““You are beautiful, whether you know it or not.”
“We are all beautiful.”
“Everyone is beautiful to somebody.”
It’s cheerful stuff. It builds the self-esteem, makes people feel valued, and spreads joy and happiness across the internet.
It’s also b**ls**t.”
Have you seen this article making its waves around social media? I’ve seen lots of girls post it online saying things like “Read to the end. I think this is really important.” “Someone speaks the truth!” and things of that nature.
And I think it’s a bunch of baloney.
The author assumes that by “beautiful” we mean physically appealing. He says that the world owns the term and we need to let go of it – that it’s useless and only has to do with our physical make-up. By that judgement, people with tumors (like he said) and the guy making a weird face in the article would not be beautiful.
But I challenge that view.
Are you telling me that neither of these people are beautiful?
The definition of beautiful tells us that it means: possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc., excellent of its kind, wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying. It’s true that many people today use the term beautiful to indicate curb appeal. Yes, that’s dumb. And I agree with how the article ended:
“I want to tell you something, whoever you are. I don’t know if you’re beautiful, funny, smart, friendly, musical, caring, diligent, athletic, or anything else about you. All I know is this:
You are valuable.
You are important.
You are interesting.
You are worth loving.
So forget about “beautiful”. It’s become an ugly word anyway.”
But as I read the article and saw people talking about it online, I simply don’t agree with what they are saying: that telling someone they are beautiful is lame because it’s just saying how sexy they are or how visually appealing their body is.
Enter the document “The Feeling of Things, the Contemplation of Beauty“.
In this document I read for my Christian Moral Life class last semester, Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote about how beauty has something to do with pain. Plato explained the encounter with beauty as the “salutary emotional shock that makes man leave his shell and sparks his enthusiasm by attracting him to what is other than himself”.
Gosh, let that sink in. It makes me think about sunsets and the moment when you stare into the night sky and only stars stare back at you. When you’re holding a content baby and they just smile at you. When you see an athlete finally accomplish something amazing they had worked toward for a long time. When a person who has a handicap walks or does something society said they would never be able to do. You know what? Those are beautiful moments. And there is not another word that describes them so well.
Did any of those moments have to do with a visually appealing person?
Um, nope. Not really. Athletes are pretty sweaty. And babies give a tangible meaning to all types of bodily exports.
There are all kinds of situations and people who attract you to something bigger than yourself – to truth and beauty Himself. Some of those people might have bodily deformities (like the above pictures). Some of those people are normal people with bumps and lumps and pimples and freckles.
So yes. You are interesting and important and valuable and worth a whole lot. Really, you are. I could write a whole post on it (and sort of already did).
You have the ability connect your fellow human beings to something bigger than yourself – to pierce our hearts so deeply that we cannot help but be drawn to this deep sense of something awesome.
And that, my friends, is beautiful.