Deconstructing the beauty-illusion
For a long time I thought of myself as the girl with the good personality and the unfortunate looks. By the age of twelve I had picked up many self-criticisms from comparing my pre-teen, babyfat-retaining body to my loved Barbies and to the young adult models in magazines, but I had never felt I had an unattractive face.
Then I overheard someone say, "She would be beautiful except for her nose." Everything changed. And for the next 30-odd years I went to extraordinary lengths to hide my nose.
Excessive concern about and preoccupation with my appearance resulted in a constant flow of negative thoughts about my face and body. Makeup was a mask. Hair cuts were to hide or distract.
Then I moved to France. You know what? No one here has a generic, standard-issue, "ideal" nose. Each one, extraordinary in its originality, is either small, large, perky, turned, drooped, lifted, bumped, hooked or bulbous - and all of them are GREAT! My hairdresser has what she calls a "strong" nose and she is proud of it, playing it up with her hair and makeup and clothing accessories. No hiding or disguising. Why would she? She is lovely and no one else is like her.
I now love my nose. (It reminds me of my mom and dad, whom I adore). And a fun part of my regular commute is to look around the train and admire my fellow travelers with the silent affirmation of "You are spectacular. One of a kind. Beautiful."
This new outlook didn't only come from more global nose exposure. I attribute it mostly to insights I have gained into God as divine Soul, and of the nature of real beauty as spiritual.
Beauty isn't material, not even temporarily.
What we call material beauty is illusion, and illusions melt away, showing that their so-called bestowals are flawed, imperfect. Material illusions generally end in pain until we release them and they disappear. Seriously, why wait for the suffering, or prolong it, by holding onto a beauty illusion?
The size, shape, and weight of matter; the color, volume, consistency of matter; the position, quantity, presence or absence of matter; these things don't define beauty. Beauty is spiritual.
Mary Baker Eddy's book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures explains, "Beauty, as well as truth, is eternal; but the beauty of material things passes away, fading and fleeting as mortal belief. Custom, education, and fashion form the transient standards of mortals." (247)
We don't have to be pushed or pulled by these influences to settle for transient standards. The beauty that God as divine Love establishes in us is real, original, perfect, and meets Love's own high and permanent standard of divine good.
Comeliness and grace are independent of matter. Being possesses its qualities before they are perceived humanly. Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color.
I have learned that it is pointless for health and beauty to pray for a better configuration of matter. It won't get you what you want. Matter is off-topic when considering health and beauty. Matter is mortal; and mortal, simply put, means dead or subject to death. Beautiful, healthy matter? NOT.
Remember the "use arsenic for clear skin" craze that killed off many young women in Victorian England? The "beautiful matter" belief is deadlier than the arsenic belief because it poisons the human system with self-hate, regret, envy, wasted thoughts, wasted energy, and selfishness.
So seriously, don't pray for better matter. It won't get you what you want. Spirituality is the ticket. And the thing about spirituality is that it lasts. It endures.
Beauty is immortal.
When was the last time you woke up and said to yourself, I am blessed to be immortal today? OK, maybe never. But it is a really good idea to add a dose of immortality-awareness to your daily routine. Mrs. Eddy hinted at the beauty treatment in such thoughts when she wrote, "Immortality, exempt from age or decay, has a glory of its own, — the radiance of Soul. Immortal men and women are models of spiritual sense, drawn by perfect Mind and reflecting those higher conceptions of loveliness which transcend all material sense." ibid.
In case no one has told you this in awhile, let me say that you are beautiful. And your beauty has nothing to do with the shape of a nose, the color or texture of skin, or the shape of a material body.
You are gorgeous - a beautiful, immortal expression of God as Soul, as Love, as Mind and Principle. Think about it. This has nothing to do with hair or the lack thereof, crooked or straight teeth, noses, eyebrows, long legs or tapered fingers.
You are beautiful because you are spiritual.
Now, I am no dummy. I recognize that for the moment what I am saying may be falling on deaf ears. When caught up in the illusion of beauty (like someone caught up in the illusion of grief), a mortally-focused mind wants what it wants, where it wants it. It calls matter, not only real, but the only reality. It can even seem like the actual immortal and permanent truth of beauty and life is irrelevant and not comforting at all. But Christian Science teaches and then shows how matter is not real, - not beautiful, not ugly, simply NOT.
The persistent Christ-messages of true beauty.
Spirit is real and is reflected in all that is real, including you and me. Your inherent spirituality makes you beautiful, and trust me, this idea of spiritual beauty won't leave you alone. Why? Because everpresent Soul can't leave you alone. You are never alone. God as Soul is perpetually sending you Christ messages telling you who and what you are. You may ignore them for awhile, but they will never quit.
Because of the persistent nature of the Christ, the true idea of God and His creation, the truth of your real beauty will keep knocking and knocking and knocking and knocking and knocking persistently at the door of your thought until you let these Christ messages in and really think about them. Then they will take their rightful place in your thought and your life. You won't be able to escape the proof. It will glow inwardly in the way you feel about yourself, and show outwardly in the way you are perceived.
Tips on caring for yourself.
Let your spirituality lead you to care for the body respectfully. No self-critical abusive thoughts. Care for the body lovingly, without unnecessary attention or obsession, and not as a punishment for being a man or woman. Care for the human body in its proper perspective - a useful laboratory in human experience for spiritual growth and evidences of God's care, but not material or limited, and never in control of your life and happiness.
A body as a limited, material, destructible - or even improvable - object is never the truth about your body. Matter never gives correct evidence of your identity, is not a symbol of your beauty or a marker of your worth. (Neither is your car, by the way. But that is another post.)
Not a subscriber and want to be?
Easy. Just sign up in the sidebar.
You may also wish to:
VISIT MY WEBSITE HOME PAGE
FIND LINKS TO MY OTHER PUBLISHED CONTENT
LISTEN TO A COLLECTION OF MY "YOUR DAILY LIFT" 2-MINUTE PODCASTS
Find me on YouTube
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no
© 2011-2023 Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche, CSB. All rights reserved. Pages updated 2 December, 2022.