“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” – Confucius, philosopher
“She puts up with me!”
George was a short, stout man with black hair circling his skull, emphasizing the naked dome in the middle of his scalp. He had a handsome face with high prominent cheek bones and sparkling blue eyes. As well, he projected a friendly manner…an easy man to like.
George had been married to Germaine for over ten years and they had no children. George worked in land conservation for the provincial government while Germaine was a aesthetician who ran her own shop in town.
George booked the consultation only saying he was confused about “an important matter.” During the opening discussion where I collected a brief history, he told me he was very devoted to Germaine and they had a “good” relationship.
When I asked him what made it so “good” for him he replied that Germaine was a very tolerant person and was “good” to him. When I asked him how she was “good” to him he said,
“She puts up with me!”
“George, what exactly does she put up with from you?”
“I love her Ken, I don’t infatuate her!”
“Ken, Germaine is not just in the beauty business…she is a beautiful woman as well!”
“What is her form of beauty, George?”
“There are so many forms. She is physically very attractive. She is very intelligent, she has run her own business successfully for many years. She is kind and considerate to others. She has lots of friends. And, she is close to her family.”
“That sounds like your are infatuating Germaine…that handicaps you George!”
George looked astounded by my comment. He sat back in his chair and stared at me like I had just poured a bucket of water over his head. Finally he said,
“I love her Ken, I don’t infatuate her!”
“These are often confused by many people, George. If we put someone on a pedestal then we usually put ourselves in a pit! It is disrespectful to us and to them. And, it is not true!” I said wondering if he was ready this soon for this much information.
“I’m a short, fat, bald civil servant.”
George looked down for a moment at the floor at his feet. Then, he offered this,
“Ken, I’m not George Clooney! I know my limitations. I see myself in the mirror every morning. I know Germaine is doing me a favour being with me.”
“I don’t doubt that at all, George! But, you are also doing her a favour as well!”
“Look at me! I’m a short, fat, bald civil servant. She is a beautiful, intelligent, successful businesswoman.” he said, his self loathing and frustration bursting forth.
“Can I offer you an idea to think about for a moment?”
“Sure, but it isn’t going to make me a George Clooney.” he said, sarcastically.
“Have you heard the saying, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ George? Or as the author H.G. Wells phrased it, ‘Beauty is in the heart of the beholder.’”
“Sure I have, but I‘ve always thought it was a load of crap!” he replied, sustaining his frustration with himself.
“George you mentioned you haven’t children. I’m wondering if you have a pet…perhaps a dog or cat?” I asked.
“In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.” – Christopher Morley, author
“… Winston is like our child.”
“Actually we do have a dog named, Winston!” he said brightening up.
“What breed of dog is Winston?”
“He’s a bulldog. I guess Churchill had one and that’s how we came up with his name.”
“My guess would be that Winston is cherished by you and Germaine, is that accurate?”
“Ken, Winston is like our child. He is six now and a vital part of our life!” George replied smiling to himself with pride.
“George, I’ve learned everyone and everything has every trait, including beauty, in some unique form… it really is in the eye of the viewer. It doesn’t matter if it is considered a good trait or a bad trait, everyone and everything has some form of it.”
“That’s a little confusing to me. Would you give me an example?”
“Sure! Let’s use Winston. What is it that Winston does that endears him to you the most, George?”
“That’s an easy question. Every morning, without fail, he is waiting anxiously for me to pet him when I come downstairs.”
“What trait is that you see in him at that moment?”
“I guess I would call it loyalty. Germaine says he is my dog, not hers, because he only does this to me. So, I would say he is loyal to me.”
“Germaine teases me saying he just wants his breakfast. But I see it as loyalty.”
“Why is his loyalty so important to you, George? Where did you learn to value loyalty so much?”
“That’s an interesting question. As I think about it, I used to play a lot of sports and I had this great coach who talked a lot about team loyalty. And, as a kid when my parents divorced, I struggled with my divided loyalties. It probably comes from those experiences.” he said,
“Can you see how someone might view his loyalty to you as a form of beauty…a beautiful thing?” I asked.
