Easy Beauty

We all read a lot of blogs.  I mean A LOT.  The content is so diverse, ranging from instructional, insightful, inspirational, comedic, and everything in between.  It’s rare when I don’t take something from what I read here and find a way to improve my writing, or my disposition.  I consider this community a bubbling spring of enthusiasm and I try to give back as much as I absorb.  I also develop some of my own blog post from snippets of ideas on other blogs.  It could be something as simple as an open-ended question or an unusual turn of a phrase, but I’ll mull it over and expand upon it here, adding my own unique flavor to it.  This is one of those times.

Today’s topic first originated from a blog I read almost a year ago (sorry, I can’t find the link).  It revolved around the author’s pending 39th birthday and she was reflecting about the increased number of gray hairs on her head, the few extra pounds she was carrying, and the additional wrinkles staring back at her in the mirror.  The gist of her writing revolved around our society’s definition of beauty and what women today had to suffer through to try and at least stay in the ball park.  It was a fascinating read for sure, but it wasn’t actually the blog itself that stuck in my memory, but rather a comment left by a fellow reader.  In that remark the person wrote that he didn't really understand men (or women) who went for the "easy beauty".   EASY BEAUTY…what an interesting concept.        

Unconsciously the seed of what the commenter spoke about stayed with me, germinating until just recently when I read another blog post.  It was written by Thea, and in her blog she was lamenting about feeling Unpretty.  Her heartfelt post stirred something in me and evoked the memory of the prior blog and the unique phrase.  I left a brief comment for Thea, but still I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  

Thus here I am today, needing to say more.  We live in a society that places far too much emphasis on physical appearances.  It’s fruitless to deny its existence, or relevance, a pheromone in a visual form attracting the sexes to each other and rendering us powerless against its magnetism, like a moth drawn to a deadly flame.  But who created the measuring stick that we all, men and women both, are compelled to compare ourselves to?  A smile with perfectly aligned glistening white teeth, once only available to the wealthy and privileged, is now almost expected.  Bulging bust, trim waistlines, tropical tans, and acne-free complexions are the standards.

It seriously makes me angry when I think about the damage this does (and revenue it generates).  I don't consider it vain or shallow to worry about how others see us. It's simply human nature. The problem is the beauty we desire others to see can’t be found in the mirror. It's in the eyes and hearts of those we come in contact with everyday. We all have a different set of lenses we see the world with and what might be pretty to you...could be unremarkable to me.  But there is one form of beauty that is universal.  And more importantly it’s a splendor that no amount of eye liner, blush, lipstick, highlights, nail polish, teeth whiteners, antioxidant face cream, body oil, styling gel, or perfume can enhance.  That’s our inner-beauty.

The person who can recognize inner beauty, sees so much more.  To me, that’s the true easy beauty because it is so much more natural and organic. Why spend so much energy focusing on cosmetics and an outer appearance that will eventually fade?  Partners drawn to one another by physical appearance alone, eventually, will not see each other.  Concentrate instead on the element of yourself that will resonate long past your prime, and even after you have gone.

How do you identify inner-beauty?  For me, it’s in the little things.  I was in a store the other day, standing in line waiting to check out, when I saw an elderly man by himself who was struggling to carry his grocery bags.  A young woman who was sitting in the coffee shop of the store also noticed the elderly man.  She sprung up from her chair, took the grocery bag from the grateful customer, and walked the man out to his car.  I honestly can’t remember what the woman looked like, but I remember her actions.  I had witnessed inner-beauty. 

Let’s not have a misunderstanding here, I appreciate looking at a beautiful girl as much as anyone.  But that doesn’t mean any woman’s self-worth should be determined by how pretty I think she is.  I believe that any woman with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye...can never be considered anything but beautiful. A vibrant inner-being will always shine through. That doesn't mean they'll win any beauty contests...but in the end...why should they need to?

35 comments

  1. These are lovely thoughts, DL. I'm also hitting my late thirties, and I can tell that the next decade is going to be one of adjustment to changes in my physical appearance! Thanks for the reminder about true beauty. I believe it, but I need to be reminded occasionally.

