The Oxford Dictionary defines beauty as a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight or the intellect.
I would describe myself as someone who is passionate about beauty: seeing it, creating it and encouraging others to do the same. And yet when I took a moment to ask myself how I would define beauty, I have to admit I was rather overwhelmed (disclaimer: I still am).
Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Is it really skin-deep? Who gets to decide who or what is or isn’t beautiful?
I cannot provide anything vaguely resembling an exhaustive definition but I thought I would jot down a couple of my thoughts on the weight of this particular word:
I see beauty most clearly when I close the eyes that inevitably get stuck at the surface, convinced that everything worth knowing is on display there. The beauty I glimpse then is a fusion of honesty, humility, kindness, generosity, patience and other life-giving things that flow from the human heart. It springs from within and trickles to the surface slowly but surely. It stems from the depths I so easily forget or neglect as I fuss over hair, skin, the “perfect” figure, outfits and all the other externalities that so easily become wellsprings of identity.
There is a proverb that says a heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. I am constantly reminded that in order to see my own beauty and the beauty of others I have to prioritise the state of my heart because a pure, peaceful and beautiful heart is a wellspring of life for me and all of the people around me.
How would you define beauty?