Everlasting Beauty Lies Within
By Diana Lee
July 25, 2008
|UNIORB: ASIAN TREND|
|Photo from Bigfoto|
In our ever-accelerating high-tech world, scientific and medical achievements have brought the possibility to change our physical appearance: re-vitalize the body with a wide range of disciplinary exercises and intake of supplements; re-sculpturing body parts with plastic surgery; and reinforcing our self esteem with cosmetics that can camouflage our natural flaws.
Psychology Today magazine published a series of surveys conducted over the past three decades that showed an increase of women and men who were dissatisfied with the appearance of their bodies. Beauty has become such an obsession in society that an attractive appearance plays an important role in our lives from landing a job to getting a date. Hence, beauty industry has thrived under the "mirror-beauty" society as a multi-billion dollar a year business.
It seems that by choosing a path to a quick and superficial external beauty, the inner beauty is often neglected. The reality is that a truly beautiful person not only possesses good looks (exterior) but also a captivating virtuous personality (interior), as many civilizations (ancient to present) have embraced this paragon of human excellence.
In our computer era, social networking has phenomenally reached the far corners around the globe at a lightning pace, breaking down physical barriers which have separated peoples of different regions since the dawn of civilization. However, as the world becomes more integrated and fused into one throbbing hub of humanity, world cultures remain diverse and different. Though some societies have become more multicultural than others, still local traditions are left intact to be passed down to posterity. Above all, virtues remain exalted and universal - diverse cultures hold similar views on the traits for the inner beauty of a person.
As we all know, a youthful outer appearance fades with time, whereas a cultivated inner beauty emanates with aging. The beauty of inner self grows and radiates to outer self. It is possible to come across an "ugly" person who is very attractive outside but cold and ruthless or a "beautiful" person who is plain looking outside but warm and kind.
As interactive social creatures, humans often judge attractiveness not by mere looks but by personality. It is easy to apply cosmetic touches to the outside appearance but the inner self comes through in one's actions and thoughts. For humans, inner beauty is more important than outer beauty.
To find that inner beauty has been a challenging task for the young and some older "lost souls" who are struggling to find their identity and trying to make their unique mark in society.
Here is a brief description for some suggestions on self-improvement to cultivate your inner beauty.
Believe that you have an inner self to explore by locating your passions and using them positively to find your unique talents. Once you have understood yourself well, knowing your limits to take on challenges and knowing how you react to particular situations and conditions, it would lead to self-confidence. This kind of knowledge comes through lifetime experiences, the older you become the better you know yourself.
To learn all about yourself, try to keep a private journal and write down the distractions, injuries, worries, plans, hopes and ideas that flow from your brain to the paper. This will help to understand your own emotions and thoughts and more importantly, to recognize your weaknesses and strengths.
Remember, no one is perfect. We all have a mixed baggage of faults and talents. It's the ones who try to work on their shortcomings are more admired than the ones who like to brag about their talents.
To know what you want is to know what would make you happy. Every human can dream. But the ones who set goals and work towards them would be satisfied in life for realizing their dreams. In fact, achievements enhance self-esteem and self-gratification.
To harbor ambition is nothing bad as long as you pursue your goals with integrity and decency - not be greedy or step on others to get ahead. It's perfectly normal to change or adopt new goals due to circumstances, conditions, and situations in our ever-evolving world. We evolve as the world evolves. A person without goals is like being adrift in the sea.
It's natural to want to be liked and accepted by the crowd. What makes a person popular or disliked depends on personality, not appearance. There are some common traits shared by popular individuals - charm, warmth and friendliness, Although these people seem to draw a lot of attention to themselves because of their dynamic personalities, they pay a lot of attention to others by being good-listeners, tactful, and personable. The last trait is the most distinguished - undivided attention is given to every individual as though each relationship warrants a personal friendship bond.
Charm is a trait that can be acquired over time for it's a learned behavior. There are numerous books, magazines and charm schools available that specialize in turning a wallflower into the belle of the ball. However, friendliness is not a learned behavior but an attitude that stems from an interest to know about other people. Warmth is also not a learned behavior but a reflection of your caring character.
Humans of all races are alike in the sense we tend to magnate towards the persons with attractive and "good" characteristics. Meeting and learning about people helps you connect with others as well as develop your social skills.
Virtues have been extolled and put on a pedestal in various cultures for centuries for a reason - a beautiful person reflects his inner beauty with his virtuous acts.
A person who has developed virtues will be naturally disposed to act in ways that are consistent with moral principles, to name some here - honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control, and prudence. In other words, the virtuous individual is the ethical person.
According to "virtue ethics", there exist certain ideals dedicated to the common good, toward which we should strive and develop our "humanness".
In order to expand your understanding of the full scope of humanity, develop interest in life as you see it. Acquire a thirst for knowledge and experience in life in Technicolor. Try to see the rich and the poor living conditions, the beauty and the ugliness of life, and the best and the worst of human nature. The world is a vast, diverse and fascinating frontier - simply filled with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people.
Life is a long journey to fulfill your destiny. And it's a longer journey to become an ideal human being - glowing with inner and outer beauty. Maybe, you can't ever be that ideal person, but it's worth a try.
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