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  2. Beautiful post. It's all so true. We as a society are all backwards. We tend to overlook the inner beauty, which is crazy because it's the only lasting beauty we will always possess.

    Thanks for the wonderful post, DL!

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  3. I think this is a great post. I agree with so much of what you've said. I think a person's energy and actions say more about their beauty than the number of painted eyelashes or fingernails.

    It's important to talk about the importance of "inner beauty" as much as possible, for we're so bombarded by messages of the importance of outer beauty--and it's really all just an illusion. I mean, we all know pretty people we can't stand to spend more than 5 minutes with...that says it all, doesn't it?

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  4. I love this. So thoughtful and provoking. Thank you for saying these things. I think too often we forget the true meaning of beauty. You are exactly right.

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  5. This was wonderful, DL! I'm now 44. I fight my weight every day. I wish I had the body I had before I had my beautiful and brilliant daughter. My husband seems to get better looking with age. I think part of it is self-esteem. He's the president of a company. I'm basically an unpublished writer. It weighs heavily on me that I'm not young and beautiful or successful. I don't look at other people the way I look at myself. I see them for what they are like inside. I wish I could do the same thing for myself.

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  6. As a young woman who is constantly struggling to defy the odds of what our generation deems "pretty" you give hope that there are still men out there who know the real defintion of beauty. You give me hope that there are men out there teaching their little girls that they are beautiful for whats inside and not just because they have a pretty face. Hope that men are teaching their sons that big boobs and a tiny waist do not define a woman or her inner beauty.

    Thank you for restoring hope. You are an amazing person!

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  7. Nicely said DL. You just made my over-40 day.

    .........dhole

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  8. Gret post, DL. I've known a few girls to suffer from anoerexia and bulimia over my years as a teacher. It's a horrendous disease. Girls are wearing makeup earlier and earlier - some in grades 5. Boys are starting to work out with weights too early and are messing up their muscle development.

    I think society is becoming more aware of these problems but we need to do more to help kids understand real beauty.

    Whew. Sorry for the rant. This topic is dear to my heart... especially with my word verification insults from last week! :)

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  9. Rosslyn ~ The ones that love you, who truly know you, will hardly notice the change.

    Kim ~ It's so true!

    Erin ~ I know more than a few.

    Anissa ~ The more we say it, the better chance our children will hear it.

    Sharon ~ I too have a high position in a major company, but none of my awards, certificates, accolades, promotions and other accomplishments comes even close to what my wife has achieved in the raising of our three children. I am in awe of her. I bet your husband feels the same way.

    Jade ~ And defy the odds you will! Men who think as I do are out there...I promise...I'm not unique. Don't settle for anything less.

    Donna ~ Thanks for the smile!

    Jemi ~ Rant all you want! This is a subject close to my heart as well. Oh...my word verification on your blog last week...BUMLIK. LOL.

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  10. This was really interesting. We've all got this biological shallowness on a certain level because of evolution but being able to evolve ourselves and see more than that is sometimes very difficult.

    Since we're all aspiring writers of some sort on here I'd say one way of looking at inner beauty would be to think if we'd like this person if he/she was in a book. Going off a person's thoughts, her honesty, his sacrifices and more are real signs of that inner beauty that we sometimes get distracted from when we see a nice set of breasts in front of us. At least I know I do.

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  11. I so agree with you! For me, inner beauty is most recognizable in the smile on a person's face. Even the most attractive person is unimpressive, in my view, when there is no smile on his or her lips. And I don't mean any smile. I'm talking about the unabashed, un-selfconscious, natural smile that lights up even the most unaesthetic visage. That kind of smile happens when people are living in the moment, their fascades dropped, in tune with nature and humanity. For me, that is true beauty. And no cosmetic procedure or product available in a tube or syringe can duplicate that.

    Just so I don't feel like a hypocrite here...I'll also fess up to my part in keeping Crest White Strips on the market... :))

    GREAT post, DL! I'll be thinking about your words all day.

