I am often underestimated because of the way I look.
People assume my pleasant demeanor as a sign of my weakness and gullibility, and my youthful appearance as a sign of my inexperience and immaturity. When people get to know me they are often surprised at how determined and ruthless I can be and how much more mature and wise I am than how I look.
Appearances by their very nature are deceiving and by looking only on the outside you will set yourself up for failure because you will underestimate others constantly, and they, in turn, will get the upper hand on you. Instead of judging a book by its cover, then, always hold back your assessment of others until their actions reveal to you who they really are.
Why Beauty Is In “The Actions Of The Beheld”
What if beauty is not what we always thought it was? What if beauty is not something we can look at at first glance, but something that we experience when we have known someone for a very long time? What if beauty is not on the outside, nor on the inside, but somewhere in between?
I have trouble with judgements based upon outward beauty and I feel like the following must be said:
To each and every one of you: you have a perfect face and a perfect body. Please don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise, and please don’t change your appearance unless you yourself truly want to because it will help you better express who you are on the inside. Let’s refrain from mentioning people’s appearance in a negative way, it’s not nice, its mean, and it scars. It sends the message that we are not enough as we are, that we are lacking, and that there is a part of us that cannot be fully loved until it is perfect. This is the opposite of unconditional love. There’s a reason why some folks change their entire appearance to gain love and approval from others, it is because when they are being criticized for the way they look, love is being withheld from them. That is not their problem, that is the problem of a society that has yet to learn the values of kindness and that kindness actually isn’t an empty nicety we practice, it is an extension of our deep unconditional love for each other, no matter who we are and no matter how we look on the outside.
That being said, I do believe that there is such a thing as beauty, and that there are people who are beautiful and those who are not beautiful–but this is only if the term “beauty” is given a far deeper and far more complex definition than just someone’s physical appearance.
I would like to posit a new definition of beauty: beauty is what we do with who we are in direct relation to how we are being perceived by others.
To put it another way: beauty is how we act on behalf of our true selves in resistance to the way others would like us to act (or be).
Beauty is not in “the eye of the beholder”–beauty is in “the actions of the beheld.”
When I have witnessed true beauty it is in the moments when someone has the courage to be themselves even though others oppose that truth.
I have fallen in love with people who have brazenly followed their heart, acted upon it, and, in the process, have gone against what others wanted them to do (or be).
In fact, no individual on earth can help but fall deeply in love with true beauty, because true beauty represents a soul essence that is far more extravagant and supreme than any physical reality can manifest. However, physical reality is needed to provide a bridge in between this essence and its physical representation. Therefore, true beauty is the act of allowing this essence to come into full force through our physical actions.
On the other hand, superficial or physical beauty can grant you a temporary “infatuation buzz” that feels at first like it’s true love, but, really, it’s only a brief “sugar high” of emotion that eventually wears off and becomes dull and corrosive.
Society today is obsessed with superficial beauty and constantly sends the message that you are not beautiful because you do not look “this way” or “that way” or “own this piece of attire” or “have that sense of style.”
But such coded messaging is ineffectual if you understand that true beauty is an active essence, not a frozen appearance.
True beauty is a delightful blend of authenticity, action, and bravery.
We are beautiful when we are who we are, when we act like who we are, and when we have the courage to be who we are in the face of others who do not want us to be who we are.
You Are Beautiful
You are beautiful.
You lack beauty only when you lose sight of who you are. You lack beauty only when you act like someone else. You lack beauty only when you pretend to be who they want you to be–you lack beauty when you become “the beauty” they want to behold.
You regain your beauty when you remember who you are. You regain your beauty when you act like yourself again. You regain your beauty when you act like yourself even though others want you to act (or be) like someone else.
You see, true beauty cannot be taken from you, nor can it be bestowed up on you: only you can bestow it upon yourself, and only you can take it way from yourself.
Your true beauty belongs to you and it is only you who chooses whether to express it or repress it, depending on the time of the day and how it is you feel. But no matter what, no one else can do that for you.
That is why you are still beautiful when they exclude you. That is why you are still beautiful when they reject you. That is why you are still beautiful when they say you are not perfect. You are still beautiful when they say you are fat. You are still beautiful when they say you are not good enough. You are still beautiful when they say you need some work. You are still beautiful when they say you are old, and you are still beautiful when they say you are ugly.
You are still beautiful because your beauty is not in their eyes, it is in your actions.
I dare you to be yourself and to act like yourself (despite what others say) and NOT feel incredibly beautiful.
I dare you to not fall in love with someone who courageously acts like themselves in spite of external resistance; I dare you to not be enamored with the sheer beauty of a man or woman living out the fullest expression of themselves against all the odds.
This is true beauty. This is true art. This is truth. Period.
True beauty is striking. True beauty is poetry. True beauty is worthy of achieving.
You are beautiful. Know that your beauty does not lie on the surface, nor beneath the surface, but somewhere in the play of the space in between.
much beautiful love,
Today’s Courage Exercise
Let yourself be beautiful.
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