Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on October 17th, 2012

Greetings all who venture to read this blog! Of course I say this with humor and humility. I hope you are all treating yourselves well.

Keeping in line with the energy of the Fall, it moves me to speak about vanity and how is alters our experience. People that are stuck or caught in the Metal element and the Fall struggle with their value system. This can show as one person putting another up on a pedestal as they feel smaller and inferior in their presence. On the other hand, another person out of balance in this energy may not find anything of value, seeing the whole world as tarnished. There are of course several combinations and variations of both, all having to do with over or undervaluing oneself, others and life experiences.

Vanity is defined in the following ways:

1 excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements : it flattered his vanity to think I was in love with him | the personal vanities and ambitions of politicians. See notes at egotism, pride . [as adj. ] denoting a person or company that publishes works at the author’s expense : a vanity press.

2 the quality of being worthless or futile : the vanity of human wishes.

3 a dressing table. A bathroom unit consisting of a washbasin typically set into acounter with a cabinet beneath.

I find it interesting that the same word can encompass both excessive pride and feelings of worthlessness. My thought in that is that relying on feeling good about yourself by feeling good about your outward appearance is ultimately futile. Outward beauty fades. Holding onto and putting so much importance into something that is destined to disintegrate is a self-made trap.

Then I think, what is beauty? People have their own aesthetic for beauty: a big butt, large breasts, full head of hair, tall, short, thin, muscular, straight white teeth, the list goes on and on. The way I see it, our definition of beauty is a direct reflection of our inner world and our value system. What do we appreciate? How deep does that appreciation go? Skin deep?

Are we critical of the world around us and the people in it? How are we limiting our experience to see the world and ourselves as truly beautiful? Are we getting caught up in details when we look in the mirror? A wrinkle here, a freckle there. Do those things truly matter?  What is someone commenting on when they say, “hey, you’ve got a great smile.” I’d like to think they are commenting on the brilliance of divine light exuded from their face and their eyes. A soul connection. A soul recognition.

“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
–Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Take a moment to reflect on what you put importance on. Is there room to expand your appreciation?

Another point I wanted to make is how one can get lost if they get caught up in their own vanity. I knew a woman who was sharing a story about her life with me one day, and she was telling me how vanity really lead her to make bad decisions. She never felt pretty or special, and then she found herself with a man who she found to be very attractive. She felt special. A handsome man was noticing her, choosing her. She got lost in that and didn’t see that that same beautiful man was a mean drunk and an unfaithful partner. She disregarded her loved ones’ growing concerns and married him anyway. Later he would abuse her and cheat on her, and that fleeting feeling of special was gone. If she appreciated her own inner beauty, she would know her own worth and she would have never settled for a man who mistreated her.

There are other ways in which vanity can have us lose our center. I’ve heard of stories of men getting caught in trying to “keep up with the Joneses”. Buying fancy cars and living beyond their means. Eventually it all catches up with them and they find themselves lying to their spouse, getting buried in debt and shame, all motivated by outward appearance.

Vanity is nothing more than a distraction, and we have plenty of those already.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You are the judge. Include yourself in your own definition of beauty. Take your values and reflect on them. Are they in need of purging and remodeling? Are your values all in service to your higher self? You will know they are large enough to live into if when you reflect on them, you feel an expansion both in your chest and in your perspective.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

Treat yourself well and you will be rewarded. Till next time, Be Well.


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