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  12. Our concept of outer beauty changes through time, but our concept of inner beauty--as you've described it--never changes. It is, in some ways, even more rare and more difficult to obtain than outer beauty. Genuine empathy, generosity, spirit, altruism, etc. cannot be faked; it cannot be bought; it cannot be acquired with a trip to the salon or with a push-up bra. It simply is. So you are right to point to it--it's a far more worthy, far more significant kind of beauty.

    Excellent post.

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  13. Oh, sorry. That was me. I didn't realize I was logged into a different accout :)

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  14. That is a wonderful post and they way your approached the subject is fabulous. As a lady who loves her makeup, I can even appreciate this post (and others like it) more. When I was younger, I thought the clothes and the makeup and the hair defined who I was, but as I grew I definitely saw how some of the people I always admired and saw as extremely beautiful, well, I realized I was admiring them for the wrong reasons and they quickly became less beautiful to me...some even ugly.

    I have been exploring this topic a lot in my own life as I approach a big birthday next year. I will admit it is a struggle...I wish for my 25 year old body and a few less wrinkles...but when I really think about it...I like who I am (on most days) and and the wrinkles and the body I live in has helped make me who I am.

    Especially after having grown up in Los Angeles and worked in the fashion biz...I was inundated with info and "lies" about maintaining a certain look and image...I have a lot of undoing to do!

    There is a blog doing a project for school called Beautiful State of Mind (there is a link to my post about it on the sidebar of my blog)...where she is having real women of all ages take snap shots and write about what true beauty really is to them.

    Now that I have children I am much more passionate about this topic as well...I am really striving to teach my children how important inner beauty and confidence is.

    OK, this is not the most well thought out response, but I think you get the picture.
    Holly

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  15. You may have just earned yourself a fan club of blogging females, DL. I love the way you said,

    "But there is one form of beauty that is universal. And more importantly it’s a splendor that no amount of eye liner, blush, lipstick, highlights, nail polish, teeth whiteners, antioxidant face cream, body oil, styling gel, or perfume can enhance. That’s our inner-beauty."

    Well said. :-)

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  16. I know I've spent WAY too much time working on the outside of my body in the past. I've since been enlightened to the fact that most of the things we do to visually impress only create a smoke screen.

    Beauty really is when a stranger tells you that something about you makes them feel good about themselves; it's when you go up to an elderly, wrinkled woman and tell her that she is beautiful and find out that no one has ever told her that...not even her husband of 40 years; it's being the first in line to help your friend out when they have a family crisis; it's finding your purpose and living it...

    Love your take on this subject, DL.

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  17. What a thoughtful and beautifully written post! I'm saving this one with my other favorites.

    You rock, DL!

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  18. Christopher ~ Some of my most serious crushes, have been female characters in my favorite books.

    Nicole ~ I agree 100%, in fact the scene I submitted for the Love At First Sight Blogfest hints at just that. Lee singles Andi out as the most beautiful girl in the room despite evidence to the contrary by his friends. The difference...her smile and the inner-beauty it hints at.

    Carol ~ That's why I call it the real Easy Beauty. :)

    Holly ~ Not well thought out ?? You got to be kidding. That was an excellent comment and I appreciate the effort you put into it. I really do hope the organization you mentioned achieves some positive results.

    Shannon ~ You should see my inner-beauty when I haven't had my coffee in the morning! :)

    Kellie ~ In your case I know I'm preaching to the choir. Your blog touches on many of these same issues frequently.

    Moon ~ There is no greater complement a writer can receive than to hear that his/her words will be remembered. You made my day!

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  19. This was a very thoughtful post. I've never been one to worry too much about how I look, but I've had good friends who've struggled with eating disorders and most of my friends (all beautiful girls) feel they need some sort of plastic surgery to feel okay about themselves. It's a real problem in our society.

    I read something the other day that I thought was interesting. One of my friends saw it on a bumper sticker. "Change how you see, not how you look." I don't know what wise bumper sticker writer wrote that one, but I like it.

