How do I look? Do I look fat? Are my legs too skinny? Is my hair okay? Do you notice my wrinkles, my dark circles, my veins, and on and on — ? An obsession over looks will eventually send one’s self-image to a place that is not a “thing of beauty.” It can become entangled in a quagmire of insecurity, superficiality and continual dissatisfaction. Is striving for outer perfection, perhaps, an imperfection in itself?
Rejuvenate, increase, decrease, improve, reduce—all words that pique the interest of a society run amuck with the obsession over looks. We are inundated by the outer and forget that there is a starving inner self beckoning to be nourished, as well.
I have a friend who is one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known'”inside and out. She was known for her gorgeous skin and hair. She was also known for having a great wit accompanied by an infectious laugh. She, however, became seriously ill with a chronic disease that would eventually rob her of her outer beauty. She was on heavy medication that left her puffy and swollen. Her hair lost its shine and health. Her beautiful skin became splotchy. I never heard her complain about the loss of her outer beauty. She continued to make us laugh, as we watched in admiration of her acceptance and good nature about her seemingly dire situation. We learned a far greater lesson from her incredible attitude. It was her inner shine that was far superior and more appealing. She was one of those truly exceptional people who can rise about the “skin deep” and cultivate the inner depth. It’s a beauty that lurks beneath the surface in all of us.
George Carlin said, “Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” It would be far more fulfilling and beautiful to have your breath taken away by a beautiful sunset or a sweet hug from a child than by a wrinkle-less face or a perfect make-up job and hair-do.
Life should not be about who will notice and accept us, but about being aware of how our actions and words make others feel. There is no amount of botox that can help a hurting heart because of words said out of shallowness and inconsideration.
“How am I looking to you today?” should, perhaps, be replaced by, “How am I making you feel today?” Audrey Hepburn had a natural outside beauty that most men would say took their breath away. However, she not only had the outer beauty, but an even more glowing inner beauty that would make one gasp, as well. She was once asked to share her beauty tips. It’s all one needs to know for living a satisfying life free from the self-imposed pressure of outer beauty.
These are Audrey’s elegant all-encompassing words…and all we need to know about the value of inner beauty:
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.