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Beauty: It’s Vitally Important!

I often tell Michael, “Beauty is the twelfth commandment. Cleanliness is Commandment #11 because ‘cleanliness is next to godliness,’ and Beauty is Commandment #12.” He usually rolls his eyes and changes the subject. While I admit that aesthetics probably matter too much to me, I think they’re more important than our twenty-shades-of-beige-heroin-chic culture gives them credit for.

Now, before I go any further, the Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with your physical looks i.e. the roll of the genetic dice. I firmly believe that everyone is beautiful. If your soul is good, your face and especially your eyes will be beautiful. Full stop.

Conversely, if you have good aesthetic genetics, that’s no excuse to rest on your laurels. “Oh, I have {good feature}, so I don’t have to do anything with myself.” Wrong! As Monroe Crossing fiddler Lisa Fuglie says, “Every barn needs a little paint.” And that’s coming from a woman who once lost her make-up bag and played a full concert made up with a red crayon she found at the bottom of her purse! That’s the spirit, Lisa!

When I say beauty, I’m referring to a choice. Dennis Prager is fond of saying, “Happiness is a serious problem” and I believe that “Beauty is a serious problem” too.

You don’t have to look at yourself. But I do. And I want to feel joy when I set eyes on you. I want to say to myself, “Wow! They really ‘do’ themselves up nicely. They really care.” I want to be fascinated and have a lot to look at. I want you to elevate yourself and respect me by giving me someone nice and clean and aesthetically pleasing to look at. I want you to  exploit all your best attributes and take advantage of your best features.

As I said in my Mindset of Deprivation article, it’s not about money. It’s about choices.

I’ve been around some people who throw on a filthy, ugly t-shirt and scrape greasy, stringy hair into a ponytail with dirty hands with raggedy fingernails. That’s the extent of their grooming for the day. Take it or leave it. They disrespect themselves and they disrespect me, the poor slob who’s gotta look at them. Personally, it would’ve been quicker and less painful if they’d just slapped me across the face and gotten it over with.

“But, Lenora,” you say, “they live in poverty.”

“Yes,” Lenora replies, “and it’s no excuse.”

They’re alive ergo they have access to water. Toiletries are free at foodshelves. Soap + water = clean hair if you choose to take the trouble. I can say that because we had barely any water and no hot water for the first three months in this cottage. But we were clean! I’ve taken plenty of ice cold bucket baths.

They have a T-shirt. It came from somewhere, probably, a thrift store. They could have chosen a cute one. The ugly one and the cute one cost the same amount of money. Again, a choice.

Unfortunately, some of these very same people who claim poverty to excuse slovenliness somehow seem to find money for self-destructive habits. So I’m not buying the poverty excuse. You can get toiletries, soaps, shampoos, nail brushes, emery boards, even make-up for pennies on the dollar at any thrift store, for $1 or $2 at Family Dollar or even free at foodshelves.

Now before you call me a snob, let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, my Michael spent over two years walking this great land on foot. The concept was much like the walkabouts Australian aborigines take when they come of age or need to figure out a thorny problem. Hit the dusty trail and do your thinking on the hoof.

Michael was trying to leave the horror of his growing-up years behind but, as he says, “Every new city is great at first. But then the pain catches up with you again.”

Even though he was sleeping rough on park benches, in forests and in ditches (a snake once crawled into his sleeping bag and spooned with him), Michael was always neat, always clean, always sweet-smelling. He had a haircut every two weeks. Carried soap in his backpack and washed and shaved in gas station bathrooms or in frigid secluded mountain streams while fishing for his breakfast. His Salvation Army change of clothes he washed in lakes. No one could tell by looking that he didn’t know where his next meal was coming from. The Good Lord always provided.

That’s what I mean: aesthetics, cleanliness, beauty are a choice. A very important choice. A choice he continues to take today regardless of how horrific his pain. A shower stool really helps.

