The nafs is engaged in adorning itself in a way that pleases people, regardless of the fact that it may displease God.
The nafs is persistently obsessed with presenting itself in such a way as to prompt the good opinion of people, regardless of whether God may disapprove. The result of these actions is the increase of possessions and pride therein, as well as arrogance, self-importance and contempt. It avoids or ignores whatever people disapprove of, even though God may be pleased with these things, for instance, spiritual poverty, neediness and helplessness. This attribute can be removed from the nafs only through awareness of one’s own contemptibility.
However much the nafs makes a show of virtue and attempts to conceal vice, the latter will be hidden only from the shortsighted and the naive, never from those with insight. It is like a hideous old hag who bedecks herself in fancy, dazzling clothes in order to display her finery to children who think the beauty they see is truly hers, whereas those who are mature and aware are made only the more contemptuous.
Excerpt From: Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh. “The Psychology of Sufism (Del wa Nafs).”