I used to go to church every Sunday, and while there was a lot of not so sound thinking coming from the pulpit, every now and then there was a pearl.
One particular Sunday a travelling preacher made a comment that has stuck with me to this day. The comment was along the lines of, as we get older, every one of us is in a large way responsible for the way we look.
I was a teenager around the time that I heard this; a time when I was incredibly self-conscious about the way I looked. I had pimples and my body was changing. I did not like the way I looked, and at the time I did not want to think that I was responsible for this.
As I think about that comment now, I realise that at this point in my life it is true - the way I look, and how healthy I am, is in a big part because of the decisions I have made. I am responsible for the way I look.
There are so many ways the decisions we make impact on how we look: the job we choose; the food we eat; the way we move; the scars we have; the plastic surgeon we choose.
Something I realised recently is that even the lines on my face I am responsible for. I meditate regularly, and have become aware of different poses I hold on my face, usually in an unconscious way. I have a particularly big furrow between my eyes, however when I am relaxed and free of anxiety, this furrow disappears.
I don't think that we are responsible for every part of the way we look today. Obviously genes, tragedy, and the actions of other have an impact. But I find it useful and empowering to think that I have some responsibility, and therefore control, over the way I look from this point onwards.