Ugly people exist, this is a simple fact that most people acknowledge mentally but never state except cruelly. But there is something magical and powerful about walking past a profoundly ugly person, making eye contact and sharing a smile. It’s almost an expression of valor, a proverbial middle finger to the world, that declares their rejection of the monstrosity that is the conception of beauty in relation to worth.
That introduction made some people uncomfortable; after all it’s politically incorrect to call people ugly. Everyone is beautiful. Beauty is within. Unfortunately, this is all to steal a phrase from the British “barmy”, or crazy talk. Beauty is a social construct that is very much culturally defined. It changes with time and location and is exclusive, meaning that very few people are actually a match for the cultural ideal for beauty. Like any other means of classification; beauty falls on a bell curve, with very few perfect specimen and very few hideous people. Most people would fall somewhere in the middle.
So why is it that we insist that everyone is beautiful? Everything seems oriented towards beauty, from the multi-billion dollar makeup industry to the advertisement for food. We have commodified beauty, going so far as to have super models modeling cars, electronics and even medicine. How did beauty, a characteristic like intelligence and tendency to funny, so far outstrip its counterparts in importance? Because it is unarguably obvious that in our culture beauty and worth have become synonymous.
Therein lies the problem, somewhere along the lines we have confused beauty and worth and we have been made to believe that they are the same. This terrifying concept is being pushed at us through every possible medium, from the television shows we watch to to the books we read with beautiful protagonists and ugly antagonists to even the job market that prefers beautiful people to less attractive people, we have become consumed with beauty. It has so deeply permeated our psyche that research has proven that by virtue of being attractive people are more likely to be successful in life. As a result, people are forced to partake in harmful rituals and destructive habits in order to achieve some ideal beauty that realistically is never attainable.
I want to simply say this. Stop. It’s not going to be easy. Honestly, I am as much a victim as anyone else, but we need to break the cycle. Beauty does not determine worth. It is OK to be not be a perfect 10. You may not be the most beautiful person in the world but you are worthy. You are a unique person and you add value to the world simply by existing. Stop trying to determine your worth with make up, diet pills and harmful practices and start defining your existence by the good you do and by the smiles you create by existing.
I want to add a disclaimer. I am not stating that we stop taking care of our bodies because beauty doesn’t matter. I do believe we should take care of our bodies simply for the health factor. My point is that beauty is not the only characteristic we should be focused on. Work out your mind and cut your excessive spending. Make up your relationships and paint smiles on peoples faces. Binge on education and discard bad habits. Learn the value of introspection and discover that this body we so treasure is only the a small part of who you are.
Worth is not something that you can buy or lose. You were born worthy and relevant and perfect and you will die the same. Let’s break the cycle of beauty and embrace our ugly selves with the knowledge that one characteristic does not a whole person make.