Should You Change Your Physical Appearance? - Part Two

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Should You Change Your Physical Appearance? - Part Two
Is there a limit to the length we should go to in order to look “better”?

This is the second of three articles on the subject of standards of physical beauty. If you haven’t yet read Part One, you may want to do that before reading this.

What advantages do you imagine a stunningly beautiful woman has because of her looks that you don't have? The picture implies that she can get a man, or at least land a job as a model posing with a man. If that's what you want, you may be tempted to do whatever you can to appear more attractive.

Let’s Admit it, Nature Plays a Role in Our Standards of Beauty

Studies show that even little babies prefer faces that are considered more "beautiful" or "handsome" than those in which the features are less "attractive." Interestingly, this happens within the first few months when babies have not yet watched television and movies.

The baby will, of course, love her mother’s face as well, no matter what she looks like, but that is more a matter of loving the one who feeds you.

As adults, we continue our preference for classical features and if we all had classical looks, we'd all have classical marriages and perfectly handsome and beautiful children.

Unfortunately, nature also designed uss to come in all kinds of shapes and sizes so that our beauty falls on a continuum of beautiful to not-so-beautiful (or "ugly" to use a politically insensitive term) . Assuming the continuum is a bell-shaped curve, there are far more ordinary-looking people than those blessed with great looks. However, we have convinced ourselves that the beautiful end of the spectrum is the fortunate place to be. And woe to those who share the less desirable characteristics.

Making Assumptions About Others

Many years ago I ate in a restaurant where my line of sight was a couple who could only be described as "ugly." He had a large head and bumps all over his face. Her eyes lined up all wrong and her mouth was very crooked. They were laughing and having a great time. I remember being ashamed in realizing that I had assumed that if people looked like them that they wouldn't be attractive to another person. I could see I was wrong.

Since then I have met a number of couples where one or both were not at all attractive, but their marriages were loving and stable. What allows some people to see beyond looks and into the soul of another? I would guess it is acceptance of life as a great gathering of souls in all their fascinating diversity.

Unfortunately, we can't see beauty and grace in the souls of those who are "less attractive" if we don't look.

Setting Beauty Standards for Ourselves

If we tend to like more “culturally-defined” features on others, we will also set those beauty standards for ourselves. And in our youth-centered culture, that means that we will fiddle and tweak to keep looking as young as we can.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.

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