The plane is swaying up and down and side to side in the clear blue of the sky. The rows of heads in front of me sway opposite the movements of the plane, subconsciously trying to find equilibrium. I couldn’t get a window seat on this plane flight to Miami, Florida and so I am packed like some kind of snack food in the center row. It is a good excuse to integrate feelings of claustrophobia.
With my time in the airport, watching the variety of people walk by, I have been thinking about looks. I have never been to Miami, but based on my level of sudden interest in the topic of appearance as it applies to spirituality and our world, I am pre-manifestationally aware that this will be a theme of this weekend’s workshop and of Miami in general. I will warn you though that this blog will trigger some people!
It does not take someone like me to convince people that the insecurity about physical appearance is a human epidemic across cultures. I have never met a person who is 100% confidence in their appearance. And when I was modeling, I found that the women and men who are hired specifically because they are considered to be the standard model of physical perfection, tend to be some of the most insecure people about their looks.
We are sedating ourselves with many mantras. The beauty industry uses the many mantras of advertising and like lullabies; we listen and are put to sleep by it. Consciousness is lost as we succumb to the many mantras associated with looks. Mantras like “you’ve got to be pretty to hold em”, “You need this product to have good skin”, “The guys only like skinny girls”. "The girls only like jocks" etc. I do not need to talk today about the harm of these mantras; that has already been adequately covered by many who have come before me. In large part, these are the mantras that have filled us with the message that we are not good enough and will be unloved unless we look a certain way. These are the source of our current insecurities about looks.
But there is another kind of mantra that does an equal amount of damage and we have accepted those mantras in spades. These mantras are on the other end of the scale and we think they are good for us when in fact; they are just the byproduct of rebellion. You’ve heard these mantras before, mantras like "beauty is only skin deep", "all that glitters is not gold", "it’s what’s inside that matters", "it shouldn’t be about what they look like", "handsome is as handsome does", "you can’t judge a book by it’s cover" and my close personal favorite, "looks don’t matter". Looks absolutely do matter and we all know it, it’s just not politically correct to admit that we know it. These anti-looks mantras create just as much self-rejection as the mantras they came to replace. They are also just as ignorant.
The multi-layered issue surrounding physical looks, really boils down to one single thing. We were not loved unconditionally, as a result we think love is conditional and we think that one of those things that love is conditioned upon, is looking good. But it never was an issue about what we look like, it always was an issue about needing so badly to be loved.
By listening to these rebellious mantras, we learn that there is something wrong with physicality. We are in rejection of one of the most primary aspects of ourselves. We are also caught in a tug of war. Looks matter to us (just like they always did) but we are ashamed of it. To be a good person, we have to try to deny that looks matter, while still looking as good as we possibly can. Some women dress sexy, and then proceed to feel upset or disrespected when men look at them. They feel that if a man is appreciating her appearance, he degrades or overlooks what is inside them. And men are confused. Some men don’t know how to act around women and what is offensive or appropriate anymore. In other words, the mixed signals are on the rise regardless of whether you are straight, gay or bisexual as a result of these mantras.
People go on dates with each other and when they don’t feel physically attracted to each other, they feel immense guilt for it. They feel like bad people because “It shouldn’t be about looks”. Either they live with the feeling of self-rejection for being a bad person, or they settle for someone they are not attracted to, just because they decide to take what they can get and they are intent on trying to be a good person. They try to not make it about looks.
It is time to lay these mantras to rest… All mantras on all sides. They are both inaccurate. They both create gaps inside of us. The first kind of mantra convinces us that we have no worth unless we look good. It disconnects us from our inner self. The second kind of mantra convinces us that we have no worth if we care about looking good. It disconnects us from our outer self. It also creates a gap in us between our authentic self and the self we want to pretend to be. They way we want the world to be and the way we know it is. We may want to live in a world where looks don’t matter. But they do matter, and if we say otherwise, we are lying to ourselves. We may want looks not to matter to us, but they do matter to us and if we say otherwise, we are lying to ourselves. Lying to yourself puts a gap between you and you. It separates you from your authenticity. And what is the call from source? To integrate, to become whole. As long as we succumb to either mantra, we have no hope of becoming whole.
Looks matter, they matter to us all. So what do we do to stop being caused so much pain by that fact? We need to separate out the weeds from the flowers (ironic choice of wording seeing as how so many weeds come with such beautiful flowers). Attraction is about much more than just physical appearance. But because we are discussing physical appearance today, I am going to make a statement that will simplify the conundrum. As people, we are going to be attracted to health. This makes sense on a spiritual level and on a purely scientific evolutionary level. Health is in alignment. You’re never going to be able to get around that one. And as it applies to the human body, though there are body type variations, every body type has its “healthy state” and it’s “unhealthy state”. What we are the most unattracted to is a body in an unhealthy state. We are unattracted to it in ourselves as well. It doesn’t feel good. This is sad because the world is currently full of unhealthy people. But know this… there are people who are attracted to the healthy state of every body type. If you want to be attractive physically, stop focusing on getting beautiful and start focusing on getting healthy. If we let ourselves gravitate in the direction of health, physical, emotional and mental health, we will become attractive to other people. Even when we age, we do not have to decline in health. If you’re you're still healthy, aging will be another kind of beauty, not a loss of beauty. Health is about many things, but body size is a part of health and it is a particular source of pain for us, so let’s address that. We are not attracted to bodies that are unhealthy either way, whether they be imitated or obese. But the number one concern I see in our modern culture is the concern about being overweight.
