Understanding the Desire to Show Off

Posted on by Sen.

If you look at a scenic landscape, a glorious sunset, a vast expanse of tulips, a preening peacock, a star lit sky – there is an immediate sense of awe where you feel appreciation for the beauty depicted by nature; it’s considered a very divine experience, by many, to appreciate nature. When you appreciate nature, it’s like life appreciating itself – so life “shows off” to itself and enjoys the appreciation, if you want to see it for what it is you can easily see the deep narcissism involved in this whole process. The core reason why life comes into physicality is to use it as a mirror of self recognition and self appreciation. If you let go of all the holy ideas you have about life, you can easily see the child like desire in life for self appreciation – it’s actually a very innocent pursuit, it’s just a very pure self love.

You are this same life energy and hence in you is this same desire for self-appreciation – the desire to show off, whether you accept it or not depends on your inner honesty. If you feel guilty about self-appreciation it’s a given that you will be experiencing a lot of lack in your life presently. People who enjoy showing off quite easily attract a lot of abundance in their life, this is simply because of their deep self-love that prompts them to look at themselves in appreciation – this self-love automatically removes resistance to desires, allowing quicker manifestation. If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that there is a strong desire in you for being appreciated (by your own mind and by other minds) – we desire to be admired by our own mind and by others, this is very natural. Anyone who tells you that the desire for self-appreciation is “wrong” is himself/herself a suppressed being holding onto superficial ideas of divinity.

The problem is not with showing off, the problem is with becoming unconsciously lost in showing off to the point where you become a prisoner to it. As long as you show off as a part of enjoying your physicality while having a balance within, where you are not dependent on the high of showing off for your own sense of wholeness, it will ensure that you just indulge in self appreciation as a self-expression, an entertainment, and an enjoyable experience, for yourself. If you see life in its non-physical aspect, it’s already whole and it desires self-appreciation simply as a celebration of its presence – you being the same life-energy can maintain this balance within you, with being connected to the wholeness in your space of being and enjoyment of self-appreciation through your physicality.

It’s not about vanity

Balance is the key word here. Self-appreciation, or showing off, can turn into an imbalance in many people where they become a slave to outside approval and base their whole life around being appreciated by others – this behavior is akin to being vain. It’s first important to have some balance in your being, I define it as reaching a place of inner stability/wholeness – you can do this by find a connection with your space of being. If you are totally lost in the mind, you are very likely to exhibit imbalanced behaviors like an excessive vanity. So what’s the limit? How much showing off is permissible before we end up becoming vain? Well, it’s a personal thing, and it’s for you to be honest with yourself to see if you’ve become imbalanced in some way – it’s just about being authentic with yourself, and the higher your self-awareness that more your authenticity.

Self-appreciation is a natural desire, and it’s very important to allow its expression through the means of self-admiration, self-love and self-expression that allows for outside appreciation. Every life form enjoys to show off in some way, it’s the very basis of creation – it’s so pretentious to claim that you don’t feel any sense of pride and self-appreciation for your achievements/creation, anyone making such statements is just not being honest. Once you allow yourself the freedom to show off, by removing any form of guilt you might have associated with it, you will be amazed at the creativity that can flow into your expression, it can also bring in a lot of your lost motivation towards physical living. Every creation, in truth, is life showing off in some way it’s power of creation, its intelligence, its sense of beauty and aesthetics. To suppress your desire to show off is an imbalance in itself, as much as it’s an imbalance to become highly vain. It’s always about the middle way.

The way I would define vanity is – “showing off from a place of spite”, where the energy is coming from a place of hatred/bitterness. A healthy showing off never comes from spite, it’s always just an expression of self-love. The outside is always a reflection of our own inner state, so an inner imbalance will be reflected by the outside in some way including criticism. An honest introspection can let you know if you’ve become imbalanced in showing off, a few lines of questioning would be as below

– Am I trying to put others down by my showing off (by projecting a sense of superiority and treating others as inferior)

– What is the energy behind my acts of showing off, is it stemming from fear/hatred (trying to prove a point) or is it stemming for joy/self-love?

– Do I feel guilty about showing off, do I feel embarrassed of being appreciated?

– Am I being obnoxious towards others while showing off

Basically, it’s about realizing that anything can become an imbalance if one is not conscious. So growing in self-awareness, through connecting with your space of being, is the pre-requisite to having a balanced physical expression. However, it’s just as possible to become imbalanced towards the space of being to the point where you start avoiding your desire towards physicality – basically stating that you are “done” with materialism, which is simply another imbalance. Inner balance is about a balance between your being and your mind, to enjoy the experience of physicality from a place of inner wholeness.

