While looking at the magazines at the supermarket check-out, the thought occurred that they were promoting a shallow and misleading message and the constant re-enforcement of that message was harming rather than helping our understanding of life.
If an alien from another planet viewed these magazines, they would think that the most important issues in the life of humans were how good looking and slim they were. I won’t go into the fascination with the other really important issue of celebrity sex here. A magazine reading alien would also assume that no humans over 40 lived on earth.
Why do we sell ourselves so short? How much more difficult it must be for young people who are bombarded with messages about the importance of how they look?
Being young and attractive is a good start to life but it has nothing to do with who we really are. Some beautiful people are ugly human beings while other physically unattractive people have beautiful attitudes. Who we really are is the more important question and most thinking people spend a great proportion of their lives trying to find an answer to it.
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Being alive gives us the chance to learn, to grow, to gain wisdom, to experience the highs and lows of life and to be moulded by these forces. While some would dispute it, a commonly accepted goal is “To be the best that we can be”.
Like good wine, it takes time for us to mature. While we can be at our physical best in our 20s, the body is really an exterior shell that the real “us” uses to get around, and over time it ages. A pretty face or a beautiful body is only a small part of who we really are. It’s amazing that so much of the media simply don’t get it.
What is important is what’s going on in our minds. Are we aware of the journey of life? Do we care about the wellbeing of others? Have we worked out that lasting happiness comes from within us and has little to do with retail therapy? Do we want to grow and develop as a person?
Rather than deteriorate and become irrelevant after 40 – 50, as many magazines would have us believe, it is at this stage of our lives that we often start to think about what’s our real purpose in life. For many, this search intensifies as they go through their 50s, 60s and 70s.
It is in this mature stage of our lives that most people have had the opportunity to experience the soaring heights and depressing lows that help make us the people we are today. It is the results of this life journey that can make us interesting, substantial and relevant people.
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I’m not saying that young people aren’t interesting. A great many of them are, but few have had the range of life experiences to enable them to reach their full potential.
So let’s try to get past this cultural obsession with youth, beauty and “celebrities” and realise that people over 50 might have lost their smooth skin and tight bodies but may have gained wisdom and awareness and perhaps grown into beautiful people.
All age groups are important and all are deserving of respect.
What do you think real beauty is? How do you make yourself feel beautiful or attractive? Do you agree with Paul? Share your thoughts today.