Friday, February 10, 2006

Beauty or the Beast?

So here we have it; I have several colours including blue and orange/red but I think I like my brown ones best. I did the beading on this one myself (*preens*).

The title is not so much for the picture, I'm getting to it. Several of the message boards I'm on (ok, I lied, just two, but anyway) have had the subject of beautiful come up in the last couple days which has led me to want to do a little blurb about it.

So, beauty. Such an elusive goal, isn't it? We all aspire to be beautiful according to some guage of it, whether by our own standards or someone else's or our societies or whatnot. But what, you might ask, is the point?

reader: What's your point?!?

I'm glad you asked!

I'll be ranting on two levels about beauty. The first is, why is it so bloody hard to take a freakin complement when someone says 'you're beautiful'?!? Don't get me wrong, I'm not leveling that accusation at anyone except myself and the rest of the female world.

How often do you see this situation: Someone calls a girl beautiful and she blushes, looks away and says "no I'm not." How often do you *do* that yourself? Why on earth can't we just smile and say "thank you!"???

Well, I have a theory on that. My theory is: it is painful. Yeah, that might sound stupid and backwards and such but I've found it's much more painful to be called beautiful than to be called ugly. Why? Because it almost feels like a cruel joke or something. Something we sort of wish we could be but 'know' we never can be, so why do people say we are when we know we're not but certainly wish we were? It's like a vicious internal dialogue telling us how unworthy of the compliment we are and yet we wish we *were* worthy.

So that gets us all riled up inside and feeling worse than we did before someone was nice enough to tell us they think we are beautiful. WTF?

While we may never outright think or even tell our friend we think they're lying, the truth is, we do! We don't think they really mean it, they're just being nice.. or even if they do mean it, it means they're just blinded by friendship and not really objective.

I tell ya, our friends are more objective than we are to ourselves, it would do us good to listen to them a bit more often. The old saying still rings true, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Even if we can't see it in ourselves, to our friends we are indeed beautiful and they will see us that way no matter how much we fuss and hem and haw and kick the dirt and blush and try to shrug off the compliment. They will continue to see us as beautiful and we really should allow them to think that if they want.

We don't argue with them over what the best flavour of ice cream is because we understand that people simply have different tastes and different preferences.. so why do we try to tell them they aren't allowed that same freedom to like our looks?

I dunno either.

Beauty is one of those attributes we have partial control over. We can't change our height, but we can make it look different with the types of shoes we wear. We can't change our facial features, but we can alter our appearance with makeup. We can cut our hair or grow it long, we can gain or lose weight, we can do quite a lot to our appearance, but none of that changes, ultimately *who we are inside*.

Which brings me to level two on my rant: what the heck is this 'beauty' thing anyway?

Well, I've found that beauty, as love, is a very misused and misapplied word. Not always, but often enough. First, my definition of beauty; Beauty is a value placed on appearance. That's it. Nothing more or less.

So that means that beauty is, despite what people like to think, utterly disconnected from things such as intelligence, value, worth, compassion, love, success, etc. Beauty is also entirely subjective. No two people will see the same thing in exactly the same terms of beauty. The value we place on appearance changes from person to person (that is, the person seeing the thing)

Now, to tie the two rants together, when your friend calls you beautiful, she is saying she both values your appearance/presence but I think they also mean "you are valuable to me."

That is what I mean by beauty being misapplied. I'm not saying that we don't really find our friends beautiful, but we don't value their friendship because of their beauty, though often we value their beauty because they are our friend.

I've found that if a person's personality is ugly, I don't find their appearance nearly as pleasing either, no matter how physically 'attractive' they may be. Conversely, a person who would not be considered typically 'beautiful' can become amazingly so if they have a beautiful soul.

So really... if someone tells you "You're beautiful", take it as an expression of the value your friend sees in you, the enjoyment of your presence (even if just in picture form) and a general acceptance of who you are.

Instead of shuffling your feet and denying it, just say "thank you." Before long, I bet it won't be so hard to take anymore.


Anonymous ro-ro said...

You know're glowing much brighter recently.

10:51 AM  
Blogger elengil said...


Thank you darling. I've made wonderful progress.. I've felt better this last year than I have in my entire life!


11:44 AM  
Anonymous Imp said...

It has been wonderful watching you blossom. :)

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Cemmie said...

Wish I had read this earlier... good stuff! :D

8:19 AM  

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