So, this is another “conversion” post. The following was pulled from my comments on a discussion this last weekend in a church chat group. I have actually thought of writing a blog post along these lines previously, so decided to just lift this content, and maybe edit/ add a bit more to it. 🙂
The conversation started when a group member posted a picture showing a former model and her husband ( who had his arm around her). The woman had been severely disfigured from burns, and yet her husband remained with her because it was the contents, not the package that he loved. The conversation that followed largely discussed various angles of how people put importance on superficial elements when selecting their relationships/ marriage partners, and the complications that arise from that issue.
The reason I had personally already been thinking of a blog along these lines is because for some while I had been telling myself that I was going to wait until I was finished with my weight loss before I attempt dating, socializing more etc…and it finally dawned on me how backwards that was, and even the opposite of what I would advise someone! If anything, I think the extra squish that I currently have could serve the function of helping me to determine who is genuine, and who can truly see ME, and not just my packaging. I don’t want someone to desire me purely for my body, even if it seems like I have to perfect that element in order to be loved by someone. My body really has no part in who I truly am, and is only a temporary vehicle for my true self… and I know she is beautiful…scars and all. Yes, I am losing the weight for my health, and to achieve various other goals. It is not a matter of “if”, but rather “when”, that I will be down to a healthy weight and size. However, if I was to encounter a man who wanted to wait to pursue things until that day comes, or if someone were to brush me off, but then suddenly show-up and have interest once I am a smaller size….. that would be a huge red flag to me. It would indicate that they were putting importance on my appearance, and using that as the deciding factor instead of my heart, personality, intelligence, talents, passions, quirky humor… etc…So in a way, these pounds that I still have to lose perhaps are a little blessing in the form of helping me to truly see what a man places focus and importance on, and thus can assist in avoiding big mistakes.
Of course we all put some importance on whether we are attracted to someone we are considering for relationship potential, however the problem is when some people make it the number one factor…and then later seem confused when certain crucial elements do not fit, or are not even there. Physical lust creates the release of chemicals in the brain that manufacture a false sense of being in love—pretty much instantly, despite not even knowing the person. Oh those pesky chemicals ( which I wrote about in a previous blog!). They send people soaring, blind to reality, and make people over-look all the other missing elements because that chemical reaction convinces them it is all real, and it makes them feel sooo good. I personally advise clients to wait a good six months before making any crucial choices in their relationships for this very reason, it can sometimes take that long for those chemicals to die-off/reduce enough to determine if there is real connection, and if they truly love each other for who they are on the inside… and not just for the response to the physical, and image of what they want them to be. We would have drastically lower divorce rates if people were required to wait six months…heck, preferably a year.
Something that always causes me to scratch my head? People tend to worry about what OTHERS will think of them if they date/ marry someone deemed as less than perfect in appearance. So they put their aims on thinner, younger, prettier, taller, handsomer etc…. not understanding that often THAT is what will make other people roll their eyes, and see them as being superficial in their choices—the only people it impresses are other superficial people who we should not be concerned about, let alone emulating. The real truth, is that when others see a man with a woman who maybe is plump, has a handicap, or some kind of physical “imperfection”, THAT is when people think good thoughts about his character, see him as someone who truly loves the woman, and who is a good person who can look beyond the temporary package. People get it so backwards for petty reasons. Pretty faces can easily be found everywhere… but pretty faces can be deceptive and mask problematic content, and they are temporary. Good souls/ hearts are the true treasure, the elements that should truly be searched for… and are what will remain for eternity. It just does not make sense to put higher importance on having a few mortal years with a beautiful face/ body (before it ages/alters, no less), in trade for eternity with someone whose contents are not beautiful. Imagine choosing a pair of shoes and dismissing that they are too small, and that they chafe you raw….all because they are “really shiny and pretty”. Now imagine those as being the shoes that you will wear for eternity. I think most of us, if we were told we had to choose only one pair of shoes to wear for eternity…would want a nice comfy pair of sneakers that we know will fit us perfectly, will not pinch and rub, and that will truly last and allow us to move freely— go where we want to go, and do what we want to do. And yet, so often people reach for the six-inch shiny stilettos when looking for their mates.
I say all of this as someone who has heard (and read) the words, “I am worried others would think less of me if I was with you…..” No one should hear those words, let alone someone who is a good person ( who has not committed any crimes, or actively done something bad to legitimately cause concern in others)… simply because they are not considered physically beautiful enough to give the other some kind of perceived social-status gained by impressing others with what is holding their hand. Other people do not have to spend eternity with your choice, only you do.
