There are a few philosophical questions I really like to discuss with people. Which, at this point in my life, I think is awesome — I just wish I had the same drive for this topic in college. I could probably be a famous philosopher by this point. But, every life has a path and that one was not mine. I open with this because not everybody enjoys philosophical conversations or posts or anything like that, so if that’s you I’d…well, not encourage you to leave because I don’t want you to feel unwelcome, but it’s a warning nonetheless. Judgement call.
I have been lucky in my life to be able to work and be surrounded by beautiful people. And I mean this in every sense. Beautiful personalities, beautiful faces, beautiful smiles, beautiful everything — I feel like my life is surrounded by beauty. Sometimes I like to be open about things I find beautiful or not, and sometimes it shocks me when people disagree. Who would think the ocean is ugly? Who wouldn’t want to be in the mountains when it snows? It started me getting into this idea of perception, and how life is essentially an individual perception. These are the two topics I really enjoy discussing the most when it comes to philosophy — the role individuality plays in the universe, and the way life is perceived.
So let’s take the concept of beauty, for instance. I went up to this girl I work with — for this post we’ll call her Jill, because I’m pretty sure she thought I was kidding when I told her I was going to be using her as a model for this blog so I’m not sure her permission is necessarily…er…accurate. Jill is beautiful. I know I’ve used this word a few times already in this post, but I don’t know how else to describe her. I suppose you could go with angelic. Radiant. Ravishing. Pulchritudinous. You get the point. She looks like she could be an amazon princess warrior. She’s got this amazing curly hair that I didn’t even know could exist, these hollow, captivating, hypnotizing green-meets-hazel eyes (I know that kind of doesn’t make sense but it’s really hard to explain them because they’re soooo unique) and I wasn’t even sure a person could look so much like an angel. For real. I went to eat at the restaurant I work at with a couple of my friends, and she came to say hi, and as she left my friend said, “Andrew…I think I just got lost in her face.” Seriously. She’s probably laughing if she does read this, and I just want her husband to know I mean this all in a platonic way =).
I digress. You get it, she’s pretty.
The other night I went up to her and told her about my ideas on perception when it comes to beauty. The following conversation ensued:
Me: “Jill. You know everyone thinks you’re gorgeous. They comment on your beauty all the time.”
Me: “I’ve been wondering this with people I think are pretty. Do you see it? Do you understand why people say that or do you think they’re nuts?”
B*tch said we’re nuts.
If she wasn’t pregnant (or a woman) I would have slapped her. In a loving way, of course. A slap-to-knock-some-sense-into-her kind of slap. I think my mouth actually dropped open.
Me: “You don’t think you’re pretty — at all?”
After a shrug, she says, “I don’t think I’m ugly, no, but I don’t understand why everybody fawns over me.”
This restaurant that I work at has a couple of beauties. And by a couple I mean if I were a female working there I would hate my life because I would always feel inadequate. So I went around asking a couple of the girls the same question.
They all said no!
Now, I know a lot of this is just the female brain or whatever because they want to hear they’re pretty or something like that. I don’t know, I have a male brain so I just go with what I hear. But it really made me think about the idea of perception. Everyone knows the “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” quote, and I’ve always wanted to sort of pick at that and uncover what people’s perceptions of beauty were.
Which leads me to the role of individuality.
I really love this topic. So much, so, that I have this word tattooed onto me: “Love is universally individual.” That’s my (first, sorry mom and dad more are coming) tattoo. People tend to not necessarily understand it when they read it or I tell them. Allow me to explain: Love is an emotion we, as a human race, share. Everyone feels love in one way or the other. Everyone. But, not everybody feels it the same way. Love is a universal feeling, yes, but it’s also an individual one. Thus, love is universally individual. It’s a common bond that unites us, but it’s a feeling that allows us to keep our uniqueness.
I think individuality and uniqueness are the most important parts of our life. Falling into the same mold as everyone else, being too scared to stick out of the crowd, not wanting to garner attention, etc… Boring. I don’t like it. We have common bonds that unite us, but never anything that can break our individual selves down. I think this is a really important idea to remember when thinking about beauty — when you’re the eye of the beholder, you should always pick the beauty in your individuality, never focus on the negatives. Everyone has negatives. Everyone has flaws and imperfections. Those who dwell on others imperfections…say it with me…can jog on when it comes to me. (This is my quote to haters. If you ever decide to say it out loud or use it, it’s imperative to make a sweeping motion with your hand — think “Move along, move along.”) Yeah? So, the next time you look into a mirror, there’s four things I want you to do:
1) Pick something you don’t like about yourself. (Whether outer beauty or personality functions.)
3) Say, out loud, “Embraced it.”
4) Walk away from the mirror feeling more confident.
There is a difference between confidence and narcissism, too. Don’t forget that. Because you can learn to love yourself without being obnoxious about it. When you see the beauty, everyone else will too, regardless of what you do. Allow your imperfections and negative attributes to become who you are. I don’t mean to be sappy, but you’re beautiful on the inside and out. Some people may roll their eyes and think I’m crazy, but I used to focus on negative things in life. Super pessimistic. Then, one day, I woke up and said, “I’m tired of this negativity. I’m tired of being afraid to look in the mirror. I’m tired of letting other people’s opinions own me.”
I kid you not, dear readers, since I’ve made this change in my life I have progressed so far. I just remember that each life, each person, is essentially a perception. Yes, just like I said at the beginning — life is essentially a perception. The world would cease to exist, technically, if no one were around to perceive it. It would be there physically speaking, but without the constant perceptions of it it would lack meaning, lack life, lack individuality. So, I hope at the end of this, some of you may feel good. Some of you may think I’m a crackpot (wouldn’t necessarily be wrong), and some of you may fully disagree with what I’m saying. And I expect these opinions because every individual person who reads this post will have their own perception on my words. But, I hope if you’ve made it this far, you’ll try those three steps and attempt to rid negativity from your life. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
*PS. I want to note that “Jill” is not depressed, sad, emotional (as far as I know). Our conversation discussed her outer beauty, not her inner. That was the ball that got this thought rolling, but obviously there’s always more to a person than their looks. Always.