Beauty and the Beast – a beloved cartoon classic turned live – is now in theaters. I thought they did a great job. There were a few surprises, but it was a great trip down memory lane. I could hear some people singing softly to the well-known tunes in the theater, and some have seen it more than once. Let’s revisit the characters.
Belle the Beauty
There’s Belle who is beautiful both in character and appearance. We see that in her personality, beauty is more than skin deep.
True beauty is on the inside. Have you ever met a gorgeous girl who is mean or catty? As you get to know her well, she no longer looks beautiful. How about a plain-looking young lady with a beautiful heart? She becomes physically beautiful as you discover her real personality.
Our bodies are going to age and our youthful beauty will become mature wisdom. Therefore, I have taught my daughters that for every hour they spend in front of that mirror, they should spend an equal hour in developing their inner character. True beauty is loving others, compassion for those who are hurting, helping those in need, honesty, loyalty, and sacrificing self for the good of others. Belle displays all of these character traits that make her very attractive.
Gaston the Handsome
His biceps are huge! He is strong, bold, adventurous, a leader, and oh-so-good-looking. Yeah, he makes the girls swoon.
But Gaston’s heart? It’s evil and ugly. He has no respect for Belle and her beliefs. Gaston leads the people to hurt an innocent old man and incites a riot against The Beast knowing full well there is no reason for it. Cunning and ruthless, he wants something and he doesn’t care who he is going to hurt in getting that thing. I think the Gaston in this movie is more evil than in the Disney cartoon. He is the epitome of darkness and he makes me cringe.
Gaston’s good looks are the opposite of that inner beauty we were talking about in Belle, and that is where the danger lies. Just because someone has good looks does not mean they are nice. We focus so much on the physical beauty (think celebrities), that we ignore the fact that being with that person can be harmful for us. The harm can be displayed in the following ways:
- Belittling you in private and/or in public
- Forcing you to do something you are not comfortable with
- Being cruel to animals or people
- Wanting to be served without wanting to serve in return
- Physically harming you
- Lying, cheating or stealing
- Criticizing you and your beliefs
- Critical of others
This list can be quite long. Basically, if you feel uncomfortable with something your partner is asking you to do, then it is harmful for you. Trust your instincts. Remember, the looks fade away and all you are left with is the basic character of the person you are with.
The Beastly Prince
Ah. Now things get complicated in this character. The Prince is a spoiled brat who got what he wanted his whole life. As a result, he is a bully and resembles Gaston in some areas. I think a lot of us are like The Beast until we learn and overcome whatever has broken us in our life and circumstances.
It takes the inner beauty of Belle to make him want to be a better person. He is not impressed by her looks, but he is impressed by her kindness and thoughtfulness. The Beast learns to not be a product of his upbringing and becomes a very Handsome Prince.
Notice how Belle falls in love with him despite his looks. Her eyes are opened to the true beauty inside, and this makes all the difference to the Beast. Her goodness is what awakens the goodness inside of him.
It is difficult to not be swayed by the physical appearance of the person you would like to be with. It takes time to really get to know someone. You will find that the nice ones may not be the most beautiful. But they do become physically attractive as you discover their inner beauty.
How do you cultivate inner beauty?
There are several ways. Here are a few of them:
Renew the mind
Read books and watch movies that show characters with personality traits you admire. A hero who overcomes overwhelming obstacles (The Hobbit). A woman who is true to her beliefs and who learns the power of forgiveness (The Hiding Place). A brave Chinese girl who opposes the dictator of China (Red Scarf Girl). A fun romp through the life of a feisty, strong, red-headed girl who wins everyone’s heart with her love (Anne of Green Gables series). If you would like a list of books that challenge you to become beautiful on the inside, contact us and we will send you one in PDF format.
Make a list
A written list of the character traits you would like to have is the best way to start developing them. At 17 I was totally broken and messed up, inside and out. But I remember making a list of character traits I wanted to have despite my circumstances and horrible upbringing. As a result, I look back and realize that I’ve developed each and every one of those qualities I wrote down when I was still a teenager.
Set a goal
If you read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, you will discover his method for acquiring the qualities he felt were important. Of course, he wasn’t perfect, and there are some behaviors that I don’t admire. But he made a list at the beginning of each year and worked on one desired habit per month.
Set a goal today on one character trait you would like to develop this year. Then read, study and research on how it looks, what it means to have it, and how it would impact the rest of your life.
Hang out with people who have qualities you desire
I’ve seen my kids willfully change the type of people they hang out with in order to develop the qualities they would like to have. You become who you spend your time with. Do you want to be successful? Go to places where successful people are and make friends there. Do you want to have more compassion? Volunteer at places where other compassionate people work. Honesty? Find honest people and make it a goal to be with them often.
Motivational and self-help expert Jim Rohn states:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Work at becoming who you want to become, and it will happen. And remember, true beauty is in you. Your physical beauty will change, so what’s left is what you will live with till the end of your days. Make a life lived intentionally count.