Friday, April 1, 2011

The Importance of Beauty?

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. 


  1. A very interesting post! I tend to think if we can all be happy with how we look and embrace 'change' (eg. wrinkles as we get older), we fill find that beauty in more of an inner quality than an outer one. Of course, the world and the media make this very hard for us to do, but somehow we need to be stronger. How to do it, I don't know. Learning to accept ourselves, be happy and embrace who we are and always remembering we are children of a loving Heavenly Father is a great way to start :)

    I had a wonderful time Thursday night seeing the twins get their endowments. It was special and just lovely that we could all be together in the Temple. Sad that not everyone was there, but the day we can all be there together will hopefully be a joyous occasion.

    I don't think I can comprehend the twins gone for 2 years. It will be a sad time that they aren't around, but they are doing a better thing serving the Lord :)

    Enjoy your holiday!

  2. Jessima, thank you so much for your lovely thoughts - I am so glad that you and Jonny were there on Thursday night :)

  3. I'm really honored you linked to my post, and I'm so glad you created a post from your wonderful deserved to be shared and reread! I especially love this line: "A beautiful soul could be truly appreciated only under such a sustained and discerning light."

    And what true joy to spend an evening in the temple with your family, including the twins. Blessings abound for you.

  4. Thanks mum - I really enjoyed that post. I think the other half of the battle can be for people to see the real beauty inside themselves, since so often we judge ourselves by the worlds criteria. And we're other too pleased with ourselves (when really we ought to be working on the many things that actually count), or we're not pleased enough - when really there is beauty we ought to be recognizing and sharing with others :)

    Love the photo of the old couple too :)

    xo Tammy

  5. Nice thoughts Mummy :) Thank you :)
    Sad that we couldn't be there with the twins but very exciting!!
    Wow, they're leaving so soon!!
    I love you :) xoxox

  6. What a great post!! Really got me thinking. I think we are very quick to make a judgement sometimes about a person's character based on their appearance. I think true humanity is when we see others and ourselves for who we really our and our great potential. I hope that is what it will be like in the next life, we will be occupied by thoughts of so much more superior and of higher worth we wont be thinking about our looks so much. In the mean time I better get to the gym... my butt is getting too big from blogging!! lol

    Congrads on the twins, how exciting! Must have been a wonderful experience for you on Thursday!

  7. Hey Mum, have the twins left for America yet? Did you survive the last three weeks? You should probably post again so we all know what's going on....

    :) :) :)

    xo Tammy

  8. Interesting - I guess it wasn't always like this, but over the last however-many years the world's priorities have gotten a little bit skewed. I can't think of many (any?) women I know who are more beautiful than you though, I hope I'm beautiful inside and out like you as I get older and have given birth even !! And let's face it: You can't see really old people walking together holding hands and not think they're absolutely gorgeous. It seems like people who aren't so worried about what they look like often look more beautiful because the more important things they're focusing on come through maybe... And there aren't many babies who aren't beautiful, even if they're not typically 'cute' (especially when their faces de-squish post birth lol :)). All the prophet's wives are beautiful too.

    I can't believe our little baby brothers are missionaries!!!!!!!

  9. I think I meant 'have given birth even more'..