Fortunately, I am older and wiser now…and know my own worth. Back then, it seemed natural to accept those words as true, and I even felt apologetic for not being more attractive. I blamed it on myself, saw it as my lacking…. when really it was his. Today, if someone were to say those words to me…..I would be out of the door before they could say anything else. It would be the ultimate display of true colors—not only putting their highest focus of value on the most superficial factor, but also putting higher importance on the assumed impressions others in passing “might” briefly have….instead of considering all the real factors and beauty that the person contains. What’s more, the people who make their choices of partners via those kind of criteria often end up with bad choice after bad choice, and can’t figure out why their relationships never last/ work. They do not understand that they need to choose a different type of person. Sometimes they don’t WANT to understand, and hope that eventually someone of “that type” will give them what they really need and crave. I go in circles with my clients who have this issue. Essentially….it is like eating a pretty cupcake that may initially give you a mouthful of sweet deceptive frosting, only the cake itself is made out of sawdust. Over, and over, you reach for the same cupcakes…and sputter and spit in bafflement, all the while ignoring the hearty muffins that actually would taste good, fill and sustain you etc…simply because they do not have the pretty frosting. Sawdust is not very digestible. Eventually it will make you sick, even if the frosting initially was sweet….but frosting won’t nourish, or fill you for very long.
Not long ago I saw a video of an experiment. Both a man and a woman made dating profiles, and set-up meetings with others. They then were made-up in “fat suits” for when they met those people. They were the same people as in their profiles and profile pictures, just they appeared heavier once they met with people in person. The experiment was to see if people could look past the physical/ the weight and to the real person, or if they would be superficial and ride the person off because they were over-weight. Most of the women were able to adjust, were understanding, and gave the man a chance….they laughed, danced with him, and even set-up future dates. Most of the men were downright rude to the woman, made outright comments about her appearance, and showed their obvious lack of interest in her beyond that. One left for the restroom, and never came back. The thing is, in real life, people live in fear of rejection due to physical imperfections…..they hold back from dating at all, or maybe only post pictures that are older, or only show their faces in the hopes that maybe someone will give them a chance, talk to them, and then like them enough to accept them when they reveal they are heavier. They do not want to deceive, but they have been hurt, and hope to find someone who can love them for who they truly are.. and who will look at them/value them as more than just a body. I counsel relationships. Over and over with online situations people express how worried they are that when they meet in-person the other will discard them due to not being happy with what they see…. regardless of how great their interactions have otherwise been. I can say, it is most typically the men who drop the women due to being disappointed with appearance. I rarely see scenarios of women passing on men for physical appearance reasons. Women are typically are more concerned if the guy was lying about being married, their age, criminal past, or some other type of scam—–things that truly do impact a relationship/ indicate a bad person. Being overweight does not make someone a bad, unworthy person.
Perhaps something to consider when we ourselves want to know whether we truly are in love with someone, just lusting/ riding the chemical high, or in love with the idea/ appearance of them? Truly picture them as being a hundred pounds heavier……and then ask if we still would want to spend eternity with them. It’s a visualization method to help us consider what is truly inside of a person, and if we love THAT, or if we are putting our focus on the external temporary factors of that individual. It has to be honestly done though to work, you truly have to consider it as something real, and try to focus on if the content and heart are truly the elements you would want if the body was different. Technically, people DO gain weight, lose hair, get wrinkles..so its not unreasonable to truly do that kind of visualization exercise.
The funny thing is? When we truly love someone for the beauty inside of them…it then transforms our complete view, and makes them beautiful on the outside as well. That is not a myth, it is very true. However, the same cannot be said in reverse. Once sour contents are discovered…what previously seemed so beautiful is transformed into something completely different for us. One of my favorite classic novels is “Jane Eyre”. The title character is not considered a beauty, but rather is seen by others as plain, solemn…something easily over-looked. However, hidden under the surface, Jane is a woman with keen intelligence, talent, strength…and a loving gentle soul despite a dark, lonely past. The leading male is not handsome, is not perfect….he broods, he is haunted, he is flawed…..and yet the two fall quietly in love via the resonating depth discovered within one another… and then see each other as being beautiful. Its not a dashing tale of gorgeous people having a mad passionate whirlwind of floaty, rushing, fantastical love… and heaving bosoms and throbbing loins…. but rather, it is a story that for once depicts what true love is, looks, and feels like. Time does not change that, it holds true.
For any who read this who may feel that others will not desire, or love them based on appearances/ superficial factors….try to instead tell yourself that you are blessed. When you find love, it will most likely be for real reasons, and for a true lasting bond based on the right factors….and anyone who rejects you, or passes-over you for surface-level reasons will be the ones who will truly experience loss, even if they are not able to understand that. Those who fall in “love” with outer-shells( and ignore what is missing, or wrong with the contents) are the ones who will experience the repetition of heartbreak in a long string of failed relationships, repeat the same mistakes with their choices, and will potentially spend their lives lonely and unfulfilled as they over, and over, again seek love from deceptive places where they will not be able to truly find it….unless they finally learn, see, and are able to change how they view others, and what their concept of love is. That may sound harsh, but that is what happens to most who do not learn to see (and value) what is truly important within people, most especially those they choose for romantic companionship. If that statement just offended anyone who read this, than maybe it would be a good thing to consider why you had that kind of reaction. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it is true nonetheless.
Close your eyes. Let your soul see their soul, and nothing else. That is what eternal choices should be based on.