While growing up, I was taught that being vain was a bad thing. Being vain ranked high up there along with being dishonest and uncharitable. Even though I grew up in a cultural milieu where looking good was paramount, I was often too lost in my own world of books and studies to pay much attention to looking good. Also, I never had much to be vain about, so maybe that contributed as well. I did pay a lot of attention to my clothes- and was always the best dressed person in any gathering. Though I never had the perfect bod- far from it, actually- I realized that I had to pay extra attention to my garb. To this day, I plan most of my outfits with all the detail of a general planning a war. Dressing up well becomes very important if you (or me, in this case) do not have a good body!
Anyway, to get back to my main point, I grew up without any sense of personal vanity- that I looked good and needed to look good. Vanity implies that I know I look good. By extension, I realize that I get attention and people look at me! By further corollary, it means that I will work hard to look good because I take pride in doing so. So in a way, being vain does mean being proud of one’s looks/ body etc. This vanity/pride spurs us on to look good. To work hard at looking good. It is an innate sense of self-worth. And it keeps us on our toes.
In today’s age of skin-deep beauty, it is futile to deny that the more attractive among us are privileged. Call it shallow- I used to, and look at me now! I have come to believe that it is important to look good to feel good. Not just for the external world, but because being attractive makes you feel better about yourself. It is an added validation in this world ridden by self-doubt. Maybe your sense of self-worth comes from being a great genius, or your intellectual capacities or whatever rocks your boat. But for me, and most mere mortals like me, how we look is a big contributing factor.
I think being vain helps you take better care of yourself. Love yourself a little more. And we all need extra love- especially from our own selves.
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