Throughout our lives, we’re brainwashed with images of the “perfect” body, the thin waist and long blonde hair. We become convinced, through advertising, that we can be more beautiful if we use new products or undergo expensive surgeries. Most commercials and ads are destined to sell some sort of miracle beauty product that can make our hair silkier or remove unattractive blemishes from our faces. Truth is, we all worry about our looks and indulge in all these fake products to improve our appearance.
Today’s society almost seems to demand that we change ourselves to become more beautiful. It’s easy to be tempted into buying products that reduce wrinkles or clear our skin, but those things won’t stop the process of age or prolong living. I learned this the hard way, since I suffered from severe acne during middle school. I wore ugly glasses because I couldn’t afford contacts, and wasn’t blessed with the social norm of big boobs. I complained endlessly about the way I looked and tried to fix it. I bought hair products, oil-free makeup, lipsticks, body creams, pore minimizers, anything I could get my hands on that would help get rid of my “ugliness”.
One day, as I walked across the parking lot towards the hair salon, I noticed a pretty woman sitting in a wheel chair outside the dry cleaners. She seemed to be in her early twenties, tall and moderately thin, with her hair picked up in a bun. As I came closer she mumbled, “Don’t do it.” Puzzled by her rude comment I couldn’t understand why it was any of her business what I should and shouldn’t do.
After a short chat I learned she had been in a car accident the previous year, was now paralyzed from the neck down, and confined to the wheelchair for the rest of her life. Her biggest regret was failing to accept her physique and make time to enjoy the wonders of life.
That was when it hit me. The thought of having everything going for me and then losing it in just one second haunted me. I decided to take a new approach in life. I cared less about the way I looked because in the end those that mattered would think I was beautiful no matter what. I discovered my inner beauty and appreciated it. I wasn’t perfect, but I had blue eyes and too many things going for me. The beautiful woman I met that afternoon on my way to the hair salon helped me realize everything I already had; she helped me realize the beauty I already had in me.
I believe in inner beauty, a kind of beauty that can’t be “fixed” by any surgery, or altered by so-called beauty products. Everyone is blessed with it, but needs to discover it from within. Understanding the way we see ourselves can help us stop obsessing over our appearances and actually make us look better.
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