Friday, November 12, 2010

Rantings on Beauty

I'm sorry.  I can't help it.  I've been putting this post aside, telling myself that because it's not based on a book, I shouldn't have it on here, but this idea has been bugging me for a few days now.  I can't stay silent.  I must speak loudly!

On Facebook the other day, I began to see posts, which said, "Post this on the walls of the 12 prettiest girls you know ... if you get 5 back you're beautiful! ♥ ♥ ♥" Right away, I felt the bile rise up in the back of my throat.  I wanted to puke and scream and cry all at the same time.  If you've ever seen me cry, you know it's not pretty! I would definitely not get that post on my wall on any day that I've cried. So, for a day or so, I said nothing. But it kept hounding me so badly, I posted this to my wall:

"To all the girls posting this, "You're pretty if you get 5 returns of this 'You're pretty' post," I certainly hope you know that beauty does not come from a FB post, or even what anyone else thinks of you. Beauty, true beauty comes from within. How about instead of desiring to get those 5 posts back, you show the kindness to someone else ? That's what makes a person beautiful."

Obviously, I couldn't say all I thought in a few lines on FB, so I'm saying it here.

How is it that we as a society have stooped so low that now our children have to find their beauty and self esteem by how many times random people paste a "you're pretty" post on their Facebook wall?  We have FAILED with a big, fat F if our girls are seeking to discover what true beauty is on Facebook. Look, I love Facebook.  I can now keep in contact with friends I haven't seen in years and keep up with family who live far away. It's great, but when we as parents allow Facebook to teach our kids about beauty, we've gone horribly wrong.

I'm reading a book by Joyce Meyer for my Bible study. It's called the Love Revolution. In it she focuses on the theme of happiness. How many people aren't happy because they think that getting more stuff or wearing certain clothes is going to bring happiness? Now, the book is written from a Christian perspective, but even with that aside, its message says the only way to be happy is to serve others. I'd take this message one step further for our young people. It's that servant's attitude, that willingness to put self aside and do something kind for someone else without need or want of anything in return that makes someone beautiful.

When I was a little girl, my mother told me all the time, "Jessie, It's better to be pretty on the inside." I now tell my daughter the same thing, to which she replies, "Yes, and it's cold on the outside." (We still have a little work before she fully understands the meaning of this phrase.)The point is that beauty comes from within. A person can be the perfect model with long flowing locks and porcelain skin and still be ugly.

Admit it, you know these type of people, people who are "beautiful" but are mean or stuck up. You also know people who may not look perfect. Maybe they have a few more pounds than the average person, or scars that cover their face, but their inner beauty masks what the world considers ugliness.

I hope that as I raise my daughter, I can teach her that she will be beautiful because she loves people, because she loves the Lord, because she is kind and gentle, because she helps those around her and sacrifices herself for others, because she speaks words of encouragement and not harsh words. If I can teach her how to do that, I will have a beautiful daughter. Better yet, if I can show her how to do those things by doing them myself, I can be a beautiful mom.

Maybe I should start a new Facebook post.  One that says, "Post this to the wall of 12 girls who are beautiful because they are kind and gentle, because they sacrifice for those around them, and because they speak kind words of encouragement instead of harsh ones, for their beauty comes from within." Do so with nothing expected in return, just for the sheer joy of encouraging someone else for the good qualities they possess. Join me, won't you?