I hear these words and cringe. Growing up an ugly duckling in the "sister golden hair" era, I sadly know them all too well. Looking back, the standards of beauty were quite narrow. Being a foot taller than everyone my age, 20 pounds underweight, sporting mousey brown, knee length hair and a sizeable gap between my two front teeth didn't exactly put me in the "beautiful" category.
One faces much scrutiny for not having a button nose when Sally Field is the hottie of the decade. Though Lauren Hutten wore it well, I was more than thankful the day my orthodontist closed that space tight. I can't tell you how many times I was bullied, badgered and teased because I stood apart. I actually grew accustom to being called stork, too tall, stick and scrawny. Thankfully I had a loving mother that gave me unending support, taught me self-respect and even a few beauty tricks. I am grateful to her for those words of encouragement that still echo in my head.
It always surprises me the depth of judgment that society places upon everything. If it isn't perfect, pretty, shiny and new it gets pushed aside like garbage -- Cars, toys, animals and sadly even people. This disturbing mentality that perfection is more desirable, that beauty is all that matters has spread throughout the world like disease. Just look at the faces of Americas' movie stars, if you can still recognize them that is. I was astounded to hear the most popular gift for sweet 16 is breast augmentation. One has to wonder if vanity has replaced sanity.
We need to refocus, find the true value in all God given things. Stop judging the proverbial book by its cover and see everything, everyone for the miracle they truly are, just as they are. Can you imagine a world where no life is thought expendable, where we all could see the true beauty in each other? Might a different perspective allow for countless animals to be saved from being regarded as no more than trash, and dare I speak of the disposal unborn souls that might be stopped?
Perhaps with a different mindset, bullies would be put in their right place. If relationships were cherished as exquisite gifts, and partners were viewed as more than trophy wives and bread winners, might doomed marriages be saved? Could life be more fulfilling if rather than seeing what is lacking or imperfect in one another we venerated the unique qualities each of us possess?
Might less people feel it necessary to go under the knife, of being permanently altered into someone with little resemblance to their natural self? If we peered deeply into the very core of others, discovering their true radiance, embracing the genuine treasure of each soul would we find there is something extraordinary in each of us?
It simply takes a willingness to put aside predisposed notions of beauty. If you happen to watch Simon Cowell judging Susan Boyle on his reality show, you understand precisely what I speak of. He actually rolled his eyes as she entered the stage, that is until the voice of an angel flowed from her. How gratifying it was to see Mr. Cowell apologize before millions of viewers for such deplorable behavior. And even more satisfying when Miss Doyle's first album became a worldwide smash and blew away the remaining cloud of ugly whispers. Never judge a book by its cover.
I offer this -- The next time we meet someone new, let us stop before forming even one inkling of an opinion. Open our hearts to their inner radiance, to the true gems of individuality they possess and honestly discover that there is truly something splendid about each and every one of us.