Through a Jungian Lens

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Body Image and Beauty

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He doesn't know he's beautiful

He doesn’t know he’s beautiful

I know that it is Thursday and I had intended to write about Tibetan Buddhism, but things change. I have to admit that I ran into a wall, bruising my ego in the process with the attempt. So, it is time to step back and perhaps go “lite” for a change.

As most of my readers are now aware, I am on a break from the snow and cold of winter in Mexico. Each day I am lucky enough to wake up to birds just outside my little studio. There are a few regulars who like to join me in my morning coffee routine as they put in an appearance on a near by tree or shrub, regulars such as this Oriole. His cap is darker than his body, more orange than yellow. He is a beautiful bird.

Of course, that got me thinking, do birds think they are beautiful? It’s a silly question, I know. Birds don’t have the same level of consciousness as does a human. It is extremely unlikely that there is the same issue of body image that we find in humans. They simply instinctively pose for potential mates and nature takes care of the rest. If anything, birds assume that they are beautiful in terms of being able to attract a mate.

Humans somehow become obsessed with how others see them. The general belief is that, especially if one is a male, one is not beautiful. Of course, the same can be said about females. The fashion industry and body image industry are constantly assaulting us with all sorts of messages that we are not beautiful unless we buy their product or service.

Humans seem to blithely overlook the obvious – in spite of our self-beliefs, we find mates. And, we wonder “What do the see in me?” Beauty is not on the surface. What attracts us is not the perfect shape or weight or fashion, but the unconscious reflections of our denied self. We fall in love with character and potential and our projected self. So much for worrying about body image. Being human is about being beautiful just as we are.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

January 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm

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