Beauty – allowing ourselves to appreciate true beauty
By Duane Hewitt
Do we know beauty when we see it? When we look into the face of another, what is it that we see? People often judge who is beautiful and who is not – and yet, how can this be if we are unable to define beauty? What is beauty?
Beauty is more than what is in the eye of the beholder because the beholder is biased. Beauty is often defined in the observer’s mind by factors of gender, age, culture, personal taste and prejudices – but all this has little to do with true beauty. We might see a woman who is beautiful within: kind, caring, non-judgmental, graceful and humble. And yet, with a flawed perspective, we see an exterior that falls short of an artificial standard that we hold to be true. As a result, when we see this woman, we miss the opportunity to appreciate a legitimately sublime beauty because we are trapped by the superficiality of perception. The shortcoming is our own. The truth of the matter is that this woman doesn’t even need us as a measurement for her true beauty: We, the observer, are inconsequential to the reality of her beauty – and hers is a beauty that perseveres; it need not decline with age.
There are reasons why we’re attracted to people with certain features; a good figure, nice skin, a full head of hair, broad shoulders and big muscles – but so much of this is our biological programming. Our inner mind asks: Who has the better genes? Who would make the best mate? Who will produce the finer offspring? But again, what of beauty?
We can challenge ourselves about our perceptions concerning beauty. Perceptions are jaded, they are manipulated by external forces that direct us to think a certain way; into believing what is true and what is not. And so, we miss opportunities to appreciate beauty. However, we can allow ourselves to say, this moment in time is beautiful, this opportunity is beautiful, and this person is beautiful. Beauty is a part of our world and observing it can make life so worthwhile. It befits us to understand beauty. Beauty is wonderful to behold. And we will discover more beauty if we don’t let ourselves be swayed by what others tell us is the standard for beauty.
Why is it that we think someone is beautiful but not another? There are circumstances and traits that will interfere with a person’s beauty. Sickness, disease, uncleanliness, and even vulgarity and bad manners can sabotage beauty. We may meet someone who does not seem beautiful to us at first. But over time, we begin to appreciate that person’s beauty. We might even become mesmerized by that person’s beauty. As a result, we never see the same way again.
What about enhancing beauty – improving on that which has been given? Perhaps cosmetic manufacturers and beauty magazines should spend less energy identifying for us what is beautiful and let us decide. Money can still be made. We can improve on what we have. Perhaps the goal should be to find ways to reveal natural beauty and beautiful inner qualities, thereby enhancing what is genuinely attractive.
To discover more beauty in the world around you, try to see with timeless eyes. Look to discover the beauty that emanates from within. Learn to appreciate new definitions and new perspectives. Kindness is beautiful. Thoughtful, caring eyes are beautiful. Someone who endures hardship is beautiful. A person who strives to make the world a better place is beautiful. Allow new thinking to redefine the meaning of beauty.
As for improving one’s own beauty, allow your beauty to resonate through the attributes that are uniquely you. Appreciate your best features, internal and external. Complement what you have, but understand that the biases that surround you are just that: preconceptions, partialities and prejudices.
Who and what is beautiful? The ability to appreciate beauty ultimately belongs to each of us. We have only to open our hearts to it.
Copyright 2016 Duane Hewitt. All rights reserved.