When you look good, you make me feel good. But more importantly, when you look good, you make yourself feel wonderful.

“But, but, Lenora,” you say, “I have five kids. I don’t have time for this.”

“Do you have time to take a crap?” I ask you. Then you have time to throw in a pincurl or two, draw eyeliner, slap on lipstick and squirt perfume. Multi-tasking, Honey. That’s nothing new to busy mothers. Or to quote Marty Crane, “Use the can like the rest of the world.” Where do you think I do my make-up!? 😉 Clean hands, of course.

I’ve gotta give credit to my mother and her mother before her. They were women who wouldn’t be caught dead taking out a bag of garbage without deep cranberry lipstick carefully applied. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Every single day, even though no one sees me except the dogs, the cats, the odd squirrel and Michael, I put on my makeup and curl my hair. Most of the time, my nails are polished. Even on extremely busy days, I still gussie up, sometimes just in time to go to bed (to Michael’s huge amusement!) but I do it out of principle.

Even when money was incredibly tight, I still managed. I recycled old make-up or found very cheap cosmetics. No one knows if you’re wearing $38 Chanel lipstick or $2 Family Dollar lipstick and you can guess which one I’m wearing! (Actually, it’s NYC lipstain. Won’t kiss off.)

Recently, as my Mindset of Deprivation began to fade away, I began to realize that the aesthetics I’d always drooled over but considered way, waaaaaaaaaay out of my league, could actually be mine. I refer, of course, to the 1940s/50s. Call me kooky but I’ve always thought those two decades were the pinnacle of feminine beauty. The hair, the makeup, the clothes…exquisite! I mean! Check out the photo of Greer Garson at the beginning of this article. I don’t have words for how beautiful she is.

Thanks to a few friends and a whole lot of Googling and comparison shopping, I was shocked to find that for just $13, I could have that rockabilly dress I’d always wanted. I could either spend that $13 on a plain shirt I hate or on a dress I love. Same goes for the 1940s hairstyle and make-up techniques. It’s about choices and effort. Not money.

That’s what I’m trying to say: Beauty Is A Choice! You’re gonna pay the same amount so why not choose something beautiful vs something ugly!? The more 1940s I go, the more people smile when they see me. When they look happy, it makes me happy, conversations start and I feel more a part of my community than I ever did before. Very odd how that’s worked out! I thought looking different would be off-putting. Apparently not! I’ve barely changed how I “do” my appearance. “It’s like people are responding to me just thinking about the 1940s,” I tell a bemused Michael.

The same goes for your home. I’m befuddled by the amount of YouTube videos shot at people’s homes that show no art, no decor, no motif, no cute curtains, no knick-knacks, no houseplants, no soul in the background. Your home is your castle, your sanctuary. Should it not also be beautified!?!

It doesn’t have to cost much. That’s what thrift stores are for! In our whole cottage, only four items were purchased new…and that was before I knew any better! But it has soul, Baby! Heck! Even our pets are second-hand.

Beauty: It’s important. It’s a magnanimous gift you give yourself and give others. Do it to respect yourself and respect others. Give everyone the gift of you lookin’ good. The gift of aesthetics. The gift of smiles. The gift of joy.

Photo by twm1340

Beauty: It’s Vitally Important!

Lenora Thompson

For five years, "Narcissism Meets Normalcy" has followed the real-life, ongoing story of freelance writer, Lenora Thompson, and her readers’ healing journey from narcissistic abuse to healing, peace and happiness. In August 2020, Lenora launched a new blog, "Beyond Narcissism…And Getting Happier All the Time" as she and her readers explore the new world of peace and happiness. "Beyond Narcs…Get Happy" is 100% reader supported! To learn more about Lenora, her husband Michael’s heroic fight against Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis and to subscribe to her other writings, please visit Thank you!

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APA Reference
Thompson, L. (2019). Beauty: It’s Vitally Important!. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Dec 2019
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