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Is it in the eye of the beholder?
Some mathematicians believe the definition of beauty lies in the perfect dimensions of the facial planes. Under their formula, the eyes must be a certain distance apart, the nose must extend a certain distance, cheek bones and lips must be prominent, ears must lie perfectly against the head, and the head itself must fit within certain perimeters. Similar characteristics are also applied to the other various parts of the body; the torso must be a certain length, arms and legs must fit within certain dimensions, etc.
To all of that I say – poppycock!
In my opinion, the poets had it right – beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. What I consider to be beautiful may be vastly different from what you define as true beauty. It all depends on how we, as human beings, look at one another. If we look only with our eyes, beauty is much more elusive than if we can also examine it with our hearts and our souls.
Over the years, the idea of what is considered beautiful has vastly changed. There was a time when the curves of a woman were highly sought after, while today the only acceptable look is stick thin. Such extreme beliefs are all aimed at defining a perfect beauty broken down into a combination of specific physical attributes. These may include a symmetrical body, a good complexion, youthfulness, health, and vitality. Unfortunately, it has been proven that physical beauty doesn’t ensure a beautiful spirit, and this lack can ultimately spoil the overall package.
In truth, beauty should be looked at as a combination of physical attributes, inner spirit, personality, intelligence, and heart. Such a definition would greatly expand how the human race views the concept of true beauty. Few, if any, individuals would then been considered average, since no two people are alike and all have something unique to offer the world.
Unfortunately, men and women often tend to look at beauty from opposite points of view. While many might think that men would be far more critical than their female counterparts, the opposite is actually true. Women are much harsher critics when it comes to analyzing their peers.
So why is so much importance placed on the idea of physical beauty? Being beautiful often gets both men and women further in school, in their chosen careers, and in their own life patterns. Attractive employees often receive more promotions and raises than their less attractive counterparts; good-looking students do better in school because they can manipulate their professors; beautiful women entice men to do their bidding; good looking men inspire women to pick up the tab. Shameful as it may seem, physical beauty plays an important part in our everyday lives.
Beauty has become an obsession among those who don’t believe that grace, charm, or personality is enough to get them the things they want out of life. Many individuals who can’t achieve the perfect look resort to other factors to sway people in their favor; they use money, power, or sexuality as a secret weapon to garner whatever they want from others. What they don’t understand is that such actions actually detract from their overall physical beauty.
Until the world as a whole is able to examine beauty from a less finite point of view, it will continue to fall within tight constraints that leave many people out in the cold. The sad part of that equation is that it also means many of us will miss out on the talent, virtue, and soul of many of our fellow human beings. It could mean one less insightful poem, one less wondrous sculpture, one less stunning piece of music, one less magnificent building, and most of all one less amazing friend.
True beauty can not and should not be defined. It was never meant to be outlined in a perfect set of measurements or a finite list of attributes. It lies in what we can learn from one another. In that respect, everyone is already beautiful.