A woman wearing a fedora and turning as her hair flips in the wind

She walked into the room and immediately I was taken by her beauty. She was breathtaking. An unearthly type of beauty. Imagine that unknown beauty that caught the world’s attention on the National Geographic cover some years back. I was awestruck.

Then, something peculiar happened. She began to speak. I felt my breath collapse. She spoke with such harshness to the server that I had a visceral reaction. How could someone so beautiful lose her allure in a moment? Suddenly, she lost all appeal. Her beauty vanished as quickly as day turns to night.

beauty vanished as quickly as day turns to night.

However, her momentary beauty did offer me one thing. As I sat sipping my coffee, I began to ponder: What constitutes a beautiful woman? Is it really the external beauty the world touts, the “CoverGirl” that so many secretly envy? Is she perfectly proportioned? Glamorous? Flawless? Is this really the beauty I aspire to have? Or is it something deeper? 

What is true beauty? 

What does it look like in a woman? As I sat reflecting on the questions, this is where I arrived. Beauty is much more than a visual experience. True beauty has the ability to exalt the mind and spirit, inspiring people and bringing hope.

On the outside, beauty looks different to each of us. Yet, at its core, we know true beauty by a woman’s inward loveliness. We can feel it. She exudes grace, warmth, comfort and truth. I am reminded of the words Helen Keller once wrote, “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

What are the qualities of true beauty?

She makes you feel welcome.

You feel invited, and you know you are not an outsider. She makes you feel like you truly belong. A true beauty is soul-soothing. 

She makes you feel better about yourself being in her company.

She comments on the good qualities she sees in you. She notices you. She sees you for who you are, not some fabricated version you have concocted in your mind. 

She inspires you to be a better person.

She encourages you to aspire to be the best version of yourself. Without competition or making you feel bad about what you haven’t accomplished, she celebrates what you have accomplished and the good yet to come.

She gives.

She does not give to gain something in return. She does so generously because she knows intrinsically that it is better to give than to receive. She gives of herself, her time, her home, her resources and her gifts.

She has inner strength.

She is known for her courage. She does things that others wouldn’t dare consider not because she has to but because she knows her courage will make the world a better place. She inspires people with her story. It’s not necessarily an easy one but one that speaks of bravery.

She loves well.

Her friends know her as grace. She doesn’t speak ill of other people and talking behind one’s back never enters her thoughts. She genuinely loves people well. 

It feels good to remind myself of what true beauty looks like. Sure we all want to be externally attractive, but what good is it to possess outward beauty when you lack inner beauty. Perhaps, investing in the qualities and traits that will withstand the test of time will help make the world a better place.

True beauty is soul beauty. It stirs our hearts and motivates us to pursue the good that can be done. 

What traits do you consider beautiful in other people? Would you still consider someone beautiful who does not possess inward beauty?

Image via Janessa Spina

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