Posted by: Judy | October 14, 2014

Beautiful

The other day was Mental Health Awareness Day, I want to share something I believe is important.

I love quotes, little sayings that cheer me, lift me, inspire me. I’ve seen some wonderful memes. I’ve also seen some I believe to be disturbing. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is an early meme, and what we used to call those short, in-a-nutshell sayings.

I’ve never forgotten a quote I saw in the newspaper, decades ago: “A philosophy that fits in a nutshell should probably stay there.”

By the way, the “Cleanliness” meme is quoted like it’s from the Bible. It isn’t. Bible study isn’t simply about learning what’s there. It’s also about learning what isn’t there.

I’ve seen a new meme going around on FB and Pinterest lately. It makes me cringe.

“Happy girls are pretty girls.”

First glance, my reaction was ‘great!’ Close on the heels of that reaction was recognizing all the damage done by saying something so insensitive.

I’ve worked with three different counselors, over the years. None of them wanted to diagnose me with anything. They didn’t want me to be labeled and limited. However, reading through a list of someone with C-PTSD, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I fit every item on the list. I believe the powers that be in the world of psychiatry are changing the name. No matter. I state this not to brag or to say I’m an expert in anything but dealing with my own upside down world.

On the heels of ‘great’ came the thought “Unhappy girls are ugly girls.”

Followed by: JRR Tolkien wrote, in Return of the King, “Not all tears are an evil.”

Dealing with depression isn’t about choosing happy or unhappy. Dealing with depression is about choosing depression over anger, rage at the helplessness of being abused and having no power to protect myself and no one to protect me. Depression isn’t a healthy choice, but it is a healthier choice than uncontrolled fury. Depression is about suppression of emotions. It can be a healthy choice on a short-term basis. It allows for processing time. It is not a healthy choice for the long-term, but it is healthier than allowing emotions to run rampant. The difference between turning inward and turning outward. There’s time to work on helping yourself. Once you’ve lashed out at someone else, you have no control over how they respond.

The danger lies in assigning labels of good, bad, positive, or negative to any emotion. Emotions are neither good nor bad, positive or negative. Emotions simply are. They happen, to everyone, unless a person disassociates, which is not healthy.

The epitome of beauty is Jesus Christ. Jesus wept. He was also angry. He was passionate about His mission on earth. He felt deeply. He mourned, and He rejoiced.

It isn’t the emotion that determines whether it is good or bad, it is what you do with the emotion.

One of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen is a person who is happy when someone else fails. I want to clarify that I’m not talking about competition where you cheer for your team and wish the other team to lose. I’m also not talking about being happy when evil fails, which is healthy. I’m talking about the Roman citizens cheering the Christians being fed to the lions. Laughing when someone stumbles in their life. Cheering someone’s downfall, not because they are evil but because they’re too happy, too wealthy, too successful.

One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen is a dying patient’s last video, recorded for the purpose of comforting those left behind when they depart this mortal sphere.

Ugly: People happily making fun of someone who’s fat or slow or somehow less than the world’s definition of acceptable.

Beautiful: A firefighter attempting to save a dog rescued from a fire, even if it’s hopeless.

I’ve seen numerous examples of both posted all over the internet.

There is skin-deep beauty and soul-deep beauty.

There is nothing wrong with skin-deep beauty. The trick is remembering that skin-deep is not an indicator of soul-deep. I don’t appreciate roses any less because they have thorns. I accept that they have thorns and protect myself accordingly.

Soul-deep beauty comes from a light within. Babies are born with it. Somewhere along the journey of life, many bury it or allow it to wither away. It requires work and effort to maintain it. However, if it’s lost, for whatever reason, it is possible to reclaim. Being able to see and appreciate it sometimes is easy, but most of the time it also requires work and effort.

Some people possess both. This isn’t a point of envy.

Know this: What you see and how you respond says absolutely nothing about the other person and everything about you.

Seeing the word envy reminds me that some emotions are more desirable than others. However, rejecting an emotions is rejecting a part of yourself. An emotion like jealousy is an opportunity to look into your heart and explore why you feel “less than.” It certainly isn’t about what the other person has and you don’t. Every single person in the world has something you don’t.

Emotions are all about you. How you perceive yourself and your world.

I keep stumbling over the need to be happy. Happy is not a constant state. Emotions come and go and come again.

I want to be beautiful, which is why those “pretty” memes grab me. I want to be pretty. Skin-deep is not a possibility, but I can be beautiful soul-deep. It isn’t something someone can define for me because beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. How do I see myself? How do I want to see myself?

I’ve been working on trusting God. This is not easy, especially for an abuse survivor. Trust is shattered in every possible way and used as a weapon.

Honor and trust are intertwined.

God’s greatest power is His honor. He is unchanging, immovable, everlasting. He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do.

Maybe it will fit and maybe it won’t, but I want to try this definition of beautiful:

Beautiful is trusting God enough to know no matter what happens He is in control and aware of me.

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Responses

  1. Well said. Peace.

    • Thank you.

  2. I love this. Thanks for sharing this post.

    • You’re welcome.

  3. Great post!

    • Thanks.


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