Soul Beauty

It is mind-boggling how much money, time and effort people, (especially women), spend for a beautiful appearance. A study shows that in U.S. people pay more for their bodily beauty than they pay for education. They do that for a good reason. Research shows that beautiful people tend to be more successful, have higher salaries and generally better life satisfaction. There is a hidden catch to the results of that research: beauty makes people be better at relationships because they feel more at ease in their bodies and in the presence of others. In other words, they are more successful because they feel better about themselves. When it comes to close relationships a lot of people prioritize inner traits and qualities that make others attractive.
How much money, time and effort do we pay for what we mysteriously call “inner beauty?” How much do we invest in becoming happier, kinder, more compassionate, more peaceful and accepting? How much would the quality of our lives improve if we invested not more but just as much as we invest in taking care of our bodies? There is an assumption that inner beauty or what I called soul beauty is a quality we are born with, lucky if you have it and going on with your life somehow if you don’t. Somewhere deep down in our hearts we all hope we have it but maybe we cannot see it because of the stress, the job, those annoying people, the endless problems we have in our daily lives.
There is also the belief that soul beauty is the contribution of the family we grew up in and if we don’t have it, then it must be our mother’s fault.
Yes, soul beauty may be a personality trait and also a reflection of the family environment but I want to make the case that it is much more than that, it is a skill that can be cultivated. Most of us cultivate it without the specific intention to do it, we simply feel attracted to do things that make us feel happier. When we feel happier we tend to gravitate towards positive thoughts and actions that make us pleasant to those around us. Research in neuroscience, psychology and medicine shows that the qualities I mentioned above can also be intentionally cultivated. If we think of the age old idea that whatever you pay attention to will only grow, self-cultivation need not only be what monks and a small group of strange people do. Soul beauty or inner beauty means an orientation towards positive ways of thinking and feeling that we develop with meditation, acts of kindness, opening to new possibilities, doing what we love, sharing with others, loving ourselves (genuinely, not narcissistically).

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