I don’t know who they are, exactly. I do know that I am not one of them, or at least that’s what I’ve been told many, many times in my life. They get things and I don’t. Somehow they are more deserving than me, or at least that’s what I’ve been led to believe many, many times in my life. I envision Jennifer Aniston, who is indeed beautiful, but I don’t think any more deserving than, say, me. Or you.
In the naiveté of childhood I would say, “Mommy, I’d like a house like that some day,” or “I want to live in Paris some day”, and often these musings were met with the same response, “that’s for the beautiful people.” Was my mom calling me ugly? Or just undeserving? Was she being pragmatic, or instilling in me limiting beliefs? Both. I’m sure her intent was to soothe me, to reassure me, that a good enough life was good enough. A modest cookie cutter house in a curb and gutter neighborhood, a reliable, economical car, a job as a nurse and a husband not from divorced parents who watches TV at night and mows the lawn on the weekend. Those seemed to be her very practical hopes and dreams for me. Her expectations, even, as I spent much of my life enduring “should” storms. I should study this, I should say that, I should buy this kind of house, that kind of car, etc. Of course, none of it was what I wanted, but I’m wondering if what I wanted was the opposite of what she expected, just out of my own stubborn rebellion. Could be.
The beautiful people, I gather, are people who are wealthy, have multiple homes, travel extravagantly, drive exotic cars, dine outrageously and live luxuriously. The beautiful people can afford all the shoes they want! They can afford all the Louboutin’s they want! Beautiful people only hang out with other beautiful people. If I had to guess. And I can’t be part of the club, according to my mom. Ever. I’m just NOT one of the beautiful people.
But, in my stubborn rebellion, I refuse to believe that. I AM in the same club as the beautiful people, I have a lot in common with them! We are like THIS! I have 206 bones in my body. So do the beautiful people. I inhale and my body uses some of the oxygen in the air and when I exhale I breathe out carbon dioxide. So do the beautiful people. If I drink too much wine I get weird. So do the beautiful people. If I wear new shoes and walk a lot, I get blisters. So do the beautiful people. I require a bit of sleep every night. So do the beautiful people. If I cut myself I bleed. So do the beautiful people. I am a human being, capable of endless possibilities and limited only by my beliefs. So are the beautiful people.
I hope I raised my own children to believe they are the beautiful people, capable of anything they set their minds to, empowered, unlimited. I know my parents had all the best intentions in the world in raising me, and, truthfully, I am grateful for them. With the exception of being automatically disqualified from the beautiful people club. Because now, at this advanced stage in life, I still want to be part of the club, and I have to battle those limiting beliefs that I am just not one of them, that I am somehow different or less deserving. But you know what? I don’t have a modest cookie cutter house in a curb and gutter neighborhood, a reliable, economical car, a job as a nurse and a husband not from divorced parents who watches TV at night and mows the lawn on the weekend. I lied. I do have a reliable, economical car, but I desperately want to trade it in on something a little flashier. My point is, I have rebelled against every other expectation, so why not the expectation that I’m not one of the beautiful people?
Limiting beliefs compromise our potential. They prevent us not only from achieving our potential, but from even recognizing the potential of or our potential. Most of us never come close to what we are truly capable of learning, doing, sharing. Just think, for a moment; if we were all limitless, do you think we’d still be struggling with a cure for cancer? For AIDS? Do you think our economy would be a shambles? Our political system devoid of true and worthy leaders? If we all reached a quarter of our potential, the world would be unrecognizable, I’m sure, from what we see today. And yet, only the bravest and most motivated of us will spend the better part of our lives trying to crawl out from under our learned or, often, self-imposed, limitations, leaving very little time left in life to accomplish great things. The single best thing we can do to turn the Titanic around is to teach our young people that they are unlimited. There are, indeed, many beautiful people out there who came from very limited situations, never claimed those limits as their own, and became those beautiful people.
I know I am going to battle against any and every limitation, learned, or self-imposed, in order to achieve something worthwhile and meaningful in this world. It’s more than a material conquest to me, oh no, I desperately want to make a difference! And the difference I’d like to make is to help people identify and discard their limitations and become beautiful people along with me. You, me, and Jen Aniston. Beautiful people.