Shortly after my great-nephew Shep turned 6-months, his parents Dave and Sylvia took him to the Cannes Film Festival. They go every year for work.
Prior to going, Shep needed a passport.
Dave and Sylvia shared Shep’s passport photo with me. It was impressive. He’s debonair. His smile, attire, and demeanor are all delightful.
I’m not so impressed when I look at photos of myself. In my passport photo, I’m wearing prison-issue denim. Between that and the dull, sullen look in my eyes, I resemble an escaped convict.
It seems when we look at photos of ourselves, we automatically look for flaws. We do the same thing when we look in the mirror, seeking wrinkles, pimples and other imperfections.
Mirrors help us know if we’ve got spinach in our teeth. But we get carried away with judgment about our looks. We compare ourselves with impossible standards – what we should look like or what we used to look like.
Shep is different. He’s thrilled by his looks and unfettered by judgement. He’s not subject to arbitrary rules of what is attractive or not.
We too can choose to love our looks like an innocent child.
We have the capacity to relinquish thoughts of what we should be and simply delight in what is. Our wrinkles are badges of honor. Our frown lines inspire compassion. Our imperfect bodies invoke delight in the comedy of being.
It takes practice. But if you learn to love your looks, you’ll learn to love your life. If you learn to love your life, you’ll learn to love your looks.
What arbitrary standards prevent you from loving your looks? How can you learn to love your looks and your life?