For the next two weeks, I have double days of sins: Outfit & Beauty. I really don’t enjoy that these are called sins. For the remainder of this post, I will refer to them as temptations.
On the first day, my challenges are ways to combat each temptation. The second day is a way to indulge the temptation. While too much of any of these temptations could be detrimental, not enjoying any part of these temptations could be detrimental as well. Needless to say, it has been a while since society created these temptations and a lot has changed.
Let’s all agree that nobody is perfect. Everyone experiences some form of these temptations and recognizing which affects you the most will help your self-awareness and I think your overall happiness. Most of us do not face these temptations on a daily basis. A lot of them are situational.
I want to stress that sometimes giving in to temptation can be a good thing. Pay attention to my second challenge for each temptation. In moderation, these temptations can help improve your mental health which will lead to a happier you. There are two ways to interpret these temptations and lucky for you, I am going to share them both.
Does anyone else feel that pride being a temptation leads to low self-esteem? We are taught from a young age not to brag. We are taught not to parade around boasting about our accomplishments, but we are not taught how to properly celebrate them. As I have grown into a young adult, I have found it hard to share my accomplishments with my friends or peers for fear of coming off conceited.
The problem is I shouldn’t feel ashamed to share my success stories. I work hard for my success. Nothing has been handed to me. Sometimes the fear is that my success may make someone else feel like a failure. Why can’t I succeed and you also succeed? In most cases, we don’t have the same jobs. We don’t have the same goals. If I achieve my goal, it does not take away from the hard work you are putting towards yours. If you are constantly feeling low when your friends are sharing their success stories, keep reading until you hit envy.
You need to show empathy when sharing your successes. If your friend just got laid off, maybe wait to boast about your new promotion. Let’s use some common sense here. There is a time and a place for celebrating you. Be mindful of when that is.
A negative pride trait is when you only celebrate your successes, but not anyone else’s. People want to be around people who share in their successes. If you celebrate them, they will celebrate you. Simple, right?
Someone who has “too much” pride may be hiding insecurities. Oversharing could be to prove to you (and themselves) that they belong. Try to get to know this person on a deeper level. If it turns out they just love themselves too much, then sobeit. If you helped them gain confidence by taking time to get to know them, you could make a big impact on their life.
CHALLENGE: Do something for someone else today that you may not enjoy.
CHALLENGE: Take today to indulge your prideful side. Be proud of your accomplishments.
When people think of greed, people think of money. One lesson that I have learned since graduating from college is how to make plans with friends with varying incomes. In college, even though we came from different family incomes, we were all broke. There were certain social interactions that everyone could afford. Now, everyone has a different budget and a different idea of how they want to spend their money. In layman’s terms, it was time to figure out how to talk about money.
My approach, as it is in most aspects of my life, is to be upfront. I go into the night saying I am not going to participate in drink rounds or I don’t want to split the bill evenly. When you set expectations upfront, it leads to less awkward interactions at the end. In some social circles, if you won’t spend the same amount, you won’t be invited anymore. I am happy to not exist in any of those. I think there are so many creative ways to have plans on a budget. Sorry to say, I won’t be sharing those ideas in this post.
Money is a complicated part of life, but finding ways to talk about it with your friends will help you be less stressed in the long run. There was one day that I had dinner plans with a good friend and I was looking over my budget that month and it was not looking good. I reached out and mentioned I did not want to cancel plans, but going out was tough for me. She admitted she would prefer to stay in, too! We switched the plans to cook together which was just as fun.
There are people who have money who are not greedy. There are people who don’t have money who are greedy. Greed is when you have more than you need or you have what you need and you want more. In modern days, I think greed is shown in flashing designer items. While I understand some designer items and specialty pieces, I do not understand spending $100 on a black t-shirt just because it is a designer t-shirt. Let’s be real, it is a t-shirt.
Negative greed ties in with some negative pride traits. When your motivation is status or power, the question becomes why. Is it so you can have a voice people would listen to in order to make the world a better place? Or is it so you can make other people feel smaller? I think it is obvious which form of “greed” is acceptable.
Someone who is greedy may also be trying to overcompensate for something. Do they only own designer items because they think it makes them look cool and will make it easier to fit in? You will never know if you don’t give them a chance.
CHALLENGE: Find a charity to support or a way to volunteer during this time.
CHALLENGE: Take today to indulge in your greedy desires. Is there a designer item you’ve had your eyes on for a while? Treat yourself.
Lust temptation was probably my hardest to create an outfit. Lust is an intense desire for something. Most people equate lust with sexual desires which means this image should’ve been sexy. I chose to embody symbols of sex instead of looking sexy myself. These symbols are red lips, long eyelashes, and a dress like Marilyn Monroe’s. I considered trying to copy the most famous Marilyn Monroe pose but thought that was too on the nose.
There are definitely a lot of scenarios when lust can be sinful. The first that comes to mind is when you act on your desires without consent. The most negative form of lust is definitely rape. On the other hand, when your intense desires are consensual it is usually referred to as making love.
Since the true definition of lust is the intense desire for something, it includes a desire for food, power, or money. All of these temptations work together on some level or another. The difference between a temptation being positive or negative always comes back to motivation.
Lust is a hard one. A lot of times rapists are people who were abused as a child. While this is a horrible fact, it does not make it acceptable for them to continue the cycle.
CHALLENGE: Make sure you have open communication with your partners.
