This is really kind of cheating, but I just read a thoughtful (as always) post on Divergent Pathways, entitled 'When Ugly Isn't' that you can read here, and I am posting the main part of my own comment on that post here, with some additions, since I think it is an interesting topic and I am interested in your thoughts... :)
I don't know what the deal is about our looks. My grandmother told me most sincerely that she thought the most beautiful women in the world was Queen Elizabeth - I think she loved her sense of duty..
What I do know is that the best people I have ever met in life have not been the best looking. Not that I have anything against good looks - I love and enjoy beauty... But it's just one part of what we can be, and not a very important part, when all is considered.
I think the modern world is so incredibly replete with an over-abundance of images everywhere: by mirrors, in reflective windows and other surfaces, photographs, pictures, in magazines, on posters, in advertising, through media, etc, etc, etc - that we've become hyper-sensitive to this one aspect of humanity - giving it an importance far beyond what it deserves.
Added to that is our modern societal custom of interacting with many people each day only by viewing them and having them view us, usually briefly, in passing. The impression we get to make upon others is therefore reliant upon what they see in that brief glimpse. There's some pressure! - to be evaluated time and again by only our appearance.
Before the miracles of modern transport, most of us lived all of our lives among the relatively few people who shared our often very small geographical area of home. People got to know each other for who they really were. I think looks were much less important in such an arena. A beautiful soul could be truly appreciated only under such a sustained and discerning light.
I suppose another factor in our over-concern with personal appearance is our over-abundance of free time. If I had to work longer and harder each day, I doubt I'd be spending so much time worrying about my looks. You know those lovely, wrinkled and weathered faces we sometimes see in National Geographic photos of aged peasants? Those faces look like they've got more on their minds than just visage.
My point is, in summary therefore, that I don't think it was always like this!
I wonder about the next life.. Do we change, or do we see with different eyes? (Because, even on my best days, in my best years...)
I sometimes consider that the Saviour was described with the words: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him" I also note with interest that the modern prophets and their wives were not usually ultra-slim and model types. (Though always so very wonderful of course! I do this, as you understand, to comfort myself on occasion :)
Of course, perhaps understanding a little about why I worry so much about appearance is not, unfortunately, the same as not worrying about it anymore... But perhaps it helps a little :)
And on an altogether different topic (or perhaps not :) - Our sons Ben and Oliver took out their endowments in the Brisbane temple last night. Almost everyone in the family was there (we really missed Bec, and Beth and Robbie who are in Sydney) - which was so wonderful! There are so many fun things to do in life, but this was one of those fewer occasions that brings pure joy!
Neil and I leave with the twins tomorrow morning for a week away together, travelling the Great Ocean Rd. I am SO HAPPY that we decided to do this - it will be a great time to make some memories, and share some time with each other away from all the necessary preparations...
They leave for their missions in two weeks from tomorrow.