Letting go of the fear of showing off

In a lot of us there is this fear of showing off, mostly created through limiting thoughts cultivated during our growing up phase. The fear of showing off could arise out of several thought patterns, some of the common ones are below

– God wants me to be simple, I will make God angry if I show off in anyway (created through a belief in the concept of a punishing God)

– Living a simple life is more spiritual and hence we should avoid any form of showing off

– I will be judged by people for showing off

– Showing off is just wrong, it’s a sign of immaturity

A lot of people are shy of their self-expression for the fear of being judged as being a show off. A lot of your talents and physical make-up are for you to be “attractive” to the outside in someway, to be an expression that’s appreciated by the outside – if you curb your self expression out of the fear of coming across as a show off you could well be hindering a large part of your natural expression. Each person has something beautiful in him/her that can be appreciated by others and it’s important to express it instead of keeping it hidden, this is how life appreciates itself through it’s own eyes. Don’t worry about haters, if there is a desire within you to express yourself in some way, go ahead with it – it could be something as simple as wearing a certain dress, to a party, that looks great on you; don’t try to curb your desire by using some limiting thought like “I should be more spiritual”, or some nonsense like that.

A balanced showing off ensures that you not only have a healthy sense of self-appreciation, and self love, but also are uninhibited in expressing your natural talent or creativity. When you show off from a place of inner joy/love, as a part of self-expression, it’s a pure expression of positivity for you, whereas when you try to show off as a means of putting others down, or proving your superiority, it’s rooted in some form of inner negativity which ends up attracting a negative reflection from the outside. The word “show off” has gained so much negative connotation from the judging mind, and yet if you see life in its innocence is always showing off its beauty in one way or the other – a simple pointer is that if you are not showing off from a place of “spite” towards others then it’s a healthy showing off, and it’s a natural desire in your being.


  1. Ross

    Just amazing, how you shine light subjects such as these ! 😀 Thank you Sen 😀

  2. Ritu

    How candid, how stripped of pretensions. Thank you Sen!!:)

  3. Willy

    Nice one sen…. But sen, can it be natural for someone not to have any desire at all to show off?

    1. Sen Post author

      The way I define healthy “showing off”, in this post, refers to an expression of self-appreciation from a place of love or joy that we feel towards ourselves. It’s natural to desire this self-appreciation, it’s the very nature of life-energy that we are to be, or want to be, in love with itself, in appreciation towards itself. A total lack of a desire for self-appreciation can point to an imbalance in the mind where one is trying to suppress the joy dimension or love dimension in it, possibly due to an imbalance towards hatred or boredom, or out of fear.

  4. abet

    sen u the man!


  5. Joy

    As always, truth is beautiful and resonant.

  6. Debbie

    Thank you Sen…I struggled with this for years. This makes absolute sense.

  7. Ehsan M.

    Thank you Sen

  8. Willy

    Thanks sen

  9. Sunrise

    Thanks so much Sen for another such amazing post. I have always struggled with this subject. Growing up I always felt ashamed when people complimented me about anything. like you mentioned, I felt it was not “spiritual” to feel good about it. I am so thakful to life for guiding me to finding this blog. I have read so many books in search for the “truth” but this is the first time I feel all make sense. I feel I found all the missing pieces of “my life puzzle”. Thanks.

  10. Shivani

    Amazing ! Deep within this truth is known, but being typical “us” along the way get confused with messages from outside and seek to define ourselves based on what “we think the world expects” of us.
    Such reminders are constantly needed, because most often we are forgetful on who we are. Thanks Sen !!!

  11. abet


    When someone gets sick such as a common cold or flu etc, does this mean the body is out of harmony for some reason? out of balance?

  12. Asli

    Sen, right now I can even hardly stand the thought of being at “the center of attention” (but I allow it as much as I can), so enjoying the show off seems soo far away for me. I have always envied people who can easily show off. This is the hardest lesson for me…I guess i will take baby steps and skip this post until I’m ready for this lesson.

  13. asli

    Hi Sen,

    You say “don’t worry about haters”, my problem is that I don’t know how to deal with them. Most of the times I don’t know how to react or respond to their hurtful remarks and remain silent, afterwards I feel sorry because of my muteness; if I also somehow manage to return their “favor” with my own hurtful remarks, I feel bad. Whenever someone resorts to hateful words (I don’t say critical, what I mean is petty, jealous remarks especially about my apperance and outfits) I get defensive, passive-agressive or mute depending on my mood, and I don’t think these are the right responses.I wonder how you deal with the haters?

    1. Markus

      Asli, those who criticize are sharing with you that they are judgemental, have limiting views, or something like that. Do you need to justify your choice of clothes or appearance to them? Of course not. Also, silence is not a bad reply if your emotion would have you speaking hurtfully. Some bullies do what they do in order to make others react angrily. It gives them a feeling of control over others. No (outward) emotional reaction from you might change how things unfold next time. I don’t mean to stifle your emotion – just withhold it from the bully and work on letting it go on your own time.

      You are right to think that being hurtful in return is not a good response. But putting them on the spot might be a good response, if ignoring them is not an option at that moment. What I mean is, instead of a petty or hurtful word in return, simply point out that the other is being hurtful or judgemental. It need not be done angrily – just state a fact. This is a chance for them to think about their choices. You cannot control what they do with it, but you can give them the opportunity to change. Even if it changes nothing, you have done what you can for yourself.

  14. asli

    Dear Markus,

    Thank you for your kind response. I think, you’re right, being open and upfront is the right response, i just find it very difficult to remain open when I’m attacked, i guees i need to work on my openness a little bit more…

  15. Srishti

    I have been insecure ever since I can remember. All I saw was people bitching and pointing fingures at the prosperous. This site is starting to help me see the truth.

Comments are closed.