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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.

Short Sleeves Insights - Is Beauty Really Only Skin Deep? 1

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, and in fact, it is us. I didn’t feel I was beautiful, but I searched 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 contrast, I face in life, for that is what I focus on.

The beauty of growth from a situation showing and expressing 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, express, and become what 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 to 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. Its value is priceless. It’s Hal’s gift to you, for you to enjoy.

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