That question has been simmering at the back of my mind for days now, and when I consciously think about it, it seems like there is no clear answer. However, when I acknowledge the feelings that come to me if I just sit with that question and let it be, some very interesting things arise.
On two separate occasions last week I had conversations with people about beauty - on seeing it in others, and feeling it about ourselves - and it got me thinking about how I perceive beauty in people and in myself.
When I look at myself in the mirror, some days I feel like I look good. It could be that I'm having a good hair day, or I like how the clothes I'm wearing look on me, but it's not because I think I'm beautiful. I just don't see myself like that. Yet I have absolutely no trouble seeing beauty in others.
So today I thought of all the beautiful people I know and I thought about what it is exactly that makes them beautiful. And it was then that something occurred to me, something I hadn't thought of before. It happens to me quite often that someone that I hadn't previously noticed as being beautiful, suddenly becomes quite beautiful to me. Most of the time this will happen when I get to know someone. It's as if the more I get to know them, who they are on the inside, the more I see their beauty. The more I see of the real person - the one who has insecurities, has faults, is vulnerable - the more beauty I see in them. To me it is their realness that makes them beautiful. And when they let this show on the outside, when they let their light shine, that's when their beauty shines bright like the sun.
So maybe this is why I don't see it in myself but others seem to see it in me. Maybe our beauty comes from what's on the inside and that's why others can see it but we can't. And maybe that's why we should believe others when they tell us we are beautiful and look closely, not in the mirror, but deep inside, and we may just catch a glimpse of that beauty. I believe that it is when we are being ourselves, our true authentic selves, that is when we are most beautiful. And what better reason could there be to let our real selves shine?