Our culture, around the world, puts so much pressure on us to look good, to stay young, and to stay beautiful. Why? How does this impact us? There are many reasons why. One, from more of an evolutionary stance, is that being beautiful encourages people to procreate. Younger women are, of course, more able to have children, so youth is seen as something desirable; this is natural and helps us have procreated around the world. If we had evolved in such a way to find elderly people to be attractive, then we wouldn’t have as many babies, and genes wouldn’t be passed on. While this may seem rather scientific and cold, it has a very evolutionary, genetic aspect. It helps us make babies and keep generations going. You could almost say that beauty is in the genes.
But perhaps a far more powerful force that generates what we consider beautiful and affects us is the media. The media is constantly telling us what’s beautiful and attractive because there’s a benefit to that. If we love who we are and don’t need to change to improve ourselves, then no companies can make money selling products that improve people. So there’s a sense that “hey, we have to make people feel like there’s a sense that they need to change themselves and make themselves more beautiful so that we can make money.” Again, this may seem cold, but it has a very monetary benefit to our culture. It helps us create products so that we can change and look “more beautiful.” So in a sense, we could say that we are brain-washed. We’re being brainwashed as to what beautiful is,, and it constantly changes, so in that way, we are continuously on the move to improve ourselves. We’re never satisfied with who we are; we have to change and stay young, and if we are young, we have to look different. That is what keeps the economic wheels turning.
So can we or do we need to do anything about this? The answer is “yes.” Yes, we should do something about this, and yes, we can do something about this. So first, why should we do anything about this? Why not just buy into everything we’re told, make changes, and keep improving ourselves to stay young and stay beautiful? Mostly we should do something about this because it’s hard on us. It’s not wrong or inappropriate to make changes to improve ourselves; it’s actually good to do that, but when there’s a sense of constant “deficit” that we tell ourselves “there’s something wrong with me,” then changes need to occur. It’s better, far better, to say, “Hey, this is the way I am. This is the way God created me; however, can I enhance it or can I make it better?” It’s a lot like a farmer who has a field, and there are wild berries there, and he can find wild animals to hunt and gather, or he can get domesticated animals, and he can till that land and make it even more productive. It’s kind of like that; it’s a choice, we still love the beauty of the wildness, but we can choose to improve ourselves.
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For a moment, let’s imagine our beauty is an open field. Something that in and of itself is truly beautiful; it’s a gift from God; it’s something we can celebrate and be excited about. However, we may want to change and make some improvements; or we may not; it’s just a choice; either one is fine. If we take it in a way that, “Yes, my hair is graying a bit. I think I’ll color my hair and not let the gray come out,” it’s okay; or we can say, “Yes, my hair is graying, but I’m just going to accept it. I don’t mind the graying” then that’s okay too. But do you see the gentleness there? We’re kind about our looks. We can change them, but we can also love them and keep them the same. We can be excited about change, and we can be excited about growing old and aging; both can be fine, but if we don’t accept what we have, even after the improvements, we are going to be unhappy. I think that’s where we need to be careful about media and advertisements. They really play on us being unhappy with what is. Health is about accepting what is and ultimately loving what is.