional Training and Spiritual Coaching firm. She is also the author of multiple books and publications.
With two decades of executive experience under her belt, Dr. Claire understands the drive that keeps individuals going.
As an author, speaker, spiritual mentor and coach, Dr. Claire helps leaders organize their busy lives to have more time to connect with themselves, the people they love most, and God … without stress and guilt.