Skip to content

HumankindNESS: More Beautiful

By Jennifer Richardson
Flipping through the television channels recently an interesting thought popped into my head. I had watched some news coverage, some weather updates, a snippet of a sitcom, and a segment of a home-improvement show– when I realized something shallow.

With just a few exceptions, the people I had viewed on several different channels on a variety of shows had one thing in common; they were very attractive.

I started intentionally flipping through the shows, watching a bit more closely; commercials, infomercials, comedies, dramas, gameshows, and do-it-yourself programs were brimming with beauty.

I happened upon occasional people in a documentary and some political news coverage that didn’t fit the profile, but most of the human beings I was looking at were definitively attractive, based on our culture’s threshold for looking good.

So many bleached teeth, so much colored hair, so much perfect makeup and wardrobe, so much tanned skin, so many muscles, not an ounce of body fat to be seen. It was a festival of fabulous, an onslaught of packaged loveliness that was designed to make me believe that everyone with something to share in the world looks amazing.

There is nothing wrong with physical beauty, it can be a blessing. I have beautiful daughters, and I have many beautiful friends, and I enjoy pretty as much as anyone.

But I asked myself, could we imagine all of the gifted, brilliant, original people we may never hear from because they are not covered in a superficial veneer of our culture’s definition of beauty?

I thought of a person I know with Downs Syndrome who has opened a thousand hearts to the beauty of acceptance and seeing the best in others, and a family I know that has fostered several children in crisis, a woman who could sing like an angel, and several people in their last years of life who have shared their earned wisdom with me. None have graced the pages of magazines or starred in television shows—but within them collectively is a dazzling show of beautiful, mostly unseen humanity.

Why are good looks a near-requirement for recognized contribution? Perhaps we hold ourselves back. In the heart of this prerequisite for prettiness, fear may reside. Fear of aging. Fear of comparison and imperfection, fear that we will not be enough of something, fear that other people will judge us and find us on the wrong side of the line between acceptance and rejection.

Perhaps the problem lies outside of ourselves. Maybe those who package our cultural content are afraid we will all tune out if creativity is presented without the candy-coating.

We have to fight this fear. We must stand and deliver with all we have, because anything else is only a fractional life that reinforces a superficial understanding of being exquisite. Those that do not fit the current designation of surface splendor could own wisdom and talent that needs to be showcased. And their contributions may be the very ones that we need to appreciate most.

Beauty is as beauty does; the real ugliness is waste and squander. We need to use our gifts. If you hide what you are, it will only delay the transformation that might change the perceptions of magnificence as we know it. Write, compete, research, paint, sing, direct, create, cook, design, run, counsel, lead, follow, and inspire. Do whatever it is that you do. Use those things beneath the exterior to shine however you can. You help yourself to live a genuine and joyful life.

Along the way you will find that a joyful life has a beauty that is impossible to find otherwise. When you are operating as all that you were born to be, you also add a new and authentic entry under the category of beautiful.

Our individual contributions will be a gift to all of us; it is in our hands to change perceptions. Our collective brilliance will push the boundaries of what is, and help redefine beauty. And when we see all kinds of people sharing their strengths, what a beautiful world that will be.

Leave a Comment