I was asked earlier today why in general, people see being fat as the most unattractive physical state as it applies to considering romantic partnerships. You might think it is because mainstream media has made such a huge enemy of fatness. And while it is true that the media has influenced our idea of what a person should look like to be attractive immensely (and fat is enemy number one in our modern world), that isn’t actually the culprit. The culprit is much deeper.
There are certain cultures where fatness is seen as beauty. And because of that preference, women in those cultures do what they can to gain weight. This causes it's own kind of pain with the women there. But gaining weight in those cultures does not have the same vibrational feel as it does in the rest of the world because gaining weight in those cultures is not the symptomatic result of emotional pain. In the rest of the world, it is. There is a glaring reason why in most of the world today, fat is the #1 most undesirable physical trait in a romantic partner and it has less to do with the fat itself and more to do with the emotional state underneath.
When someone develops an excess of body weight, most especially in the form of fat, it is always done to cope with a fear. When it comes to obesity, that fear is the fear of humiliation and shame. At the heart of every single case of obesity is this particular fear. Usually early in life, those of us with obesity experienced extreme demands and expectations from others. We could not meet those expectations and demands and so we experienced high levels of shame and as a result of those experiences, we spent our time feeling humiliated. We built up a barrier of fat as a shield between ourselves and what we were afraid of… others. We built a shield to prevent the painful demands and expectations of others. It is a physical reflection of the intention to prevent ourselves from being taken advantage of. Fat being a physical symptom of a non physical barrier keeping other people out, it is no surprise why this is an undesirable quality in partnership, which requires complete intimacy to truly feel good to us.
If we become healthy and integrate our emotional wounds, what we will notice is that the excess weight no longer serves a purpose, so it goes away. The body returns to a state of health. Don’t confuse this with the idea that there is one size of body or one weight that is healthy and that our body will transform into that external standard of health and beauty if we become healthy. What will happen is that our body will transform into it’s own unique optimal healthy expression.
Aside from health, the most crucial part of learning to embrace your own physical beauty is to embrace the idea of variety. Most of the pain caused by the fact that looks matter, is caused by the idea that there is only one thing that is beautiful. In other words, unless you are a 5’10” blonde bombshell with Double D breasts, mile long legs and a great ass, you aren’t beautiful. Or unless you are a 6’0 tall, tan stud with great muscle tone, you aren’t handsome. We need to start to view our own looks and view other people’s looks like unique flavors. We all know that chocolate cake tastes good. Even though that flavor may be considered to be good nearly unanimously, it isn’t the only flavor on earth that is good.
If the way people look is like a unique flavor, beauty really can be in the eye of the beholder. Some people love certain flavors and dislike others. But you can be sure that there are people who prefer your flavor. It makes no sense to try to become the flavor someone likes. It's much smarter to become your own full flavor and allow the people who love that flavor to gravitate to you. And if you meet someone who is not attracted to you, or who only wants to be with a type of person who looks a specific way, they aren't a good match for you in the first place!
We cannot compare flavors to one another either. One of the best ways to destroy your relationship with your appearance is to compare your looks with other people. If you think about flavors, what good does comparing them to each other really do? It must be said that women are off the charts terrible about this. We bond by doing this. It is unwritten proper social etiquette to negate the jealousies and qualm the insecurities in other girls by putting ourselves down in front of each other and negatively comparing ourselves to them. And the sad part is, it works. If you don’t believe me, just go ahead and compliment something about the way you look while in the company of other women!
Identify all of the things you appreciate about your body. From the tiniest things to the biggest things. For example, you could notice that your nail cuticles are a nice shape or that you like the angle of your eyes. You can also identify the things you dislike about your appearance and work on thinking outside the box enough to find approval for those things. As it applies to our appearance, we should always think about how we may better express ourselves and our tastes instead of changing our looks in accordance with trends or what other people think looks good on us. We’ve got to stop rejecting our physical appearance if we want to integrate ourselves completely.
It often worries people that they are being narcissistic if they appreciate their physical appearance. Narcissists are not people who love themselves; they are people who cannot currently connect with others. There is nothing narcissistic about self-celebration. Celebrating and displaying your looks doesn't make you a narcissist, it makes you an artist.
Celebrating or appreciating someone else's looks doesn't make you a shallow person and it doesn't mean you are disrespecting anything. Focusing positively towards someone, whether it is at their insides or outsides, is still focusing positively at them. That is not wrong, unless you want to make positively focusing towards someone wrong.
The more integrated we become, the less we will reject any aspect of our self. When we perceive someone else as ugly, we are essentially rejecting an aspect of them. If we perceive someone as ugly, is a mirror of that fact we are still in rejection of something within us that we feel is ugly.
We need to celebrate our own physical looks and each other’s physical looks. Doing so does not make appearance any more or less important than the inner aspects of ourselves. Our physical bodies are an organic art piece. Each body reflects the non-physical energy that is behind it. The body does not distract from the soul. The body is not separate from the soul. The body is the souls' expression. What are you waiting for? Do away with the appearance worshipping and the appearance degrading mantras and express yourself. Start to celebrate the unique flavor of your physical appearance. Let your authentic personality shine through your appearance. Let your body be a canvass for your soul.