By: Beatriz Craven, Guest Blogger
"You are beautiful!" we remind one another. We talk so much about this thing called beauty, but it's a different kind of beauty that we're trying to get at. Not the type that we find in the pages of a glossy magazine, but the kind that is much more special and shines from an internal place. These are very different kinds of beauty and yet the terms we use to describe these constructs are the same. I recently came across this video that demonstrates how a person can come to light when we help cultivate just the kind of beauty I'm talking about. Take a look:
Now I want to say that typical human reaction after watching this video would be one of empathy. Of heart strings that sing chords of love. This veteran didn't just get fabulous highlights in his weathered hair (talk about a good sport). He seemed to have experienced something much more profound. I would venture a guess that when he looked in that mirror he saw someone that looked like they were worth something. With a drop of the jaw that reflection seemed to shake him in a powerful way as it challenged beliefs he may have held about himself (and beliefs that others may have held about him). What a gift to show someone their own beauty, their worth, and their value as a fellow human being in this world. It's such an incredible thing to me. By the same token I wonder about the harm we can cause to one another when we treat each other as less than. How many times might we drive by similar looking men on the street? We might reduce them to nothing more than a failure of will while we lock our doors and roll up our windows.
It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon that occurs when we lose sight of our individual power and the incredible difference we are capable of making. The more separation we feel from one another, the less personal responsibility we experience for others. I have this morbid curiosity when I read people's comments on social forums. What kind of poison and toxicity might be said? I become awestruck by the human capacity to throw words like daggers at one another without so much as a second thought. Social media adds an additional element of disconnect between ourselves and the other. Words flow so easily on the keyboard without much regard to their effects. When Kim Kardashian is cut with words of judgment about her weight I hurt for her. If someone puts themselves out there does that give us the right to tear them down? And if we do have that right, should we? If I become another voice chiming in on Miley’s sexual expression, am I perpetuating this cycle of placing expectations on women to be sexy if they want to be of value? Only to rip at her when she does? The distance between me and them is both enormous and incredibly close. These are issues that women experience. While on a very different scale (thank goodness), I too have experienced pressure to act or look a certain way if I want to be seen or heard as a female. I wonder, if we can bring awareness to a different way of finding a sense of beauty and value in ourselves, would that not be more productive?
Our capacity to cultivate true beauty is an incredible and powerful thing. Seeing someone’s beauty come to light can take our breath away and move us to tears. Our capacity to judge and destroy is frightening. What are we going to do with this power we hold as individuals? Is beauty something we are actively bringing about in ourselves and others? Are we helping our neighbor see their worth? Or are we too busy tearing each other down in judgment?
Beatriz Craven is desperately close to fulfilling her dream of becoming a psychologist with the completion of her PhD. She is an avid life enthusiast, loving wife, and movie fanatic.
Featured image via inluvwithcrafts.blogspot.com