I’m warning you, right from the start. I’m going to use a word I haven’t used before when blogging, and maybe only 12 times otherwise. It’s one of those words that could make me lose all my readers, maybe even you. But, I’m going to do it, because I have to tell the truth.
I have “checkmark envy”. When I see the Verified Twitter Account, the checkmark reversed out of cyan, I want one, too. Badly. It’s been going on for about three months. It has everything to do with feelings of self-worth. Important people have Verified Accounts. People that matter. Wanting it has everything to do with sensing my value, and worst of all vanity.
So, I realized something, Vanity is spiritual masturbation.
Now that I said “the M word”, I want to unpack what I just said, so we don’t miss the forrest for the trees.
Some people think masturbation can make you blind. Do people still think this? This obviously reflects poorly on blind people. It’s made me question Stevie Wonder, for instance. Well, not really. (After I wrote this, I found out it’s Stevie’s birthday today…what a “God thing”, huh? I mean, sorry Stevie for that extra weird bit of undue attention on your special day.)
Some people think it’s perverted. Some think it’s necessary. Some think it’s just plain fun. Some say, when in doubt, do it. Like Nike, right? Never mind.
Here’s what it really is. It’s a reduction and diminution of a real and powerful thing. The goodness of sexual intimacy is given a shabby surrogate. It’s not more or better, it’s less. It’s a shortcut that cheats you–producing fulfillment temporarily, but soon leaving you feeling more isolated or lonely; even trapped, or increasingly compulsive.
Vanity is the same way, but more thoroughly. It holds hands and makes out with shame. It’s focused on sensing worthiness in a weird, circular, and disappointing quest.
I learned a lot about these sort of pitfalls of shame (a.k.a. “hame”. Yeah, refer to Brown video) yesterday, from Dr Brené Brown in this amazing (20 min) video about so-called “shame studies”. Watching it could change your life.
It’s given me the courage to admit this kind of spiritual masturbation addiction I avoid revealing.
I want to be somebody. God’s answer (healing) for this is to be thoroughly aware of being known and loved ever still in him. It’ll take my whole life to fully get there. This is but one of my forward steps.
Do you feel the need to be “verified”?