The Search for True Beauty

beau·ty

–noun, plural -ties.

1. the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).(dictionary.com)
We can find beauty in nature if we keep our eyes open and look. We can hear beauty in music or in nature if we allow ourselves to truly listen. We can sense beauty in the delicate aromas of flowers or the scintillating taste of spices. All of this beauty is available to us if we only open ourselves to the search.

Underwater beauty

 

But true beauty in a human being seems to be a rare commodity.
I’m not talking about the perfection of appearance that can be defined as beautiful depending on “the eye of the beholder.” That form of beauty changes at the whim of a photographer, a culture, a style, or a personality.
True beauty that emanates from the heart and soul is the rarest form of beauty to find. I don’t have it. Deep inside me there is a ball of ugly–a place that holds hate, anger, frustration, jealousy and any other negative emotions that add ugliness to this world. I would like nothing more than to lose that inner ugliness and become a truly beautiful soul.
I have only met a few people who carry that inner beauty with them in such a way that it emanates outwards gracing all the people they touch. Sometimes, or perhaps most of the time, these people don’t even recognize their own beauty. I met one of these people several years ago, and learned of her true beauty as she battled breast cancer while she lost her daughter to another, even more aggressive, form of cancer. The following is a poem I wrote about them and posted on my other (ignored) blog, Life Without Tenure:

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER FACING THE BEAST

(TO CATHIE AND SAM)

Mother strength

Daughter wisdom

Woman/girl

Motherwisdomdaughterstrength.

Facing malignancy

Life mounds attacked

Throat constricted.

Consuming cells, consuming all, but . . .

strength, wisdom

power, purpose

Pain-filled power.

Knowledge-power

Love-power.

Mother strength

Daughter wisdom

Mother/Daughter wisdom/strength.

They are one.

(lak 6/13/07)

Despite the fact that this beauty is so rare, it is possible to find people with true beauty.  I have met them in the strangest places: at a hotel in Bali many years ago, in a Hebrew School classroom as a child, and even through the words of a fellow blogger  over the past through months. I’ve never met Sara or Kathy, but, with every word Kathy writes I recognize two truly beautiful women. (NOTE: I have since had the honor of meeting these two wonderful women, and they are indeed truly beautiful.

Have you ever met someone who is truly beautiful?

This is my response the The Weekend Theme at Viewfromtheinside’s blog.

26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbarann Ayars
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 08:11:13

    Inner beauty is really rare. I think it is a natural quality, not to be earned or cultivated. Akin to emerald eyes or the rare skin that never wrinkles, such that when we come upon this attribute we so admire it and wish it was ours too. These people are devoid of those attributes you call ugly, so they walk gently through this life in a kind of serenity. I have known two, both of them nuns. Perfectly suited for contemplative lives, not forth classroom or the mission field,

    Reply

  2. Kathryn McCullough
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 08:17:00

    How can we ever thank you enough? We are so, so humbled by your words, my friend! YOU, Lisa, are truly, truly beautiful! Embrace that loveliness, my dear! Hugs to you from Sara and me!
    Kathy

    Reply

  3. youngamericanwisdom.com
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 08:26:19

    A truly beautiful post!

    Reply

  4. risingontheroad
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 10:01:25

    I think we all have ‘a ball of ugly’ – I think the key might be what you do with that, who you chose to want to be

    Reply

  5. SidevieW
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 10:59:41

    outer beauty is pleasant, it tends to eventually fade. inner beauty illuminates people all their lives

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 16, 2011 @ 13:00:28

      I always love those pictures of completely wrinkled old people that hold wisdom and beauty in each crease.

      Reply

  6. She's a Maineiac
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 11:13:43

    Lovely post. Just reading it, I can see with your words and honesty that you are truly beautiful. I am learning now that even that “ugliness” inside, that hatred or anger we hold deep can be transformed into a beautiful thing. We all have this power to change and become who we are meant to be.

    Reply

  7. jgavinallan
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 18:23:35

    This was so well done. Beauty is on every female’s mind…It is so confusing today…what is the definition of being…lovely.
    Your post was lovely
    Jaye

    Reply

  8. brownpaperbaggirl
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 20:14:15

    Lovely writing. Each person I have met is beautiful in some way. Yes, everyone is broken and complicated and their lives are often messy. But that is life and that makes them beautiful. Each person has light within them. Sometimes it just gets buried…but its still there.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 17, 2011 @ 07:53:45

      Flaws can definitely be beautiful too. After all, flaws are waht make sus human.

      Reply

  9. nrhatch
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 10:35:52

    When we have conquered the enemy within . . . there are no enemies left to conquer.

    Wonderful post. 😀

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 17, 2011 @ 10:39:32

      Thanks Nancy. I wonder if we can make peace with the enemy within rather than conquer it.

      Reply

  10. bluebee
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 16:46:56

    I have met many truly beautiful people – but they are all flawed as well with those negative emotions you describe – I think that is just part of what it is to be human

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 17, 2011 @ 16:54:04

      So maybe true beauty comes from learning to accept those flaws and still live gracefully.

      Reply

  11. Paul Sunstone
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 21:37:22

    I suspect the inner beauty you describe is something that goes along with authenticity, with being true to yourself.

    Reply

  12. Trackback: Reflections on Writing « Woman Wielding Words
  13. cuchita49
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 19:13:06

    Beautifully stated.

    Reply

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