I have written on the subject of beauty in the past, however, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the topic. My last blog on this subject talked about how some cultures define and look at beauty. I also made a list of what I, personally, find beautiful. It's an interesting read (if I do say so myself! :) ). You can check it out at www.raindropsmakeaflood.com.
This time I want to go in a different direction. It has recently come to my attention that one of my nieces is reading my blog.While I do not put inappropriate or questionable things in my blogs, it reminded me, as a teacher, that I have a responsibility to her, as well as the other young people, who are my students, to foster a positive and healthy environment for them in class and with my actions. I have a responsibility as a parent and as a teacher to make sure what I put out there, whether it's my personal opinions or other information, is accurate, helpful, positive AND encouraging. This is a responsibility I hold for my students, my daughter, my family members (who read this! Increase the font size, Mom!), friends and parents/friends of my students and family. I take this seriously.
So, a few weeks back one of the organizations I teach for had a staff meeting. The guest speaker was a motivational speaker. At first I just rolled my eyes...thinking, ughhh, just another person who really has no idea what we do here and wants us to just be "positive all the time and think of everything as a learning experience." Yadda yadda yadda!!!!!! I'm not going to say I was wrong. However, I DID come away with a couple of useful tips.
She said that a human being typically has 50,000 thoughts PER DAY! Yup. And guess what else? 80% of them are negative thoughts. 80% ARE NEGATIVE. To me that's staggering! I thought she cannot possibly be right. I mean seriously? How do you even measure that? Then I promptly forgot about it. I know, right?
The other day, at the end of the day, I was looking in the mirror trying to decide whether or not to put my unruly, crazy frustrating hair into a scrunchy for the night or just take my chances of looking like Einstein in the morning. And then I thought, for the 2,565,364th time how awful my hair is and why on earth did I have to get the crappy hair gene!!!!!!!!??!! That lead to why was I not standing in the line for the "skinny" gene, too? Why do I have the "short" gene? Why on earth did I end up without the darned TALL and THIN gene?????? Why?Why?Why?Why?Why? While I'm at it why are my lips too thin? Why don't I have a butt but I manage to have an ample stomach??
And then I stopped.
And I thought, darn! I think like this a lot. And if I think like this, how many other people are constantly judging themselves like this? How many people-men, women,young girls, young boys-judge themselves so harshly because of the way they look? Thinking of myself again, I realized I spend an enormous amount of time feeling less than or not up to par or just plain ugly because of some the physical features I have. And I am not the only one who does that. All of you do that. You know you do. What is that? And how did this terrible focus on physical beauty begin and take such a strong hold in our world? I know we have all been part of the discussion on how inner beauty is what counts the most etc... I practically PREACH that. But when it all comes down to it, physical beauty STILL takes precedence in our society. I don't like that. I don't like that at all. And as much as I try to change that way of thinking, I find myself doing exactly what I tell others NOT to do- judge myself based on my physical attributes.
It's so very sad. Everybody has so much to offer in this world. We need to stop this madness that your beauty is determined by your hair color, weight, skin color/condition or any other physical characteristic. But how can we do this when we are constantly bombarded by the media's determination of what is beauitful? How can we do this when little girls are taught that you cannot be skinny enough, that you are beautiful only if you are thin? Or little boys believe that to be handsome means you must have a 6-pack stomach and have perfect muscle tone all over your body? I have heard everything from "gee, that little girl is chubby" to "wow does that mother feed her child?" to "Oh, I feel sorry for those parents. There's no muscle on that little boy". I've even heard people comment on the supposed orientation of a boy who was thin and had a slight build!!! I mean, come on!!!!
I would be lying to say I didn't think beauty had anything to do with physical appearances. It does. But not to the extent that it should. I think a person can be healthy and attractive without being a supermodel. I also happen to think that a person's "attractiveness" goes up exponentially when I see their inner beauty. When I see a good heart or a genuinely "good" person, it just makes their outer shell (Physical appearance) that much more appealing. And you know what? EVERYONE has inner beauty somewhere. Some people it's harder to see than others...but it's there.
I think we should make a serious effort in the direction of promoting Beauty. We need to talk to our children about what Beauty really is. We need to reinforce that thinking with our own actions. Then we need to take it a step further and start practicing the Art of Beauty in our own lives. Call people out for their inappropriate emphasis on a persons physical appearance. Making a point of not judging someone on their looks but on their actions. "Actions speak louder than words" ? Absolutely. One of my top 10 Rules to Live By(RTLB).
But you know what?
Actions speak louder than looks, too. I think I'll make that RTLB #11.
Thanks for reading!!!! As always, Stay Healthy, Eat Well and Be Happy!