Today’s lesson of the week: when trying to challenge a tree, the tree will always win.
I learned this the hard way as I hiked up all the way up Claremont Canyon (which is actually a really beautiful hike) and decided to take a steep unknown trail. About 30 minutes later, the only thing to break my fall off a mountain was a giant California redwood tree. I bounced off of it like a rag doll and landed on the ground. I knew I should have done yoga instead that day.
One black eye, a scraped up face, a busted knee, and a week later, I am still unable to walk on my own but slowly getting better. Cosmetically I look awful, but I’m just glad that nothing worse happened.
Nevertheless, life goes on, and I have to go about my daily activities, which means venturing out into the world. I was shocked at the reactions I got from people. The blatant staring was tolerable, but people are much more friendly and pleasant when I don’t look like I did 9 rounds with Mike Tyson.
It’s so interesting to me how the physical appearances often determine the way we treat others. According to Huffington Post, this behavior is called a “beauty bias, our largely unconscious preoccupation with and preference for physically attractive people, not only are more attractive people often ascribed positive personality traits like intelligence and kindness, but they also tend to be given unfair advantages in both the workplace.”* After reading this, I zeroed in on the word “unconscious,” which means that we have to make a conscious effort to treat everyone the same, regardless of the outside.
As women, it’s hard to love ourselves when these biases are real life, the media promotes physical perfection by photoshopping magazine covers, and men constantly choose the “hot” girl over the sweet wholesome one. In between, there are all these messages telling us we should love ourselves despite all of these biases. But how? These among others are constant reminders that we live in a superficial world. I used to buy into it, thinking my life would be better if I were just skinnier or had bigger boobs or maybe a different hairstyle.
But I am not a superficial girl. This tree hugging (literally!) experience has reminded me of the important things in life. Your looks can be taken from you at any time. Beauty fades, but who you are on the inside lasts forever. For this reason, I resolve to always find the beauty within people and within myself too!