Many of us inhabit bodies and faces that don’t look as we feel they should. But it’s not very respectable, really, to feel frustrated with one’s appearance, is it? Mature, reasonable people are not supposed to go around regretting the shape of their nose of the way their hair falls. Yet you gaze in the bathroom mirror and think: ‘Why in my brief existence on the planet does this have to be me?’ For those unhappy with their looks, pictures are painful. Each new image brings more bad appearance.

Yet this isn’t crazy. We care about our looks for a sound reason. Because everyone judges us by them. Because they determine the first response. To deal with the challenges of our appearance we need to develop a particular kind of wisdom. Here is a start to learning how to cope with one’s looks, and some consolation.

Personal appearance simply is one of the least democratic parts of life. It’s a lottery and you haven’t won. It’s nothing to do with you, nor is it to their credit that it is them. It just is.

A bald man will appreciate your hair like no-one else will. It’s the ugly who are best placed to appreciate beauty: Something the beautiful should bear in mind when they’re considering the sort of person they look to bestow their affections on.

The world is dominated by an often unfair money hierarchy. Against that it’s refreshing that there’s also this strange looks hierarchy. it doesn’t restore justice but it thumbs its nose up at other sorts of injustice just a little.

However unfair the distribution of appearance is today, time will eventually bring justice. No-one ends up happy with how they look. its just a question of waiting. For some, disenchantment may start at 10. for others it may take another 40 years but it will happen for sure.

Rather than saying appearance does matter you can get better at noticing the less obvious but still very real beauty in odder places The trouble with our culture isn’t so much that we love appearances but that we focus on too narrow a range of features and qualities. Start getting interested in someone’s august forehead, note the melancholy sweetness of their eyes, admire an expression of kindly acceptance, point out serenity, a trusting face or a candid nose. There are so many good and attractive things we can see in people’s faces if we’re alert to different type of beauty, and hopefully one day someone will do the same for us.


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