I recently saw a celebrity interview where the woman was asked, “What are your beauty secrets?” What the interviewer meant to ask was, of course, what her “secrets” were to keeping up the physical appearance that our society deems beautiful. We see magazine articles and interviews on this topic all too often. We read about how to proven wrinkles, how to stay or get “in shape,” how to make stretch marks fade, and how to hide the “flaws” on our faces with strategic makeup. Our society is obsessed with finding the magic potions and quick fixes that make us appear to be young, fit, and glamorous at all times.
While there is nothing wrong with putting time or effort into one’s own physical appearance, we need to stop referring to such efforts as “beauty secrets,” because that implies that beauty lies solely in physical appearance, which could not be more wrong. When I think of the most beautiful people in my life, I think of my family and my closest friends. I don’t give a single thought to their physical looks. They are beautiful to me because of the way that look at life with optimism, the way they treat others with care and respect, the way they are grateful for everything they have, and the way they pursue their dreams.
In our society we have promoted the idea that beauty is defined by physical appearance. When we discuss “beauty secrets,” we are discussing ways to keep our physical appearances up. The reality is, beauty is far beyond the physical. It is far beyond the visual. Different cultures define physical “beauty” in different ways. The one universal way to define beauty is by inner beauty.
If we judge others by their appearances, we miss out on getting to know their true beauty and their true selves. By putting emphasis on appearances, we are promoting a superficial culture where personality and character are overlooked and all we see is a person’s physical body. Instead of asking about “beauty secrets,” let’s start asking about how we help those around us, how we express gratitude for the good things in our lives, and how we approach life with a positive attitude.