What is beauty in its free from opinionated existence? According to the Encarta Dictionary, it is the combination of qualities that make something pleasing and impressive to look at, listen to, touch, smell, or taste. What if we look at it from solely a person’s appearance? Why, it is the physical attractiveness of course; especially with regard to the use of cosmetics and other methods and practices of enhancing it. Joseph Addison had once stated: “There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty.” It’s almost as if he wishes to say that beauty is synonymous to good…so shall we perceive ugliness another word for bad? Most certainly not! Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. It is molded into many different forms and is distinctive things to diverse people. Beauty may be judged in numerous ways but the fact that must be established is that it can be categorized into two common types: Inner beauty and Outer beauty.
Let’s begin with the type which appears to be favoured worldwide due to its tempting and at times deceiving charms. In the strictest sense, Outer Beauty is a type of physical appearance, based solely upon external features, which society has conditioned or rather brain washed us to accept as being desirable, fashionable, reliable, and trustworthy. Some people are gifted with the natural features of Outer Beauty while others find that it is necessary to create this outer appearance, to some degree. For most people, Outer Beauty is easily created by means of a temporary camouflage of creams, scents, powders, styles, embellishments and various kinds of outer wrappings. There are also people who are described to be “average”, which is a medium term between beauty and ugliness. Although it is true that some people are generally considered beautiful or ugly by a majority of people, there is always a level of relativity depending on that person who considers the person either ugly or beautiful. Attractive people tend to have a higher level of relativity, because some people may find “less attractive” what others consider attractive. In the case of unattractive people, others can look at other aspects of an unattractive person that may “suppress” that physical appearance of the person. For example, that person may not be physically attractive, but may be a very courteous, nice and smart, so that person may have an advantage over those who are attractive but not as nice or courteous.
Each one of us is entitled to look and feel as attractive as we choose, it is important to also understand that Outer Beauty, by itself, is only one minuscule aspect of our divine nature. If we rely upon Outer Beauty alone when we present ourselves to others, this amounts to nothing more than creating a false and temporary illusion of who we truly are. It’s the ugly truth no matter how far one may go to deny it. Furthermore, those who rely upon the appearance of Outer Beauty alone in their interpersonal relationships, usually have very little, if anything else, to bring into their relationships. And once their temporary and fleeting illusion of Outer Beauty finally vanishes, their unfulfilled and limited true character is all that they have left. Not a pretty picture for the near future, eh?
To quote Leo Tolstoy over here is apt: “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” A person’s inner beauty is not judged by their looks but by their abilities, mind, and “inner” attributes like being courteous, nice, hard-working and confident. There is no “outside” attributes that works as an obstacle to look at what really matters. In romance, it is the same- an immature man generally likes beautiful women and does not care about their attitude or behavior. More mature men look for serious relationships and focus more on the inside. They don’t care about the physical appearance of a woman at all after they meet the true essence of the woman they look for. They care about their attitude, their self-respect, and would easily discard a beautiful, immature woman in favor of an unattractive, mature and with high self-esteem woman. Same goes in the case of women. After all, as people age, all of us lose physical attractiveness and end up focusing on the beauty that does not pass away- the inner beauty. It is very, highly important that people learn to focus more on their inner beauty, by being nicer, happier, smarter, more grateful, and develop a high self-esteem.
While most standards consider the attitude or mood of a person based on their inner or inside appearance, attitude can be considered part of outer beauty because it “adds” to or “subtracts” from the physical appearance of the person, and is a way to know more about the inside attributes of that particular person. A beautiful woman (physical appearance) looks much more beautiful when she smiles and talks softly; a beautiful woman can “scare” a person away if she is always swearing and looking bitter or angry. If we consider our society, she’ll definitely attract unwanted attention and be described as someone lacking in manners and etiquette. The attitude of a person can also take a strong part on opportunities for people who are generally looked at by their physical appearance first, although it is also of high value for those who are not physically attractive. It is not that is bad to take care of the physical appearance and it promotes a better health, but to only focus on it and abandon to take care of the inner beauty, which gives space to arrogance, bitterness and frequent anger and negative aspects to grow within the person, is a very big mistake that is projecting now, as you can see, in a society infested by divorces, broken relationships, unemployment, and all forms of social problems.
Depending on a person’s preference, a religion or a form of faith helps a lot in developing a high self-esteem and aids to keep the inner beauty healthy. We Muslims have the Qur’an, Christians have the Bible, Jews have the Torah and the Moses’ laws, and different religious people have their own codes of moral behavior. Now, can a person have a good balance between inner beauty and outer beauty? Yes, but unfortunately, in general, it is not the norm. Many people take care only in one of them, and most of them care on the outside. But yes, there are people who are attractive in all forms, while others are unattractive both in the outside and in the inside.
To end with the awe inspiring words by Kahlil Gibran which are near and dear to my heart, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”