My sister and I were having a conversation the other day about what makes a woman beautiful. To me, a beautiful woman can be any shape or size, but she always has an innate confidence and positive energy that draws you in. She is so comfortable and content with who she is and she wants for others to enjoy the happiness she experiences. That being said, I also think a beautiful woman believes in making an effort. The effort can take many forms—full-on makeup, blown-out hair, and designer clothing, or all-natural clean beauty and the simplest of clothes. There is always thoughtfulness behind how she presents herself, because sharing her best with the world, to her, is a sign of respect for others. (This is also very Southern and I grew up in the South, so I am admittedly biased.)
Sometimes wanting to feel beautiful or loving objects for their beauty seems superficial. It’s not. Yesterday post-beauty conversation, the TED Hour Podcast had a replay from 2012 titled What is Beauty? (it ran again this Dec. 29th) which I listened to. If you have some time this afternoon or weekend I highly recommend it. Sure model Cameron Russell talks about the detrimental effects of idolizing beauty, but more interesting are the doctors and professors who tell us why beauty is innately important to us as humans. The late Denis Dutton, a philosophy professor, goes into how primitive hand-axes were created in part, because of our natural desire for beauty. “Human beings have a permanent innate taste for virtuoso displays in the arts, we find beauty in something done well,” he said. “So the next time you pass by a jewelry shop window displaying a beautifully cut teardrop stone, don’t be so sure it’s just your culture telling you it’s beautiful. Your distant ancestors loved that shape and found beauty in the skill needed to make it. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? No, it’s deep in our minds, it’s a gift handed down from the intelligent skills and rich emotional lives of our most ancient ancestors.”
Finding something beautiful can cost a lot or nothing at all (I have a thing for conch shells and pine cones). And it’s nice to know that seeking beauty in life is not a foolish pursuit, we’re hard-wired to do it. I love that.