How to Look Beautiful – Free Ebook

When we are very concerned about certain of
our physical features – a nose that is stubbornly

a bit too large, eyes that are slightly too
far apart, hair that is not as lustrous as

it should be – we miss an overall point about
our relationship to our appearance: how beautiful

we feel has nothing to do with the objective
structure of our face or body; it isn’t

what we look like that counts. It’s how
we feel inside. Our self-assessments are in

the end solely based on our relative degrees
of self-love and self-contempt.

There are people of ideal proportions and
exceptional beauty who cannot bear what they

see in the mirror and others who can contemplate
a less than svelte stomach or a no longer

so supple kind of skin with indifference and
defiant good humour. And at a tragic extreme,

there are heart-breakingly fine-looking people
who starve themselves to ill-health and eventually

die out of a certainty, immune to every logical
argument, of their own unsightliness.

We are surrounded by industries that seek
to help us to improve how we look: dieticians

who are on hand to reduce our waistlines,
aerobic teachers who offer to tone us, beauticians

who will equip us with foundation and mascara.
But however well meaning their efforts, they

fail completely to grasp the sources of a
healthy regard for one’s own appearance.

The issue is not whether we look extraordinary
today, but whether or not we were once upon

a time, when we were small and defenceless
before the judgements of those who cared for

us, sufficiently loved for our essence. This
will decide whether our appearance can later

on be a subject of negligible concern to us
or not. The truly blessed among us are not

those with perfect symmetry; they are those
whose past affords them the luxury not to

give too much of a damn whatever the mirror
happens to say.

The way to help someone feel beautiful is
not to compliment them on their looks, it

is to take an interest in and delight in their
psychological essence. We know that the more

comfortable we feel around someone, the less
effort we will make about how we appear and

conversely, the more anxious we are about
the judgement of others, the more our reflection

has the power to horrify us. The issue is
never that of our appearance, it is about

our sense of our vulnerability to humiliation.

When we meet people who are perpetually sick
with worry that they are not attractive enough,

we should not rush in with physical compliments;
this is only to foster and unwittingly reward

an aggravating criterion of judgement. We
should learn to spot the wound in their early

relationships that have made it so hard for
them to trust that they could matter to others

in their basic state and that therefore perpetually
evokes in them an unflattering self-image.

They are not ‘ugly’ per se, they were

  • when it mattered – left painfully unloved

and ignored to an extent that they are liable
never to have recognised or mourned adequately;

their arrival in the world did not delight
a few people as it should have done, and they

therefore need compassion, sympathy and emotional
validation far more than they will ever require

the tools of outward beautification.

Feeling ugly stems from a deficit of love,
never of beauty.

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