“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
―Roald Dahl, The Twits
I came across this quote the other day and I absolutely love it. I started thinking about the moments in life when we feel the ugliest–the moments when we look into the mirror and all we see is the Beast.
These words, however, made me think about the ways in which our feelings follow our thoughts. We usually feel ugly in response to the negative dialogue running through our heads. Thoughts that tell us we are worthless, fatally flawed, and beyond hope of repair. Oftentimes, the world can act as a cynical mirror. Looking into it day after day, all we hear is: You are not the fairest in the land. Heck, you are not even that great of a person. You are ugly, inside and out.
The worst part is, we start judging others by these ridiculous standards. We find ourselves measuring them against a criteria of perfection that we are unable to attain. And the more we do it, the worst we feel. The poison of perfectionism eats at our hearts. Vanity is a vacuum. Like the evil queen in Snow White illustrates, it literally sucks the life out of you.
The more I thought about the fairy tale of perfection, the more I realized that some of my favourite literary characters are actually the ones that are imperfect. People have often critiqued Disney for setting unrealistic standards for beauty. I guess it depends on whether you find the princes and princesses to be the most beautiful characters in the stories.
Personally, I can tell you that I prefer the other characters. I love the chubby Gus-Gus in Cinderella and the plump little fairy godmother. I love the seven dwarves with their wonky noses, crooked mouths, double chins, and stuck out teeth. They fill my mind with such beautiful thoughts!
I mean, think about it. The most beautiful characters in these stories are often the best helpers. They are the encouragers. The people who make the heroes successful in their journeys. Scuttle, Sebastian, Flounder, Lumière, Clocksworth, Mrs. Pots, Genie, Abu, Flora, Fauna, and MerryWeather…they are the sunshine on the dark days. They fill our worlds with magic.
There is a reason that Belle is able to fall in love with the Beast. When he stops acting like a beast, she stops seeing him as one. The transformation occurs long before that Hollywood kiss. The Beast starts having good thoughts. These shine out from his head and his claws prior to that dramatic scene where sunbeams literally escape from his limbs and he is restored to human form.
One of the truly magical moments of existence occurs when we are able to see past each other’s imperfections. In fact, many times we come to cherish that wonky nose, those stuck out teeth, and that crooked grin. Our standards for beauty are re-defined by the radiant person we see in front of us. When faced with that kind of light, we experience real transformation. The mirror cracks and we are able to see into the world behind it. The world where life is so much more than physical appearance.
That is why I have put pictures of Jimmy Durante up with this post. He is my cover-man for the day. Think of what a loss it would have been for the world never to have witnessed the joy of that beautiful man with the wonky nose! We love that nose, just as we love the man behind it. Throughout his career he used it to “make people happy.” Just like the song he often sung.
So, when preparing to face the world today, make sure to put on some beautiful thoughts. Unlike most make-up products, they do not cover-up anything. On the contrary, they reveal something significant. They reveal you.
Remember the ultimate beauty secret: a person who has beautiful thoughts can never be ugly.