This post is going to be a little complicated.
Imagine. There’s a person who is very upset about their appearance, and for a long time they have worried about whether they can make it better, and how to live a happy life if they can’t change it. Naturally, they turn to the internet. Some articles confirm the commonly accepted knowledge that your appearance is crucial to how your life turns out because of evolution, while other articles offer platitudes and remind the reader that when they are older it won’t matter as much. Years pass, countless articles are read, and many attempts at changing their appearance are made. There is significant progress and people treat them in a more positive way, but still they don’t have an answer. Until one day, they felt they did.
It wasn’t a perfect answer, it missed out a number of variables, but it was life changing. They were no longer afraid of growing old out of fear that things would get worse, and they were no longer afraid that they would be unlovable because of their appearance. At last, they felt peace.
I can’t guarantee that what I am about to say will help you or that it will be easy to understand. Just know, that it made an incredible difference to someone who was afraid like so many of us are when it comes to our appearances and whether we are capable of being loved.
There are things you should know.
Love Can Be ‘Transcendent’
It is possible to create a less conditional from of love in a relationship, and this means that getting old isn’t an issue. This type of love does not rely on your appearance as much as the love you have in the beginning of the relationship and it is not directly derived from your appearance.
Romantic relationships develop over time and it is possible to think of them in terms of stages. You might categorise relationships according to how long they have lasted and whether certain actions have been performed like getting married, living together and starting a family. There is another way to categorise relationships. Over time more passionate romantic love is replaced by companionate love. Some people see the shift from romantic love to companionate love, categorised by intimacy, affection and commitment, as a bad thing. It’s not. Companionate love is part of the answer, and explains why people in older couples can still love each other deeply.
The less conditional form of love that can relieve you of many of your fears is based on companionate love. It is a type of companionate love that is created in a certain way. Psychologist John Gottman has studied what makes relationships work for over four decades and has looked at thousands of couples. Gottman has conducted a myriad of studies using different methodology, and by observing interactions in couples was able to predict with up to a 94% accuracy whether couples would divorce or not several years later. The behaviour of successful couples is the key to creating the less conditional form of love.
To create a less conditional form of love, the sort of love that elderly couples who are madly in love have, you need the right mindset and approach when it comes to relationships. You and your partner also need a certain degree of emotional stability.
In the simplest sense Gottman found that the key to lasting relationships, and therefore companionate love, was kindness. A sort of kindness that results in positive reactions to your partner’s bids for attention and interaction. This means that when your partner says something you generally respond in an engaged and positive way. Relationships where both both partners were kind, and emotionally stable, had a high probability of success. It is likely that this sort of kindness results from having an attitude that allows individuals to consistently respond in this way.
I believe that the key to this attitude is acceptance. Imagine that there is an ambitious and hardworking man, who is intensely logical but at times emotionally detached and unavailable. You can imagine that certain strengths, in this case ambition and rationality, tend to accompany certain weaknesses. Creative people tend to be messy and disorganised whilst more structured people can be more averse to change. Understanding this allows you to truly accept people for who they are and if you accept people then you will understand that weaknesses are part of the package and are intrinsic to what you love about your partner, and what makes your partner great. Once you accept your partner then it is easier to respond with kindness when it comes to their failings and quirks. In this way acceptance can help you develop an attitude of kindness towards those you love. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t accept just anyone, in order to achieve a lasting relationship your partner must accept and respond positively to you too.
To put it simply you can attain a relationship where you are loved irrespective of your appearance through mutual kindness and acceptance, which likely results from a positive attitude towards your partner. This means that while you might need a certain level of attractiveness to acquire a partner, you don’t need to look exceptional, you do not need to be attractive to be truly loved in the long term.
The key to feeling unlovable is kindness, and a little bit of work.
How You Look Doesn’t Determine How Valuable You Are
Your appearance, if it is problematic, can make life seem almost unlivable. It can hinder your chances of forming relationships, getting employed and being respected. Despite this, logically speaking, it does not determine what you contribute to this world. It is possible to inspire others, develop talents and add value to the world irrespective of your appearance. In this way, while your appearance may influence your lot, motivation and determination will allow you to succeed and add value to the world irrespective of it.
Ultimately, your appearance doesn’t determine how valuable you are.
Many of Your Insecurities Are Baseless
I have come to realise that many of my insecurities are irrational. At one point my severe acne and rosacea, in addition to my other health problems, made life extremely difficult. People would insult me in the street almost daily, eggs were thrown at me from cars, shop clerks ignored and on occasion derided me, people in the street looked at me with disgust, my boyfriend who was settling finally left me, and children asked what was wrong with my face. Beyond this, before and after this, I was still unattractive but the disadvantages were mostly invisible. Just a person born blind may never lament missing something they have never known, for the most part, I didn’t lament my lack of attractiveness. I was truly accepted for who I was in my first relationship despite my appearance and I made friends quickly and easily. Despite my abusive home life I acquired good grades and did well given the situation. Ultimately despite my issues I have been truly loved, assisted and cared for by my father, most of my siblings, my first partner and my nicer ex boyfriend. Suffering from the very worst parts of our lives can colour how we see our past, present and future.
You may well find that on inspection, many of your insecurities are baseless.
Think about it.