I start most of my blogs with a definition because I believe it really helps sets the tone for the theme of the blog. I also think it provides a baseline for where I’m coming from. Helps you understand the story a bit more, and hopefully a bit about me. So here we go. What is beauty? We know beauty is a combination of qualities, such as things like shape, colour, or form, Beauty is something that pleases the aesthetic senses, particularly our sight. What we initially see is what might draw us to a person in the first place. It’s really an inherent trait. Freud once famously said, “Beauty has no obvious use; nor is there any clear cultural necessity for it. Yet civilization could not do without it. The science of aesthetics investigates the conditions under which things are felt as beautiful, but it has been unable to give any explanation of the nature and origin of beauty.” Because we tend to be attracted to the exterior isn’t necessarily right, it’s just how it is. It’s important we recognize that isn’t all there is, or something that we should even value all that much. After all, outer beauty will fade. There’s always more when it comes the whole picture, and object of attraction. Let’s take a look at something simple first: a chocolate cake. Not just any chocolate cake, but a rich, moist and freshly made one. Sitting on the counter it glistens; begging to be eaten. The texture is velvety, chewy and melts in our mouths. The flavour: heavenly. It’s so good it almost puts us in a different realm. We might not be able to hear it, but the cake sings us a melody, “I’m delicious, my chocolate filling will melt in your mouth, you must enjoy me…” The cake manages to delight most, if not all, of our senses. That’s all good, but I doubt most of us wonder about the story of the cake and how it came to be? Do we know the recipe was passed down through four generations, survived two world wars and was inspired by a culinary master chocolatier-baker from a small village in southern France with 20+ years of chocolate and fudge infusion research and experimenting? Probably not. If we knew this would the cake taste any better… possibly, but probably not for most of us. When it comes to humans, this should be the case. The story and how that person got to where they are should matter… a lot. Our attraction to other humans, the opposite sex in particular, often works very similar to our attraction to baked goods or anything we can lay our eyes on. We can tend to be drawn to the outside appearance. We’re human. The thing is, we should avoid seeking out other aesthetics, maybe by covering up our eyes and seeking what matters. It’s not an easy switch, but when we intentionally begin to look deeper, beyond the looks, good things start to happen.
Let’s take a quick look at physical attraction. It’s inevitable physical aesthetics of an individual will “tarnish” over time. There’s really no way around it. It’s happened for all of human history. Gravity, ageing, stress and life. Looks change rather drastically over time. While being stunningly good looking helps with initial impressions, its value levels off very quickly and becomes much less important over the long term while other factors increase dramatically. While good looks certainly help, science has found that desirability and building attraction goes beyond appearance. Relationships that form quickly – the “love at first sight” kind – can burn out quickly. They’re formed on surface impressions – physical looks, superficial charm, etc. – and that attraction fades as the couple gets to know each other better. High school is a prime example of this. It’s often a rolling morass of relationships, with couples getting together and breaking up sometimes within days. When we’re young we can tend to fall in love with the surface, not the core and the appeal vanishes quickly. Playing the long game means letting things build. Avoid the fast boil and go for the slow simmer to get the gradual building of true attraction. Most relationships, especially ones that are going to last, are built over time and getting to know the heart and story of that person. Building attraction is a process, and when it works, it’s magic. There’s nothing quite like getting up know someone over an extended period and suddenly one day realizing that you’re incredibly attracted to them. That’s when you know you’ve found a friend, not an object of desire.
People that are conventionally good looking have the initial advantage, but someone that people want to be around, spend time with and worth knowing is what people are attracted to. I think this is applicable to everyone, whether it’s for a relationship or friendship. The sign of a beautiful person is that they always see beauty in others. A person that sees beauty in all or most things, loves and appreciates people, including themselves shines. They reflect greater beauty than any “beautiful person” ever could. If we learn to seek inner beauty above everything else, and disregard the other stuff that our eyes are drawn to, amazing things start to happen. Not only do we start to see everyone and everything differently, we recognize beauty in what matters. Life becomes much, much more beautiful, more sustainable; more enjoyable. As we become real, so do our relationships – they bloom. It’s not a natural or necessarily easy switch – you’ve got to work at it, stick with it and recognize the benefit, but it’s so worth it. Don’t ever forget, that gold doesn’t sit on the surface. It’s under the ground. You’ve got to dig for it, just like you need to dig for beauty.