The Shine from Within

Here we go again! In most regions of the Northern Hemisphere, summer is upon us. A general tendency to drop everything and goof off is prominent in most human beings. Even yours truly, a self-proclaimed recovering workaholic, is not immune to its effects.

the fact that this emphasis on physical appearance is so widespread speaks volumes about our society as a wholeThere is, however another facet to this season that furrows my brow — and I’m not alone: The thought of trying on (and subsequently wearing) a new bathing suit. What a remarkable opportunity to assess the damage that we’ve done over the winter months! I know that I can hardly contain my joy when I realize that I’ve gone up another size. Granted, I have the discipline to correct this in a matter of weeks through diet and exercise. But the fact that this emphasis on physical appearance is so widespread speaks volumes about our society as a whole.

Living in the land of the “Beautiful People” (Los Angeles), it’s easy to become very jaded in terms of physical beauty by virtue of comparison. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Pamela Anderson look-alike. In addition, there seems to be an increasing demand for “after-market” body parts as well. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “wonder” bra — you’re constantly in the dark and wondering what’s real and what isn’t.

Having been a former ugly duckling myself, I can appreciate the value of outward acceptance at a young age. I was gangly like the rest of them in Junior High. Us goony-looking kids had strength in numbers on our side. There were a lot more of us than there were of the “perfect people.” When you’re that age, your whole world revolves around how popular you are. The assurance that you would blossom in your own right in ten years seemed ludicrous and useless at the time. Those years were painful, no doubt about it. But in hindsight, I wouldn’t change a thing.

There is a certain advantage to being a mediocrity, if not a downright goon, while growing up. By not being able to travel on the belly of your looks, you’re forced to develop a personality…..And a good one at that. Whether it’s a matter of intelligence, interests, hobbies, religion, humor, conversation, or all of the above — during those crucial years as a young man or woman, you’re building and fine tuning an aura that others will tap into later on in your adult life.

People, by nature, judge other people by first impressions. How you look can be such a large part of that first impression. In my opinion, how you carry yourself is more important.

On several occasions, I’ve been in social situations where I have gotten into conversations with groups of people. There’s a subconscious assessment that occurs within the first ten seconds of encounters such as this. Of course, like anyone else, I consider a person’s appearance. But more importantly, I look at how each individual speaks, interacts and carries themselves overall. On more than one occasion, I’ve witnessed physically attractive people diminish my image of them by merely opening their mouths. On the other hand, I’ve seen some seemingly ordinary-looking individuals take on an extraordinary shine just by saying one sentence or even just walking across a room.

To cite an extreme case, have you ever seen a relatively attractive person become increasingly intoxicated, thus losing all inhibition and grace? Doesn’t that individual become more unattractive as time goes on? Obviously, if this isn’t redundant behavior, then it is allowable. But is this habit is repeated on a regular basis, wouldn’t it make you think twice about continuing to spend any significant time with this otherwise outwardly attractive person?

A message to all you physically perfect people out there who think you’re on top of the world, keep in mind that you may be beautiful now, but looks fade. It’s your personality that will endure. It stands to reason that just like those who are working on improving our physical appearance by dieting and exercising, you could stand to benefit by working on your social skills, education, and overall personality as well.

If you’re in the majority (ugly duckling – past or present) and you’re looking to improve your appearance, start with self-confidence. That’s the most attractive aspect of all. Your personality is your greatest asset — Let it Shine!!

Andrea See all posts by Andrea
is a BADASSCHICK Magazine™ contributor
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