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  20. Dude! How had I not seen that you're a Springsteen fan? See now. I knew you were cool.

    Love me some Clarence...

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  21. Natalie ~ What an excellent bumper sticker! They should make that a billboard.

    Anissa ~ BRRRRRUUUUUCCCCEEEEEE!!!!!!

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  22. Hey! Me again :P Just wanted you to know there's a little something for you on my blog today!!

    See you there!

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  23. How did I miss this post?!?! Beautiful words, DL. I've often wondered this myself. It is an accepted standard that "inner beauty" is deeper, more meaningful, and more important than "outer beauty," but why do people still insist on judging others by their appearances? Especially when outer beauty is as fickle as the wind. I mean, centuries ago, "beauty" meant a round, full body and pale white skin - the exact opposite of what is considered to be beautiful today. Aesthetics change. Inner beauty never does.

    I want to see more people who light up a room for just smiling and being themselves, rather than how tan they are or how much Botox is holding the ol' face up.

    This was a beautiful thought-provoking post. Thank you for sharing your inner beauty with us.

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  24. Yes. And so important for people raising girls in today's society.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  25. Ahhh...I always adore your posts!

    Thanks for the great reminder.

    AND you have a little goodie at my blog today! I promise it's not pink and girlie this time! (although you know I was tempted)

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  26. Beautiful post! I'll ask my daughter to read it (17 yr old). I'll turn 40 this year, but I'm not so worried about me as I am about the young girls who worry so much about being "ideal" they are miserable, and then THAT is what shows in their countenance. They wish and hope and praise the day they can get the surgery as a graduation present, or they look down at their slim figure and groan, swearing about how fat their thighs are.
    I'm all for being the best you can be, but I've found that when you take care of the inside, it makes the job EASIER to achieve BEAUTY on the outside.
    Thanks, DL.

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  27. A very nice post! One thing I like about our blogging community is that no one cares how each other looks. We transfer our inner beauty into our words, and people are drawn to us that way.

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  28. Nicole ~ :P

    Julie ~ I know! It's like trying to hit a bullseye on a moving target. Such a waste.

    Michele ~ I instructed my daughter and all her friends to read it. :)

    Moi ~ Thank you!

    Kristi ~ *Grin*

    Krista ~ Absolutely right!

    Jessie ~ I agree. It is so much more natural here. I, for one, am so much more expressive here than in person because I'm such an introvert. I believe there are many others like me that supress their inner-beauty because they are shy. This community provides an avenue to come out of that shell.

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  29. Hey, I gave you an award (you already have it, but you definitely deserve two). Check out my blog.

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  30. Great thoughts - what a wonderful reminder for all of us! I recently saw some before air brush/after air brush photos of celebrities, and it really makes you realize the ideal women are pressured to attain doesn't even exist in real life. True beauty, however, is so much more important.

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  31. Great post. I'm always having to remind my 6 year old daughter that inner beauty is more out important than what she looks like on the outside. Some how at a young age, no matter what you do, girls believe it's important to look beautiful. Only then are they worthy individuals.

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  32. Great thoughts DL, and thanks for the follow :)

    I have noticed people seem more or less attractive once I get to know them - my first impression of their looks genuinely changes based on what their personality is like. And I wouldn't have it any toher way.

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  33. Absolutely perfectly put!! I totally agree! I take care of myself, but I hear comments from other women talking about my non-designer clothes or non-expensive haircut. Then there's my son who has been made fun of for his obvisous flaws that he was born with. It breaks my heart whenever he was hurt by others actions towards him, because of how he looks. From a job manager not allowing him 'around' customers to 'adults' yelling at him to get away. My son has a heart of gold and would never treat someone 'different' or 'not attractive' badly. Not only do some people not the see the beauty 'inside'; many don't seem to teach their children now a days to look 'inside' either. So sad!
    Thank you for sharing this story with everyone!! Love your writing!! ~ Coreen

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  34. What a wonderful blog! Thanks for this post, DL. Really. Just thanks a bunch.

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