Pretty Happy



This is lovely. I am glad Audrey said this. She was always beautiful and wise. It’s not the most important thing in the world to be pretty. It can open many doors, but it can also close them for you. And though many people might long to be pretty or handsome they would probably prefer to be happy.

As I get older I know I am trading my youthful looks for happiness and I wouldn’t want to go back. Where I find a photo of me that I dislike it’s always one where I am not smiling. I find myself examining flaws. In the photos where I am grinning from ear to ear, I see shining eyes and a lopsided smile but I can’t help react to the smile, even if it’s only on paper. We are preprogrammed to like smiles.

Someone at University once told me this truth also; the best beauty secret is a smile. I’ve seen it in reverse also, where I was feeling really down and went to a party. I might as well have had a sign on my forehead saying ‘Avoid this woman. Save yourself’. How many excuses are there to move away? I learned a few that night.

I have done a lot of online dating since my marriage broke up and when you sift through hundreds of faces looking to see who you might be attracted to, the smile is the most important factor. There can be three of four photos of someone who is not smiling and I wonder if they are ashamed of their teeth or if its their serious personality shining through.

So why are we attracted to the people who are smiling? Why do we find them ‘prettier’? If we are all looking for acceptance then someone smiling has either accepted themselves and are happy at this point so are more likely to accept you or they smile at you with instant acceptance, which is the nicest feeling. Smiling is universal – every race and culture on earth recognises a smile. If someone is smiling one can assume they are radiating good energy at that point, so that’s another reason to be attracted and find them prettier. It would draw you close.

I smile a lot and I mean a LOT. I am smiling now. I read a business book recently where a shoe company preferred to employ people like me and then described us as ‘Whack jobs’. Fantastic! I love that description. I’d rather be the crazy in the loony bin with the big smile. As Dudley Moore said in the movie Arthur, “sometimes I just think funny things”. I find life pretty funny if you look at it in a certain way. The things we do are funny. Comedians have endless fodder in the everyday.

At 16 I first learned this lesson. I met a girl who was unattractive by most rules. And yet she was fighting the boys off. It’s common knowledge that people will be attracted by looks but hang around only if there is personality to go with it. And sometimes the best looking ones don’t always have personality because they haven’t had to develop any in order to attract admirers. The truth is that personality really is the best attractor or the one that brings people together anyway.

So I will continue being a whack job. I will keep collecting those wrinkles and if I can throw in some laughter too all the better. Just find what you enjoy on YouTube (try this – thanks Yaz’s commenter and use it like beauty treatment. We are all stunning!!

PS On I learned about an experiment where people had to hold a pencil in their mouths which simulated smiling by using the same muscles. By measuring their saliva they could tell that doing this fake smile lowered stress levels. Imagine what a real smile would do! Smiling yet?


Unlimited Imagination

…Do not imagine there is anything
Limited about you –  Damon Gautama

How can something be limited ‘about us’? We usually say we are limited ‘by’ things – time, money, physical attributes, energy, connections etc. How we see these limits is up to us.

I went to a talk last year in Sydney where young artists in different fields talked about how each of their art was limited by something and they said it made them more creative, not less. For the first (video) artist, the limit was time. He and his little team had to come up with 30 seconds of prime time TV each day – which of course took 24 hours to complete. He said the limit forced them to focus, nut out the most important thing to do next and think on their feet. It fuelled their creativity, having to make quick decisions and brainstorm together!

What he said stuck in my mind so I tried it recently. As writing is crowding out my painting time at the moment, I decided to limit myself and paint for only 5 minutes a day. For now I paint only essences, not things. No detail. I have to drop my perfectionism. It forces me to look for essences in life, not only in art. I can always go back to studying detail later.

(See the difference in images – I am a beginner, by the way).

Anyway I digress. The other artists were limited by money (using crowdfunding forced them to think about what they were trying to achieve and put it in writing to attract funds), technology and safety issues (a large spaceship like installation at a music festival had to be interesting, large enough to be a meeting point and impervious to drunk climbers), and space – a massive installation in the reception of a corporate office.

The point was that all of them welcomed the limits, which surprised them and dispelled my beliefs. It gave them confidence in a way and forced them to focus; to find their own essence. They welcomed being limited ‘by’ things.

But back to the quote. Damon is saying that there is nothing limited ‘about us’. Huge difference.

We may imagine that we are limited both by things and ourselves but we are not. He says not to imagine it which suggests it’s all in our imagination.

How freeing, how powerful it makes me feel, when I think about having nothing in my way, not even myself. I will concentrate now on getting out of my own way!

Thank you Damon for showing me that this invisible barrier, my limits, doesn’t exist. It existed only in my imagination. It’s up to me to realise my own potential now that there is nothing stopping me.