by April Reinhardt
(last updated December 4, 2015)
Gorgeous, pretty, cute, drop-dead gorgeous, magnificent, dazzling, hot, handsome, lovely, good-looking, attractive, shapely, comely, and fine, are just a few of the words people use to describe a beautiful person. There is even a scale assigned to beauty; if you're a 10, then you possess the most beauty, whereas if you're considered a 4 or 5, then you're considered as having average looks.
What is beauty? Most of us have heard author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford's summation: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." But Benjamin Franklin also summarized what beauty is when he said, "Beauty, like supreme dominion, is but supported by opinion."
Historically, beauty has been a term reserved for physical appearance. Yet beauty is also a descriptor of a characteristic of an idea, object, or place that provides meaning. In my parent's house hangs a humble wooden plaque with the words, "Beauty and truth, tho' never found, are worthy to be sought." I remember reading that plaque through the years and have often wondered why, if you can't find them, would you want to seek them? Yet, I concluded early on that the mere act of finding things and places and ideas that are beautiful is a worthwhile venture. Finding the beauty, for me, brings me great satisfaction and pleasure. This is why I love giving presents to people; it's a beautiful concept to make someone happy, and it gives me pleasure to give.
Ideas have been described as beautiful. Pythagoras made a correlation between beauty and mathematics, with proportional equations labeled as attractive. And then there are those who experience beauty on a spiritual level, leading to feelings of emotional well-being.
But others view beauty in more concrete terms. The idea of symmetry and proportion is viewed as beautiful in nature, as well as in the human body. We tend to think of a person with a well-proportioned face and body more approachable. When we vacation, we go to places described as grand, scenic, heavenly—beautiful. We design our homes and accessorize them to fit our comfort needs, and make the home a beautiful place to be. I can tell you from personal experience that arranging a panty full of canned goods by foodstuff, and then all faced to the front and symmetrical, is a beautiful sight to behold. That's just another facet of beauty that brings me pleasure and satisfaction.
And then there's inner beauty. Used to describe the positive characteristics of someone, inner beauty is not readily apparent. It's only when you spend time with a person that you find their inner beauty. Someone who has inner beauty most likely possess characteristics of compassion, kindness, thoughtfulness, thankfulness, gratitude, intelligence, creativity, and sensitivity, to name a few.
So, what is beauty? Truly, only you can decide the answer to that question.
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