I’m closer to being in my 60’s. Every day I get closer. I have a few more years to go, but I’m closer to 60 than 50. As I’ve aged (not even sure what this means), I’ve had to come to grips with (really?) the fact that youth, and all that it means, has left the building.
Come to grips with. Just gotta let that sink in for a moment. Like it’s been some sort of struggle. Why is that? Is it because, in this Western society of ours, we value youth over experience? Still? Yes, still. Maybe it’s because we put so much value on the potential that youth holds. Our choices seem so much more vast when we are younger and have not made quite as many mistakes (yet).
Life does not have to be like that. No matter how many trips around the sun you’ve taken, every day you wake up is a new day to make different choices, including whether to see your beauty. Until the day you die. Nobody is keeping you in a box. Nobody, except you. You are the only one telling yourself that your choices are more limited now that you are older. Your ability to make choices will remain with you as long as you are cognitively able to make them. Choices are no longer there, but, if you expand your imagination a bit, you’ll see that, perhaps, because of your experience, you have more choices now than you did when you were younger. But your beauty? Your beauty will last forever. When and how were you directed to stop seeing your beauty?
Resist the Bombardment
We have all been subjected to some degree by the media determining what is beauty and, by the process of elimination, what is not. We have also been conditioned to expect instant gratification. We have to fight that force. It’s not real. It’s made up and not true. Withstand the urge to limit your ability to see based on what media is telling you and choose to open your mind to see beauty for what it truly is.
Eyes to See
The bullies. The criticizers. The trolls. They cannot see beauty. You, when you’re beating up on yourself or others, criticizing yourself or others, choosing to say something mean online. Those are times that you are not seeing your own beauty. It is not that beauty does not exist. Beauty is the same as choice. It exists and will continue to exist, with our without you. Beauty, like love, is everywhere. In those moments we cannot see it, it’s still there. We just have not chosen to see it.
A Redefined Definition
I’m not the same kind of beautiful as I was in my 20’s. Or 30’s even, before the life lessons began to eat away at me. Divorce. Heartache. Heartbreak. Depression. Loss. Grief. Nobody gets out of here without some or all of these things. These hard, very hard, times, can eat away at you. And it’s hard, alright. It is Life Itself, hardening you off. Making you stronger, more resilient. And oh, I get how much we resist these lessons. Such a lame word for something so powerful, really, but I’ll use it for lack of a better word. The lessons make you MORE beautiful. And you have to be willing to see your beauty when you get through it. Actually, it would be helpful if you could keep seeing your beauty while you’re going through the lesson. I am not the same beautiful as I was, but believe I am MORE beautiful. My depth, well earned, has beautified me.
I see my privilege of being a young, white, lower-middle class, attractive female. Yes, even lower-middle class is a privilege. I was esthetically beautiful in my younger days. But I was also rather empty, spiritually. I could not stand up for myself. I could not carry on any sort of interesting conversation. There was no substance to me in my youth. I had no real interests. But I was cute. I’ve always been cute. Where did it get me? What good did cute really do? Didn’t matter, is where it got me. It got me what it got anyone. Life experiences. This whole thing about privilege is a bit of a loaded subject. I want to stress that I was born into a level of privilege, this shiny apple still fell hard from the tree and had to deal with some hard, hard ground. My life has been both with and without privilege, which I’ll discuss with the Great Mother Herself, later.
I find myself now, approaching my 60s, no longer having days of low self esteem. Low self esteem is just gone. It’s been worked out of my system. I see myself for the beautiful soul that I am. I have depth. I have built character. Or, shall I say, life has build depth and character within me. I have interesting things to say. I’m pretty funny, if you get to know me. I did not make myself deeper or fuller of character. There is no way I would have consciously picked the way my life turned out. The lessons. The experiences. There were really hard times. I hope they are behind me, but I know that I can manage whatever comes my way, because those very same hard times made me who and what I am today.
I’d liken my life, up to this point, to having been put through a blender. Each trial, each lesson, each major situation I’ve had to face, felt like my whole being was being shredded. All that I knew about myself was being stripped away. The essence of my self remained. Like a honkin’ big smoothie in a blender. All the ingredients, masticated, blended, voila, beautiful, healthy drink in the end. All the original ingredients are there still. you just can’t see them in the form you are used to seeing them. It’s the same with elements of beauty. You can try to look harder to see the beauty in yourself and others, or you can just have faith and know it’s there.
Seeing Beauty in Others
What really goes through your mind when you see a homeless person, someone living close to the street? Does a thought of judgement arise? What about seeing a person struggling with their physical body, or even in a body that is not what we are conditioned to believe is a beautiful body? Allow the judgement to arise, if it’s there, by all means. But then invite yourself to open up to seeing a different definition of beauty. Look beyond the physical. It’s even harder to see beauty when the person themselves does not see it, cannot see it, because their image of themselves is so full of self-loathing. We have a tendency to jump on the thought bandwagon and agree with their perception of themselves. Resist the urge to do this. Those who cannot see their own beauty need those of us who can to see it even more. To recognize their beauty and speak to that beauty, that love that is within, always.
Seeing Beauty in Yourself
I have come full circle. I see my beauty now. I’ve done a ton of internal work. Hard, inner work. I am nothing like I used to be, and I consider this a blessing. If you cannot see my beauty, that’s okay. I don’t need you to see it to know it is there. I see your beauty, too. I know it is there, it has always been there, and no matter how much you may loathe yourself now, or feel the need to strike out verbally or spiritually (same thing) towards others who do not look the way you think beauty ought to look. Beauty will always be there, waiting for you to return to yourself.
I hope you’ll choose to have a beautiful, and beauty-filled, day, my friend. I know I will. See the world how you wish it to be. See the beauty in those who wish you to see it otherwise. Resist believing in an antiquated definition of beauty. And, truly, the beauty you see in yourself will become reflected in your external world.