“Well…that would include me! Germaine teases me saying he just wants his breakfast. But I see it as loyalty.”
Let’s go a step farther. What is ugly about Winston?” I asked George wondering if he was ready to take that next step.
“That’s easy too! He drools constantly over everything and everybody! It’s repulsive …even to me at times. And, Germaine says bull dogs are the ugliest dogs on earth…mostly I think to annoy me because she loves Winston, too!”
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.” – Audrey Hepburn, actress
“…I don’t see how she could possibly view me as beautiful…”
“So you and Germaine see different traits in Winston based on your own unique past experiences…can you see that?”
“Yes I can. I never noticed that before…in that way.” he said the insight appearing on his face, surprising him.
“Do you see how that same process is going on in your relationship to Germaine? Can you see how because of her life experiences, she can see beauty, intelligence and success in you in forms you may not recognize or appreciate?” I asked him.
“It kind of makes sense…but I don’t see how she could possibly view me as beautiful?” he asked still skeptical.
“George, do you know the famous actress, Sophia Loren, who was, for many years, considered to be the most beautiful woman on the movie screen? In fact, she is still acting today at 81 years of age.”
“Yes, I have!”
“She was married to Carlo Ponti, a movie producer. Carlo was a rather short, stout, bald man. When people heard they got married, many knew the beauty Carlo saw in Sophia, but not the beauty Sophia saw in him.”
“Yes, I think I saw a picture of them together. And, wasn’t he older than her as well?” he asked.
“Yes he was. Yet, they were together for almost 50 years until his death. They had two children and four grandchildren. So, George, Sophia must have been able to see Carlo’s forms of beauty.”
“Are you saying Germaine must see some forms of beauty in me to be in our relationship?” he asked getting the idea.
“George, I’m less concerned with her seeing your beauty, I’m sure she could tell me it if I asked. What concerns me more is in you recognizing your own forms of beauty.”
“Well…I really don’t see them!”
“Beauty is truth’s smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.”
-Rabindranath Tagore, poet
“I just had a very narrow definition of beauty.”
“George, are you aware there are at least seven forms of beauty?” I asked.
“No! How can there be seven?”
“Let me offer you some examples. There is spiritual beauty like in the enthusiasm of a young child. There is mental beauty in an inquisitive mind…remember the movie, A Beautiful Mind. There is vocational beauty when someone does a beautiful job, such as in making furniture or making music. There is financial beauty when you balance your checkbook or pay off a debt. There is social beauty when you’re appreciated by a close friend. There is familial beauty in spending time with your family. And, there is a physical beauty in a person with a symmetrical body or a healthy exercise regime.”
“So, I’m not recognizing my own forms of beauty. Is that what you’re saying?”
“That’s what I’m wondering.”
George sat quietly in silence for a few minutes. He seemed to be reviewing what we had discussed. I waited. Then he said,
“When I was a kid, my mom was forever telling me I had beautiful eyes. And, my supervisor, just a few months ago, told me I did a beautiful job chairing a difficult staff meeting at the office. And, even Germaine once remarked I had a beautiful relationship with Winston. As I think about it now, I guess I do have the beauty trait. I just had a very narrow definition of beauty.”
“George, the task ahead, I recommend to you, is to broaden your perception of yourself. I can show you how to do it…it is simply focused accelerated learning. Once you have completed that work, you will understand better why Germaine is with you and you will create a healthier, more balanced and long lasting relationship. Are you ready to do that?”
“Yes, I’m game! Let’s do it, Ken!”
“Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you’re most beautiful.”
– Zoe Kravitz, actress
Until Next time…
Now you know, all traits, including beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. So, whatever trait you want but think you don’t have, go find it in the form you haven’t been noticing or appreciating. And whatever trait you want your partner to have, go find it in the form you haven’t been noticing or appreciating. Then, uncover how it serves you in that very form. You will then be on your journey toward appreciation of yourself and others.
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
Further information: www.kenpiercepsychologist.com