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We Don’t Need to “Fix” Our Appearance to Be Beautiful

Happy Older Woman

“Kindness and awareness work together. Through awareness we understand the underlying beauty of everything and every being.” ~Amit Ray

We were in Yorkshire—my brother, sister, and I—driving along narrow, windy roads. Sometimes we would come up a steep incline and be unable to see the rest of the road until we got to the crest. It was a little bit scary.

It could have been worse, but that night it was a full moon and even though it was almost midnight, there was a great deal of light in the darkness. We were not normally out that late but had been to an evening theater show in Harrogate, which was about an hour and a half drive from where we were staying.

My sister and I were playing CDs and talking to keep my brother awake, although between the bright moonlight and the difficulty of the route, I imagine sleep was the last thing on his mind! Possibly it was just knowing he was uncomfortable with that type of driving that was really motivating us to stay awake ourselves.

We were chatting about the day’s events and planning what we would do for the rest of the week. Then, as we slowed down and came round a bend, right in front of us was the shell of an old abbey. We appeared to be in the middle of nowhere, so we were truly surprised by the fact that it was there.

Gazing at it for just a few moments, the three of us were awed by the underlying beauty in the remnants of the ancient building.

Eventually we made it home, after midnight. All of us exhausted, but happy to be finding our way to our respective beds. As I lay there in the dark, I couldn’t help thinking how magical the ruins of that old abbey had seemed.

Maybe it was the moonlight shining through what was left of the priory windows, or the sheer height of the building. Or perhaps it was the unexpectedness of encountering it so far away from a town or village.

Whatever it was, as I fell asleep I remained enchanted with the picture in my mind—the image of that dilapidated abbey, which still retained so much of its original majesty and beauty.

In the morning as I meditated alone in my room, I started thinking about perfection, about beauty, and the obsession that seems prevalent in our culture today.

I wondered why so many people go to such extraordinary lengths to stay looking young, to reject any signs of aging, and to “fix” those aspects of themselves that do not conform to what is considered beautiful.  

I thought about the magnificence of the abbey—that despite the deterioration, the building was still exquisite. I recalled that there in the moonlight, it was easy to see the graceful lines, the lovely arches, the grandness of what it had once been. Yes, the stained glass windows I imagine it once had were long gone, but for me it did not need to be perfect; its loveliness still touched my heart.

How much more true must this be for those we know, care about, and love? Does anyone really need to hold on to what time and loving has altered? Do wrinkles need to be removed, teeth whitened, or bodies lifted and tucked?

Surely the beauty of who we are does not diminish in the eyes of those around us, because we look a little, or even a lot older?

It’s not that I am against anything anyone does. I don’t feel it is wrong to try and improve your looks. It is more that I believe it is not necessary.

Through awareness, I have learned that everything and everyone has an underlying beauty.

For a long time I was very focused on beauty. I only saw beauty on the outside, was critical and judgmental. I used the word ugly. But with spiritual awareness, I now look at things and people differently. I have become kinder—more willing to observe from my heart.

I know that true beauty does not lie in perfection, or in only looking as young as possible. I have no desire to hold onto or create an illusion of youth. I am happy to accept my face, my body the way it is, knowing this is a natural part of the experience of living.

Here in my heart is the sum of the learning I have gained and the wisdom I have acquired, from all I have gone through. Here in my heart is the peace that has come from knowing myself, from loving myself. Here too, is the love I hold—the memories I have—for all the gentle souls I have known, who touched my life in the most beautiful of ways.

These days, what I see in those I know and love are not flaws or signs of aging, but the beauty that shines through—the result of tears we have cried, smiles we have shared, and the love that binds us together.

Though my eyes may take in what time or illness has altered, my heart looks with loving kindness at the person before me. And, noticing only what has always been there—a loving, caring, supportive, accepting being—my soul acknowledges and marvels at the underlying beauty of the person I see.

Happy mature woman image via Shutterstock

About Marilyn Briant-Rockmore

Marilyn Briant is an author who promotes positive thinking and self-awareness through her writing. Her children's book, The Leopard and the Mouse published in 2011, was recently followed by, Arms Out…Kiano Sees the World, published in August 2015. Marilyn is now working on a book which shares her experiences and insight gained thus far, along her amazing spiritual journey.

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  • Brian

    I agree with the idea that a person’s beauty is not tied to how they look, and is rather a personal construct on the inside. However, on a dating website, things are almost inherently about looks. I haven’t had a girlfriend in a long time, but often don’t get a second thought when I email a woman. I don’t think my profile is the problem: I think it’s caring and great, and not overwhelming. I really do think it’s about my not looking like some sort of prescribed notion of society beauty. I am overweight and have long hair. But I have a lot of empathy and hugs to give.

    To be fair, I judge others on that site by looks as well. I’m quite judgmental in general, though my being aware of that means that the judgments stay in my head instead of being verbalized. However, if this is the case, maybe online dating isn’t for me.

    *shrug* Just some thoughts.

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  • Thanks for this.

    There’s a line in a song by Judie Tzuke, something like:

    “Every line on my face
    Was written by my love for you”.

    So many people go from looking 10 years younger than their age, to looking their age in mid-life. Congratulations on developing a secure sense of your own worth, not dependent on your appearance. If only young people could develop that same inner security, how much more they would enjoy life, and how much more attractive they would become to others.

    Warren Buffett tells the story of an 80-year-old man who always had an attractive woman on his arm.

    “How do you do that?” asked his friends.

    “I tell them I’m 90”, he replied. : )

  • Miya Ramzan Khan

    Love is a blessing from God , in fact no one is perfect except the creator,so it is all being faithful to one another. Thanks for sharing this.

  • We are perfectly imperfect!

  • Marilyn

    That is the truth Lucy!

  • Marilyn

    Love it!

  • Marilyn

    Being non-judgmental has taken a long while for me, but it has brought me so much more peace…It’s good to know that you are able to recognize and stop yourself from saying what you think.

  • LaTrice Dowe

    I know I’m a beautiful person, inside and out. Despite the objections, I could careless what others have to say about my looks. Besides, I’m NOT insecure!

    Thank you, Marilyn for sharing your story.

  • Carry

    The older I get the less of a damn I give about what other people think of how I look.

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