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    She's Beautiful

           Most women have no idea how attractive they are. American culture conditions women to be uber-critical of their appearance from the time they are old enough to stand up and look in a mirror. The media barrage to look a certain way is constant, unrelenting, and obsessive. Beauty is stringently defined, and that restrictive definition is mercilessly reinforced.
           Men don’t help the cause. In fact, it can be argued that we created it; advertising and media have traditionally been male dominated industries. But more than that, the vast majority of men are not complimentary of, or effusive with, their intimate female partners. Most men are conditioned to believe that to be too demonstrative towards women, with words or actions, to express how beautiful you find them, is somehow emasculating.
           I grew up with a different role model. My father was an emotional, demonstrative man who showed his love openly, effusively, and often. To men and women. My dad didn’t usually hold back how he felt. He expressed it. Although my dad was an engineer by training and a successful businessman, he was in his heart an artist. He integrated artistry into his life constantly, in a myriad of wonderful ways.
           This apple didn’t fall far from that tree. And I’m very grateful. Especially when I see how the dynamic of mutual affection, communication, effusiveness, and demonstrative actions between lovers plays itself out. Furthermore, this is an area where I know I can help men, women, and couples.
           Appreciating beauty is an aesthetic that needs to be cultivated and nurtured, like a living flower. That’s where our expression starts. How attentive or aware are we normally to the beauty that is all around us, constantly? It’s not just about smelling the roses; it’s about seeing them and acknowledging them for the magnificently beautiful specimens that they are. There is a sensitivity to beauty that often gets drummed out of us for many reasons. I won’t get into those reasons here. But I will say that we had that sense of awe and wonder and reverence for beauty as children. It’s still in us, but we usually have to rediscover it. Especially men.
           I’m not talking about our cultural obsession with the superficial, with what society tells us is “beautiful”. I’m not talking about a shallow appreciation or a lust for models, actresses, or the “beautiful people”. I’m talking about looking at any person and seeing the beauty that is there. I’m talking about looking at your lover with a sense of awe and wonder and rapture. And I’m talking about expressing that to her. Often.
           When we give ourselves over to these feelings of beauty, and allow those feelings to surface, and then take the risk of expressing them to another, we are vulnerable. We open ourselves up to rejection, uncomfortableness, even ridicule. We are exposed. That’s a scary thing, especially for men. I remember hearing this bit of “wisdom” once: “Never let a woman know how beautiful she is. At worst, she’ll use it against you. At best, you’ll be giving up control”.
           Beauty and love are not about control. They are more about surrender. They are about nakedness. To truly appreciate how beautiful your lover is, and to express that, you can’t be concerned with control, or what others will think of it, or with how it looks. You have to completely give yourself over to the experience of beauty. It’s very powerful. Sometimes frighteningly so. But you must first give yourself over to it. Then, channel that power into passionately demonstrative acts of love, affection, and appreciation.
           There is no limit to the number of ways to show someone how positively beautiful you find them. Those ways will sometimes be as individual as you are, and sometimes as common as the human condition of love. The point is to find it in you, and show it. Reconnect to your appreciation of beauty and express that to the one you love.
           She’s beautiful. And she wants to hear it. So tell her.

    ©2013 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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