Public opinion may have some say in who is labeled as “beautiful” on the outside, but inner beauty takes on a whole other meaning. Feeling beautiful on the inside has more to do with your character than your appearance. Learn what beauty means to you and have the confidence to live by your own rules starting today.
EditDefining Beauty in Your Own Terms
- Ask yourself what beauty means to you. How do you define inner beauty? Is it a person who is always smiling? Someone who has kind words for everyone she meets? Or, is your definition of beauty more complex? A person who endures, loves, and personifies strength? Take a moment to reflect on what beauty means to you. Grab a pen and a notebook and jot down adjectives or even nouns that help you describe inner beauty.
- Remember that inner beauty is subjective, meaning it’s up to you how you define it. Don’t depend on society’s viewpoint, trust your instincts. Without doing any research or asking for anyone else’s opinion, attempt to establish your own standards of what it means to be beautiful on the inside.
- Conduct a self-assessment. Humans can be described through a long list of positive traits. These may include honesty, integrity, fairness, compassion, leadership, forgiveness, hope and open-mindedness. After you have made your list of traits that mark a person who is beautiful on the inside, see how your own character strengths compare. Odds are, many of the traits you listed as being important will overlap with traits you actually hold. Visit the VIA Institute on Character to complete your character strengths inventory.
- Research shows that when people are knowledgeable about their own character strengths (and make use of them) they enjoy enhanced well-being and life satisfaction. Uncovering your virtues can help you make greater use of them and understand who you are. Ultimately, recognizing what you have to offer can also help you to feel more beautiful on the inside, too.
- Look beyond the mirror. Acknowledge that what you look like on the outside is only a fraction of your beauty. Don’t allow yourself to be limited by societal definitions of your outward appearance. When it comes down to what’s on the inside, your physical attributes can never measure up to certain attributes such as patience, kindness, and empathy.
- Magnify all the wonderful little traits you hold that are not clearly visible. Think of yourself as a book. Like the old saying goes, “you should never judge a book by its cover”. If you only pay attention to people’s surface looks, you can miss out on all the other amazing qualities they possess.
- Don’t try to change yourself for others. Recognize that there is something uniquely special about you, just as there is about all human beings. Don’t depend on others’ impressions of you to determine how you view yourself. If you ever have doubts about who you are and why you’re special, go back and look at the results of your character strengths assessment. This is proof that you have something of value to offer the world. Learn to love and accept yourself as you are.
- Just as you shouldn’t try to change yourself to appease others, you also shouldn’t compete with others. The only person you should be trying to compete with is yourself. If you want to improve something about yourself, do it for your future self, not for anyone else.
- Have confidence in who you are. In addition to highlighting your character strengths, you can apply other strategies to feel more confident. Frequently engage in activities in which you perform well. This can be anything from making music to playing sports. Doing things you are good at builds self-esteem.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who is better at a given skill than you. Comparing yourself only serves to diminish your strengths rather than amplifying them.
- You should also be cautious of where you get feelings of confidence. If these good vibes only come when someone else has found approval in your abilities, your confidence is unstable. Don’t count on others’ approval of you to maintain your approval of yourself.
- Smile and laugh more. Try smiling. Even if you don’t quite feel up to it at the moment, just arranging your face into a smiling expression can radically change your mood. Smiles can lead to a more positive mood and a more hopeful attitude. Furthermore, you should try to laugh as much as possible. Laughter is contagious. It can lead to you not only feeling beautiful inside, but causing others to radiate towards you and improve your outer beauty, too.
- The benefits of laughter are numerous. Longer lifespan, greater immunity, optimism, and hormone regulation can all be influenced by a good chuckle.
- Notice the beauty around you. A surefire method to enhancing your own inner beauty is adopting the habit of seeing the beauty in everything. All around you, every day, there are wondrous people, places and things. Make an effort to slow down and acknowledge these daily.
- In the morning, listen to the birdsong. Take in the rising sun. Literally stop and smell the roses. Instead of rushing through your morning routine, strive to be mindful of the tiny moments that come together to create your life.
- Notice the old lady’s smile as she crosses the street. Allow children laughing at the playground to be a soundtrack to your lunch hour. Acknowledge little kindnesses like people holding doors for others, or buying a coffee for the person behind them in line.
EditWorking on Yourself
- Be grateful. Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful” or “readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. There are myriad ways you can express gratitude. Say thanks to a friend, teacher, parent, or sibling for all that they do to encourage or help you. Express appreciation to the universe, the earth or a higher power for your life and for sustaining your life.
- Exhibit gratitude by meditating on all the things you are grateful for, keeping a gratitude journal, praying, and writing “thank you” letters.
- However, you do it, gratitude offers a wide range of benefits for the grateful. Benefits of gratitude may include:
- Decreases your likelihood of being superficial or judging others by their possessions
- Increases your likelihood of sharing with others
- Improves relationships
- Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
- Encourages you to help others
- Increases life satisfaction
- Leave people, places, and things better than you found them. In other words, make a positive impact on all you encounter. No matter where your life’s journey leads you, make a commitment to helping those around you or the environment rather than hurting them. In your job, at school, in your community, and in your relationships, strive to make an impression that makes people happy to see you come and sad to see you go.
- Be of service to others. Get involved in your local community. Help out at a homeless shelter. Babysit your neighbors’ kids so they can enjoy a well-deserved date night. Assist your elderly neighbor with household chores. Be a positive role model to the youth. Make a difference in someone else’s life and you will surely feel more beautiful inside and out.
- Studies reveal that volunteering, or community service, helps you to transform your own and the lives of others, strengthen communities, form connections, and solve problems. Offering help to those in need can also reduce rates of depression, improve your functional abilities, and decrease mortality.
- Think positively. Your outlook on life can have a major influence on how beautiful you feel inside. If you are pessimistic and continuously looking at the glass as being half-empty, you have a tendency to create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which how you think determines your reality – a negative one. On the other hand, if you look at the glass as being half-full, you are more likely to see and more grasp opportunities. What’s more, positive thinking can lead to better immune functioning, greater physical and mental well-being, and improve stress management.
- Optimism can be learned. The first step, however, is to recognize and identify when you are thinking negatively. Negative thoughts tend to be irrational and over-generalizations. “Yesterday was a horrible day. This whole week is ruined.” Plus, you can often tell through physical signs (i.e. heaviness in your chest, doomed feeling) when negative thoughts are running through your head.
- Once you learn to be aware of negative thinking, try to alter these thoughts into more positive or realistic versions. For example, rather than generalizing that the whole week will be ruined based on one day, a positive version may sound like, “Today was tough. I will get a good night’s rest and hope tomorrow is an improvement.”
- Be courteous. Feeling beautiful on the inside has just as much to do with how you treat others as it does how you treat yourself. Practicing proper etiquette in social situations is vital to building a good character. This goes back to behaviors you were taught in grade school: maintain eye contact when you’re speaking with someone, greet others when you enter a group, smile, remember people’s names, hold doors, etc.
- For more detailed explanations of proper etiquette in certain settings, like at an interview, at a party, or at dinner, check out this guideline from Binghamton University.
- Not only does making yourself feel beautiful on the inside boost your self-esteem, self-confidence and motivation, but you are now a role model for others.
- Having good character is important to feel beautiful on the inside, if you make someone feel good, chances are, you’ll feel good too.
EditSources and Citations
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