Short Sleeves Insights – Is Beauty Really Only Skin Deep?

“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to see it.” The words of Rumi bring up a good question. Is beauty something we just see or is beauty something that we feel? My thoughts about what beauty really is have changed over the last few years.

I was always looking for beauty, some outward mark of excellence, that I could identify with and copy in some way. Certainly physical beauty is the first trait we all seem to want, whether it be looks or brains or both. Physical beauty is the quest of the ages. I searched for beauty in the people and places that surrounded me. I wanted to be associated with beauty. In that way, I felt some of it would rub off on me. I didn’t feel I was beautiful.

It seemed my concept of beauty changed as I changed, so that things that attracted me at one point, were no longer the beauty I was seeking. I found that my experience of beauty changed as my thoughts about beauty changed. It was not a constant. Its shape, size, function and appeal changed with my thoughts. What is the definition of beauty anyway?

As Rumi pointed out beauty surrounds us, in fact, it is us. I didn’t feel I was beautiful, but I was searching in the wrong places to find the feeling. I wanted others to verify my beauty and when they didn’t, I accepted my lack of beauty. Believing that this power existed outside of me, that’s where I Looked. I found everyone looking for the same thing. The thing we all have, but have hidden in our illusion of duality. I could see it in the garden or a mountain or the sea, but it didn’t seem to be part of me.

Now understanding that my thoughts create my reality, my world, I can feel beauty everywhere, including within myself. I accept the fact I was created by beauty, so I am what my creator is. My thoughts feel beauty in my words, actions and accomplishments. I feel beauty in nature, in friends, in events, because that is what I think. It is my prayer. I see beauty in the contrast I face in life, for that is what I focus on. The beauty of growth from a situation that shows and express pain, brings understanding to all the contrasts I encounter.

Beauty is feeling, just as prayer is feeling. If I know it is already present in everything, it’s easy to experience, to express and become the thing I desire.

My desire for beauty is relentless, just as my desire for love is unending. I want to know myself for who I am, so I can grow into a grander version of beauty and love.


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Hal Manogue is a poet and author of Short Sleeves A Book For Friends. Insightful thoughts for the 21st century. Hal’s 2006 Collection and 2007 Collection are available in bookstores and online. Visit Hal’s website: or blog: for more information about his work and life. Download a copy of the new E-Book, “Unite To Unite” a collection of articles from writer’s around the globe that will inspire and fill you with useful information. It’s value is priceless. It’s Hal’s gift to you, for you to enjoy.