What makes someone beautiful to you?
Do you immediately think of physical characteristics such as flowing hair; glowing, wrinkle-free skin; a flat tummy; and straight, white teeth?
Most of us tend to make quick judgments about an individual based on her outer appearance. We spend extraordinary amounts of time, energy and money fixing our outer self trying to live up to society’s standard of beauty.
We are willing to undergo risky procedures to ensure we live up to those standards.
But who can blame us when we are bombarded with messages that tell us how happy and loved we will be when we reach that ideal of beauty. We are obsessed with outer beauty, but we tend to overlook the value of inner beauty.
So, what is inner beauty? Have you ever met someone who did not strike you as a conventional beauty, but once you got to know her, she became more beautiful to you? You began to see her with your heart and not only your eyes. Perhaps you saw her humor, confidence, self-awareness, generosity, kindness or courage.
Inner beauty comes from having a good heart and a kind soul. It is represented in a state of wholeness and balance.
Here are 10 suggestions on how to see the inner beauty in others and nurture it within ourselves:
1 Be intentional about seeing inner beauty. Seek heart-to-heart connections.
2 Try not to only compliment someone on their hair or outfit, but go deeper and compliment them on their kindness or generosity.
3 Invite beauty into your life through smiles and laughter.
4 Open your heart and eyes to appreciate all forms of beauty in the world.
5 Spend time with those who lift your spirit and inspire you.
6 Connect with the passion, excitement and energy of life.
7 Put as much time and energy into improving your inner beauty as you do your physical beauty.
Know yourself, and be true to yourself.
9 Inner beauty enhances our outer beauty when we radiate unconditional love. External beauty might fade, but internal beauty is limitless.
10 To see the beauty in someone’s heart, you must take time to learn what is in it.
Listen intently to know people on a deeper level. Listen to their hearts to see their true beauty.
The characteristics of inner beauty is the foundation of quality human relationships and, indeed, gives us the power to change our world. Nothing is more beautiful than unconditional love, a kind heart and a caring soul. Appreciate outer beauty, but always look deeper for the inner beauty in others. Beauty is truly in the heart of the beholder.
Linda Peterson is a counselor and life coach at Statera Integrated Health and Wellness Solutions in Dubuque.