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  • When we are very concerned about certain of our physical features - a nose that is stubbornly

  • a bit too large, eyes that are slightly too far apart, hair that is not as lustrous as

  • it should be - we miss an overall point about our relationship to our appearance: how beautiful

  • we feel has nothing to do with the objective structure of our face or body; it isn't

  • what we look like that counts. It's how we feel inside. Our self-assessments are in

  • the end solely based on our relative degrees of self-love and self-contempt.

  • There are people of ideal proportions and exceptional beauty who cannot bear what they

  • see in the mirror and others who can contemplate a less than svelte stomach or a no longer

  • so supple kind of skin with indifference and defiant good humour. And at a tragic extreme,

  • there are heart-breakingly fine-looking people who starve themselves to ill-health and eventually

  • die out of a certainty, immune to every logical argument, of their own unsightliness.

  • We are surrounded by industries that seek to help us to improve how we look: dieticians

  • who are on hand to reduce our waistlines, aerobic teachers who offer to tone us, beauticians

  • who will equip us with foundation and mascara. But however well meaning their efforts, they

  • fail completely to grasp the sources of a healthy regard for one's own appearance.

  • The issue is not whether we look extraordinary today, but whether or not we were once upon

  • a time, when we were small and defenceless before the judgements of those who cared for

  • us, sufficiently loved for our essence. This will decide whether our appearance can later

  • on be a subject of negligible concern to us or not. The truly blessed among us are not

  • those with perfect symmetry; they are those whose past affords them the luxury not to

  • give too much of a damn whatever the mirror happens to say.

  • The way to help someone feel beautiful is not to compliment them on their looks, it

  • is to take an interest in and delight in their psychological essence. We know that the more

  • comfortable we feel around someone, the less effort we will make about how we appear and

  • conversely, the more anxious we are about the judgement of others, the more our reflection

  • has the power to horrify us. The issue is never that of our appearance, it is about

  • our sense of our vulnerability to humiliation.

  • When we meet people who are perpetually sick with worry that they are not attractive enough,

  • we should not rush in with physical compliments; this is only to foster and unwittingly reward

  • an aggravating criterion of judgement. We should learn to spot the wound in their early

  • relationships that have made it so hard for them to trust that they could matter to others

  • in their basic state and that therefore perpetually evokes in them an unflattering self-image.

  • They are not 'ugly' per se, they were - when it mattered - left painfully unloved

  • and ignored to an extent that they are liable never to have recognised or mourned adequately;

  • their arrival in the world did not delight a few people as it should have done, and they

  • therefore need compassion, sympathy and emotional validation far more than they will ever require

  • the tools of outward beautification.

  • Feeling ugly stems from a deficit of love, never of beauty.

When we are very concerned about certain of our physical features - a nose that is stubbornly

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B1 appearance delight judgement ugly essence mirror

How to Look Beautiful

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    Summer posted on 2021/11/03
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