You Are More Than What You Look Like

Look in the mirror and see if you like what you see right now. Are you happy with your facial looks? How about your body? Can you be OK with where you are in the moment, or are you always comparing yourself with someone else who has a “perfect” face and body?

Let me help you out here. Nobody has a “perfect” face and body. Sorry to break the news because you and I are truly unique and wonderful just like we are today.

Having a facial difference does not define me as a human being, nor should it be the be-all, end-all for any man, woman or child. There are so many people in this world either waiting for reparative surgeries to happen, or stuck in third-world countries where there are no health services available.

A person’s wholeness does not solely come down to the final call which states a person’s looks are equal to what they are physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Hardly a day or night goes by where a lot of men and women (not all, to be clear) will make a snap judgment about a person simply by their looks.

Just observe at how much society — locally and globally — decides whether a person is good or bad by their looks. Many people make their initial impressions upon a person according to his or her face, looking at their eyes, mouths, and even shape.

Words and stares are belittling to the soul

This is especially true for individuals who are part of the international facial difference community. As a man born with a unilateral cleft lip and cleft palate, my facial difference definitely does not define who I am. Sure, I’ve been grateful to receive reparative surgeries and have most of the issues resolved. Yet there are many who are either a little older or much younger than this 52-year-old man still facing surgeries.

Even more, they go around feeling the stares and mumbled words of people who simply have zero idea about facial differences. In fact, there are people who would rather look, point fingers, and see many of us as modern-day Quasimodos. The souls and spirits of people dealing every single minute with these anomalies and health issues become crushed.

Some are even led to self-harm, such as cutting themselves, in order to “feel better” and numb out the searing emotional pain. Others find comfort in addictions (alcohol, sex, work, food, etc.) as a way to “check out” from life. In the harshest cases, some may even decide that life is not worth living at all and choose suicide.

This is no laughing matter

If you think that I am joking, then take a few minutes, really go beyond the surface looks and discern the matters of the heart for this community. Do you think these actions, both said and unsaid, have an effect upon a person’s emotional state on a daily basis? I can tell you that yes, they do.

Give me a break, please.

We are more than our looks. More than a nose which is not perfect; more than a face which is not soundly proportional to whatever anatomy book states it should be like; and more than the physical limitations which can be offshoots of facial difference symptoms.

No, I truly believe it all comes down to a matter of the heart. What truly can help and affirm us all is the power of love. Love gets a short shrift because each person has his or her own ideas about love. I’d like to suggest, though, that more love and less shame within a person can definitely become a pathway to healing and wholeness.

After all, there is more to me — and you — than our beautiful faces.

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