Putting aside our awe and profound appreciation of nature’s beauty, like the sunset, a thick foliage forest, the waterfall in Yosemite, clarity in a still pond – I just want to focus on people.
Our definition of beauty in ourselves and others is closely tied to self and social acceptance.
African Bushmen define beauty vastly differently from us. In other words, we are conditioned by our culture on what we deem as beautiful or ugly.
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In our modern society, we are constantly bombarded with images of “beauty” from all streams of media: internet, movies, TV, mobile communication devices, newspapers, magazines, billboards.
By the way, most of the images are digitally enhanced – they are unnatural.
These images of “beauty” embed subconscious beliefs and values of what is: admired, cherished, deemed as successful, upper or lower class, given special privilege and attention, liked or disliked, accepted or rejected.
Pause for a moment… with the description above, don’t you think we create a lot of tension for ourselves and others – just to look normal, acceptable and appreciated? This simple notion of the meaning of beauty has a profound influence on the meaning of our lives; it takes up a lot of our energy and time every day.
What we focus upon expands.
Do we want to expand and strengthen this culturally-driven definition of beauty, which is largely based on external beautification? Where would this kind of expansion lead us? More acceptance? More ease? More effortless confidence?
Or, do we want to focus on a more organic, authentic, and most of all – freeing expression of our true beauty? True beauty is the full acceptance of who we are and the constant refinement on becoming a better human being (humane, loving, kind, joyful, helpful, patient, resilient and peaceful).
From a personal development point of view, by overly focusing on our external beauty, we rob ourselves of the time and energy to develop our inner beauty.
Our inner beauty is self-appreciation—that leads to effortless confidence. And just like our fascination and appreciation of beauty in nature (forests, mountains, lakes, sunsets etc), we do so because they are natural. Its beauty is lost when we try to artificially beautify it. But when we learn from its organic wisdom, to go with its nature, the beauty is preserved.
From a human perspective, we do need to take care of our personal hygiene, and wear appropriate clothings for social engagements. But more so, we need to focus on our diet, rest, developing our strengths & transforming our weaknesses – to bring out a better version of ourselves into the world.
This means—true beauty—is from the “inside out.”
Have you met a person who exudes loving presence and puts everyone at ease by just being totally comfortable with themselves? That’s true beauty.