There are countless articles about inner beauty, and nearly every single one of them sends us the same message over and over again. You are not your body, you are your heart. It’s what’s on the inside that really counts. That’s how the world should work. Sadly, we let comments on appearance dominate our conversations and our priorities. Hearing someone say that my personality matters more than how good my hair looks that day isn’t always believable when compliments tend to be outwardly focused. We live in a world that says that inner beauty counts, but does everything to contradict it.
Here’s the deal. Inner beauty counts. It really does. I know you’ve heard it a thousand times; I have too. And I know it doesn’t change what you see in the mirror or ease the pain that comes from feeling “less than” the people around you.
When someone tells me that my heart and my mind matter most, I want to believe it.
I want to believe that I am seen as a beautiful person because of how I love people or because of how I love life, but it can be difficult to get to that state of mind.
The value of inner beauty becomes overlooked when we leave it out of our daily conversations. So instead of approaching someone and immediately jumping into a conversation about their outfit, start with something deeper. Make what’s inside count. It isn’t going to happen if you aren’t going to be intentional about it. You decide where conversations lead. If you’re only approaching others about their outer beauty, don’t be surprised when they can’t see the attractiveness of inner beauty.
It’s up to us to change this reality. The beauty of someone’s heart should be one of the first things we fall in love with, but you can’t properly appreciate someone’s heart if you don’t take the time to hear about what’s in it. Ask people about what they value. Ask about what is exciting or challenging in their life. Go further than compliments, approach a conversation with questions.
Go beyond “How are you?” and be purposeful and enthusiastic about knowing people deeply. Make it a priority to listen to people talk about their hopes and dreams.
Conversations about what is changing around us, or better yet how we can bring positive change, can and should take up hours. I’m not saying that complimenting people is wrong by any means. Please let people know that you can see how beautiful they are. People deserve to know that they are breathtaking, and so do you… just don’t let it stop there. Compliment them, and then let that grow into a more meaningful conversation. Find a good balance between complimenting outer beauty and being intentional about acknowledging inner beauty. Too much of anything will end up being insufficient.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
This is one of my favourite quotes of all time, and I feel like it really encapsulates the definition of what true beauty is. Emerson talks about appreciating beauty while finding the best in others, while is exactly the balance we should have. While it is good to admire the outer beauty of the people around us, we should not overlook the more complete beauty that is found when we look deeper.