Are You Beautiful Enough?

I would like to re-post a blog entry that I did some months ago. Given Our recent and robust discussion of marriage and dating I thought re-posting this might be good for those of you who missed it:

We live today with very high expectations of many things. Culturally we have very demanding standards for beauty, especially in regard to women. We expect them to have appealing “curves” but be slender etc. Even ordinary weight is considered by many as unattractive. All this obsession with perfection leads to low self esteem among women and men too. Further, these high expectations of zero body fat and perfect shape, hair color, skin tone etc. leads to hypercritical and hurtful remarks. There is an old saying that “Unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments.” Hence this attitude also may have to do with marriage difficulties as the near perfect bodies of youth give way to the more “settled” bodies of middle age and beyond (gravity and age do have their effects and even if you weighed what you did in High School it doesn’t look the same!) Plastic surgery is a miracle for those with a truly catastrophic injury or deformities but today it is too often the refuge of those who have become obsessed with how they look and how they think others regard them. Oh to be free of such obsessions! The picture to the right depicts a woman but men have the problem too.

Help me Lord to be little more comfortable in my own skin. Help me to accept that you like both tall and short people because you made them both. Both the blond and the brunette are from your hand, wavy hair, straight hair, wirey hair are all from you and apparently to your liking. Thin and hefty, black, white and all between are from your artistic hand. Help me to love me as you made me. If I should lose weight for health’s sake help me, but if its only about what others might think of me, free me.

Watch this video and see how a very lovely young woman is not lovely enough. She has to be altered, “perfected.” And when simple natural enhancements are not enough her image must be furthered altered on a computer. Message: the perfect beauty does not exist in the world of media. She must be invented. Then everyone can pine after and spend large amounts of money and time trying look like someone who doesn’t even exist.

One Reply to “Are You Beautiful Enough?”

  1. Dear Fr. Pope,

    I just came upon Washington’s Archdiocese’s site as I was looking up The Holy Father’s comments on the Year of the Priest. I have just read your comments regarding beauty. Although I am in my early forties, I struggle with the beauty ideal as if I was still 15. Thank you for your reflection and the prayer. God Bless you as you celebrate this very special year, may your vocation become more joyous and fulfilling.

    Mary O’Brien
    Medway, MA
    Archdiocese of Boston

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