CHALLENGE: Take a bubble bath.
To be envious, you must compare yourself to others. I see quotes all over my social media empowering young adults to think of our life as a marathon, not a race, or share success stories of people later in life. We do not have to be young to be successful. Just because someone else is successful, does not mean we are a failure.
If we took the time to recognize other people’s successes, maybe, we could learn what they did differently than us. What if we used our jealousy as motivation or a learning tool? We should share our success journey to make it easier for others to follow.
I think envy turns evil when we use people’s success against them. It is evil when we wish they did not have or achieve whatever we are jealous of. Oftentimes, when people are jealous they take so much time and effort to be jealous that they cannot move past it. Being envious takes effort. It takes time away from your life and your goals. It sits like a shadow in every conversation. People would feel so much lighter if they accepted that everyone’s life moves at a different pace.
People who are envious are insecure or unhappy. Sorry if that is you, but people who are happy and confident in their lives do not spend their time comparing themselves to others. If you are finding people are envious of you, try to spin the conversation into a positive in their life. For some people, this could help change their outlook and help them move away from their envy.
CHALLENGE: Stop comparing yourself to others.
CHALLENGE: Take your jealousy and turn it into motivation. If you see that someone has something you do not, make a plan to get it, too.
A perfect example of modern-day gluttony is eating because you are bored. While I admit, it is not a great habit and it is possibly taking food away from someone who needs it, I do not think it makes you evil. I do this. It is a habit I am trying to shake, but I never do it to be malicious. I like snacks.
If we were in a meat shortage and I binge ate steaks, yes, I believe that would be evil. If I am sitting on the couch and stuffing my face with chips, I am not sure I see the evil there. Gluttony is defined as overconsumption to the point of waste. I am pretty sure a fair argument could be made that American’s overconsume. Whether this is right or wrong, it is a cultural habit.
A key to overcoming gluttonous acts is to be conscious of them. When you go to have a snack always ask yourself if you are truly hungry. If not, drink a glass of water first. If you decide to move forward with eating, be aware of portion control. I am sure I don’t need to eat an entire bag of chips to satisfy my craving.
Overeating, binge eating, or bored eating (gluttonous actions) could be linked to depression. Some people eat when they are sad as a way to feel comfort. If when reading this, you are finding that is your motivation, try to find something else that will make you feel supported. On tough days, I feel happier when I am sitting near a candle. I feel happier when I do a face mask. I feel happier when I listen to music. Next time you go for a snack, try one of these and see if they make you feel happier, too.
CHALLENGE: Try to go a week without alcohol. A cleanse never hurt anyone.
CHALLENGE: Treat yourself to a special dessert today.
I did not expect this temptation to be as difficult to pose for as it was. The bloopers of this photoshoot had me cracking up. It is really hard to take pictures of anger that are still chic. Wrath includes feelings of anger, rage, or hatred. The irony of is photoshoot is that this outfit is an old-school image of what wrath looks like. I could have easily taken this image in a normal outfit with clean make-up on.
Often times, our wrath gets bottled up or kept a secret. A secret hatred towards a friend you are envious of. A wave of anger towards your job that keeps bubbling until you boil over and finally quit. A type of wrath that may be missed is internal. A hatred for yourself. Can you identify when it started? I find writing out my feelings to be therapeutic. Write out that memory and let it exist only on the page. It is time to let it go or work towards improving it.
Wrath can be a sign of depression, grief, or a number of other mental issues. I think that people who feel hatred also feel envious. As I mentioned earlier, holding envy and hate in your heart weighs you down. It makes it harder to feel happy about your wins or successes because you are always comparing yourself to others.
CHALLENGE: Forgive someone or something you have been holding a grudge against. Hint: The someone can be yourself.
CHALLENGE: Listen to your anger. Go outside and scream. Don’t bottle it in.
I understand that when these temptations were written down the goal was to have a productive society. Sloth, in 2021, may be the hardest one to wrap my brain around. Of course, it is not helpful if you never do anything. The opposite of this is feeling like you always have to be doing something. A healthy balance is important.
If you are having a bad day or week and need to take some time for yourself and be lazy, take it. There is too much going on in the world to not be at your healthiest mentally. If you are feeling fine, but can’t figure out how to spend your time, that is another story. Is there a task you do that helps put you in a more motivated or inspired mood? For me, after I take a shower, I am ready to go. Some days, I could sit on the couch and binge watch TV all day, but I know I wanted to get something done. After I shower, I already feel productive and I can continue on my streak. It is possible showers do not flip your switch, I urge you to figure out what it is.
Sloth can be a sign of depression, too. If someone is unmotivated, there may be something deeper going on. If efforts to make plans are not working, try listening. Sometimes sharing your burden or your thoughts with someone else helps you feel lighter and able to be productive.
CHALLENGE: Be productive today.
CHALLENGE: Sit on the couch. Binge watch a new show. Do nothing tonight.
To spell it out for you, give people a chance before writing them off. After you give them a chance, if they prove that they were showing their true colors from the start and there was no deeper context, then there is nothing more you could do. I think you will find most people have something deeper going on.
Doing this challenge on the seven deadly sins was really interesting. It helped me try to create photoshoot concepts that included location, outfits, hair, and make-up. I felt like a creative director. I liked it. There were definitely a lot of learnings, but I am excited to keep working on more challenges.
Comment any challenge ideas you want me to try.