06/11/2014 01:57 pm ET | Updated Aug 11, 2014

Beauty: An Act of Courage



We live in a multiplex of curious "ocracies," e.g., sizeocracy and pigmentocracy. Men cannot be short, woman cannot be tall, nobody can be fat and you can never be too blonde. Thus, Madison Avenue tells us that fat is synonymous with ugly, dark is less than, and they go about digitally altering waistlines and lightening Beyonce's skin. I say war is ugly, and the times we laugh are too short, not people. People are, and beauty is.

Life occurs in the moment; so does beauty and ugliness. I have seen many so-called beautiful people be very ugly, and some supposedly ugly people be extremely beautiful. Beauty and ugliness are capacities we all have. Beauty is a matter of two things: finding your unique beauty, and being courageous enough to rock it 24/7/365. I remember, growing up, hearing my father and his friends say that if Moses had seen my mother when she was in her 20s, there would have been more commandments. I watched my mother's weight vacillate over the years. However, no matter what size she was, men always treated her as if she was the most beautiful woman in the room. I suspect that was because she believed that and presented herself as if she were.

We become who we believe we are. The human brain is very busy and prefers to spend as little energy as possible making assessments. Hence, it welcomes environmental cues in making decisions, e.g., what a person is, based on how that person treats his or her self, and how others treat the person. In a Pavlovian-like manner, the busy brain consolidates and simplifies like this: Beautiful people act a certain way, are treated a certain way, this person is acting and being treated that way, therefore they are beautiful -- treat them accordingly. If a person truly understands where their beauty lies, and presents that beauty earnestly, others will embrace it. In addition, if a person's first impression of you is that you are beautiful, confirmation bias occurs. Meaning, the brain looks for things to confirm its original belief. Therefore, if a person's first impression of you is that you are beautiful, their brain looks for evidence to reaffirm that. If they believe the opposite, their brain will look for confirmation of that opinion. The human brain always finds what it is looking for.

More importantly, if you believe you are beautiful, your brain looks to reaffirm this, which subsequently affects how you act and treat yourself. Compulsive overeating and self-esteem are like fire and smoke in that one will tell you about the other. Identifying and cultivating your innate beauty affects your self-esteem. When your self-esteem increases it has a positive synergistic affect on your entire being. Here is where the difficulty lies for most of us. Madison Avenue says because we are this or that we are not beautiful, and to our detriment, we believe it. From the moment we awake each day we are inundated with messages that say, "You are this or that, and subsequently less than." It takes a conscious effort to combat that psychic assault. The mantra "I love and accept myself just as I am" is a good weapon, because it embraces your present circumstance, while allowing for change.

We must rethink the concept of beauty. Beauty is not youth, bone structure, hair color, eyes, or any particular size. It can be all or none of those things. Beauty is a cosmic force that permeates throughout the universe and connects all things. Hence, beauty presents in limitless ways. At its best, it is perfect balance between our internal and external worlds.

Yes, consensual reality created a physical beauty standard that most of us subscribe to, regrettably. Likewise, that standard is kinder to some people than it is to other people. However, consensual reality is only real because we agree it is real. I ask you, who was more beautiful Marilyn Monroe or Mother Teresa? It depends on whether you are asking Playboy magazine or a starving child. Therefore, the intrinsic reality is: beauty is contextual. Context occurs moment by moment, so being beautiful is a way of taking life's journey, not a station within.

Find the beauty in your soul, and share it with the world. Your soul is your essence. If you do not have a beautiful soul, being pretty is pointless. Pretty is just a Madison Avenue thing; beauty is a universal force. There is nothing wrong with being pretty, and you can be pretty and beautiful, but the latter is more important.

Since the first prokaryote appeared in the primordial sea until the last star in the universe sputters and falls into eternal blackness, there will have been only one you. It is your duty to respect that. We all have the capacity to be perpetually beautiful, although the courage to do so, comes and goes. It is our spiritual responsibility to honor our beauty by consistently having the courage to express it in a world that often insists we do otherwise. Remain fabulous and phenomenal.

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