The older I get, the more evident it becomes (to me) that my physiology is changing. Those physical aspects of who I am seem to be trying to outpace my actual chronological age.
I am 52 years old. By society’s standards, I am now classified as middle-aged. I guess the reasoning is that the base reference point for that determination is 100 years and I have surpassed the half-century mark. Symptoms of grey hair, wrinkles, and those alien-induced handlebars of love, all seem bent on displacing our once-treasured temples of health and vitality.
Society has the uncanny ability to foster unrealistic interpretations of value as it pertains to our understanding of our self worth. If our culture says you look good by fitting certain physical parameters, then we often blithely follow along with that reasoning. Why is a thing or a person classified as beautiful or valuable? Or not?
Some things are more understandable than others. For example, a diamond is quantified as having innate value because it is rare; takes a long time under immense geological pressure to be formed; is supremely hard and when cut to display its facets, glitters in a fashion that grabs our attention like a Mocking bird is attracted to a sparkly object.
When applied to women, at least in North America and most of Europe, beauty seems to be defined by the economics of the respective cultures. If a woman is plain in appearance (as defined by the current cultural mores), then her attraction quotient is determined to be sub-par. To be accepted, she has to subscribe to the commercial juggernaut of commodities of clothing, jewellery, dieting, make-up etc., which become the driving force behind defining her self-worth. Men are no different. If you do not have the physique of Adonis, replete with abs sculpted enough to chop raw carrots, and jaws so square you could use them to level a bookshelf, then you need not come out to play.
None of the above ofcourse addresses inner beauty or our true value as individuals. Our lives always seem to be a series of Before and After Shots. When we were young and before puberty and the vagaries of adolescence assaulted our innocence, we for the most part, were not concerned with how we looked. Entering adulthood, it became an oppressive and exhausting requirement just to function.
There is a book written by Daniel S. Hammermesh – Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful. The author postulates how the quest for bodily perfection could be dangerous. While I have not read the book, I have seen scenarios that confirm the book’s proposed thesis. Just look at Hollywood as an example. The predominant allure of film has from the outset of that industry been seeded with the culturally attractive played by numerous actors through the years. Times are changing though, and we have come a long way from profiling parts played by the “not so beautiful“, or the villain. But decide for yourselves and then determine if that holds true.
What exactly do you see when you look in the mirror? What you are told to see, or what you choose to see? For my female friends, when the mirror throws back at you, the makeup-free visage, is your heart dissatisfied with what is looking back at you? Men, as you stand and look at your own reflections, do you unconsciously attempt to flatten your profile by wrestling with long unused stomach muscles?
Hey, far be it for me to judge; I am just as guilty and still have a lot of preconceived notions about myself and others to eradicate. I am not sure what avenues will have to be taken to arrest our misplaced notions of value and worth, but overused cliches such as “Beauty is in The Eyes of The Beholder”, or “Beauty is only Skin Deep”, I feel have been deceiving us for a long time.
Bob Marley’s Redemption Song contains these lines – ..”Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.”
Certainly seems to provide an excellent starting point as we look to changing our attitudes about ourselves and others. We at times forget that we are innately empowered to transform our thinking.
Phillipians 4:8 – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable‚Äîif anything is excellent or praiseworthy‚Äîthink about such things.
Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. His good, pleasing and perfect will.
All images sourced from Google Image & IMDB