I came across two sayings one day -“beauty is only skin deep” and “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” With these two sayings in mind, I began to think about the various aspects of “beauty.”

I began to think about my own perception of beauty, as well as the common, media-accepted perceptions of beauty. I began to compare and contrast the two variables, as well as compare the various aspects of beauty from other perceptions.

Just as every culture has its own perception of beauty, so does every individual. For some, it is certain facial features. For others, it is certain body parts. Yet for others, the concept of beauty is within, resonating with a person’s thoughts, feelings, actions and overall character.

With such a complex issue, I have decided to focus on two perspectives – inner beauty and outer beauty. I have also decided to compare and contrast the two variables and how they interact and counteract with each other.

Outer beauty can be obtained by the cleanliness of one’s body. Through proper application of personal hygiene and proper daily cleansing, one can obtain at least a respectable image. Some hindrances to obtaining outer beauty include lifetime scars, bruises, burns and bumps. With proper ointments and care, the individual can overcome these blemishes and blurs and obtain a halfway decent image.

Living up to an external standard of beauty can also take a stressful toll on an individual if that individual is constantly inundated with a particular image in all walks of life and is strongly reminded that it is the criteria for excellence, whether that image is attainable and proper or not.

If that individual does not have their own perception of self and beauty then they will strive to emulate that image, even to their own detriment. They will even deny their own sense of self and perception of beauty to the point of altering what nature gave them to fit into that mold.

The result is many dangerous surgeries, many alterations and generally an unhappy, disenfranchised soul. Not because they are trying to make themselves look better, but because they are trying to please others.

Inner beauty, on the other hand, can be obtained by the cleanliness of one’s heart, mind and soul. It is obtained by the cleanliness of one’s thoughts, actions, attitudes and feelings. It is the backbone of one’s character and the root of one’s personality. It is the essence of one’s being and is the prime determinant of the person’s fate in life. It can also help determine outer beauty as well. Although outer beauty can be altered to a certain extent, inner beauty can never be altered, for it is the very soul of the human being.

All human beings have the capacity for beauty, just as all human beings have the capacity to determine their lot in life. It is up to the individual to discover their own perception of beauty and apply it to their everyday life.

It is also up to the individual to see the beauty in others and in life itself. Since all things have a purpose under heaven, isn’t it wise for one to discover and implement it while recognizing others? In order to be able to accept and respect others, one must first accept and respect themselves.

Jackson can be reached at jjackson@campustimes.org.

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