My favorite book is Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (I highly recommend this book). You might’ve heard about this character before or even seen the latest movie adaptation starring Ben Barnes and Colin Firth. Basically, this Gothic Fiction book narrates the story of a young man, named Dorian Gray, who was blessed with striking good looks. An artist, Basil Hallward, was fascinated with his beauty and decided to draw a portrait of him, and this is how it all started. Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil, had a talk with Dorian about youth and beauty right before he saw his portrait. This talk definitely corrupted Dorian to some degree so that when he saw his graceful painted face he said:
“How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June. . . . If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that — for that — I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!”
And yes, Mr. Gray’s wish came true. He continued to be young and handsome while the painting became old and hideous with his sinful deeds. Without going into further details, I just want to take Dorian Gray as an example of a person who was a victim of vanity. He thought of superficial beauty as the most important thing in a human being (thanks to Lord Henry of course!). So what I want to discuss is the outer and inner beauty and how we perceive each.
You can’t help but be overwhelmed by the amount of emphasis on outer beauty in the media and among your friends and people you know. They seem to concentrate too much on this and forget that what really defines us is who we are from the inside rather than how we look on the outside. The truth is your looks are something out of your control; it’s the way you were created. On the other hand, your personality is how you choose it to be. I am not saying that you should throw your mirror from the window and forget your grooming routine. No, I am saying that you should pay more attention to your personality, attitude, and values.
People were created different. You are beautiful on your own way. And as they say “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”. There are no fixed beauty standards. Only society and media wants you to believe that. That’s pretty shallow, don’t you agree? The only reason why you should go out everyday wearing nice clothes, with a decent haircut, and looking great is to feel good about yourself. It doesn’t matter what look you choose, just be yourself. Being yourself isn’t just about the outside, but also, and more importantly, about the inside. As human beings, we should aim to become better people. We should try to find different ways to become a better version of ourselves. This could be in the form of helping others, being a good listener, participating in community work…etc.
I’d like to give you a tip for developing your character in a constructive way. It’s simple: identify your positive qualities and feed them, detect your negative traits and suppress them. I bet you’ll find that you have a lot of fine traits which will make you motivated to change the bad ones. This way you can become a better person without the harsh negative self-criticism. The key is to know that you are special in your own way. You just have to find what you are good at and enhance it. As for the things you don’t like about yourself, you need to find a way to turn it into something positive.
Trust me, taking care of your inner beauty will be rewarding. People will respect you and see the true you. You will feel good about yourself because people will like you for who you really are. When you achieve that, you will stand out between others. When you have a pure heart and good intentions it does show on the outside. Finally, always remember that “True beauty is not outer appearance, it’s located in the heart and soul, reflected in one’s eyes.”