Does ugliness exist or is it a made up villainous construct designed to hold you back, keep you hemmed in, keep you rooted in fear? Because when you’re in fear, overwhelmed and controlled by it to a grand scale, it can be difficult, almost impossible in fact, to see the holistic beauty of your life and of others. Panic steals you from presence and takes you to a fiction of a place, a twisted version of reality, which impacts your decisions and values, your actions and plans, your ethics and politics and even your health and vitality.
My good friend, Nicole Sachs, says that we are either being controlled by fear or motivated by love. We seem to live bouncing between these two points of reference. Fear closes down, denies, subtracts, separates, panics, floods the nervous system with non stop cortisol and adrenaline. Weighs the spirit down with catastrophes and dread, fills the imagination with worst case scenarios, suspicion, comparisons and the need to control. Nicole also says: “The need for control is just fear in fancy clothes.”
I think the concept of ugliness is a mechanism for control born of fear and scarcity that needs certainty and absolutes to feel good, accepted, worthy, and loved. Ultimately, the results of the use of this mechanism and ideas of ugliness are what have born the ugly into the world. If sin is what divides and separates then grace is what unites and mends. If fear is the driving force behind confusion and violence and panic and disconnection, then love must be what clarifies and heals and equalises and connects.
Ugliness is whatever keeps you from yourself, from seeing your life as a miracle and a wonder, from being here, now, present in the moment. Ugliness is what happens when we fail each other and the earth by not showing up to the beauty in others and the world. What is ugly is how we’ve been taught to disregard ourselves and each other, live disconnected and at war, believing that some are worth more than others and that we’re owed and that their stories don’t matter as much as ours and so we take and we take, we’re taken from, treated like we don’t matter.
Ugly is a matter of spirit, of the heart, of culture and dogma. It’s a mechanism of control whose purpose is to keep you small, afraid, and distracted from the expansive, creative, divine beauty that is both in you and who you are, that is in others too and the vibrant story we create when we come together in love and wonder. A person is never ugly; a person cannot be ugly. What is ugly is the way a person is made to believe they’re not beautiful; the way we’ve been made to believe that others aren’t beautiful; the way we’ve been taught to disregard the beauty of the earth and all her wonders.
My love, my friend, may you find your freedom from this ugliness and be assured, you are not ugly. You are beautiful. You don’t diminish ugliness by trying to make yourself up to some kind of standard of beauty. You defy ugly by loving yourself. By witnessing the wonder of your life in awe and grace. By loving others and witnessing their life in awe and grace. By loving the earth and witnessing the life within it and on it in awe and grace. Rebel against the concept and idea of ugly by finding beauty everywhere you go, including amongst all the hidden and holy parts of yourself.
Words of healing and wisdom from Liz Melani, the Practice Co. This weekly series is called The Blessed Life. Here’s a mindful prompt: The concept of ugliness is a mechanism for control born of fear and scarcity. We defy this flawed and damaging ideology of ugly by loving ourselves and others and finding beauty in all the places weíve been told it can’t possibly reside.