Observations from 42 trips around the sunI’ve never sat down to count the countries I’ve been to or the cities I lived in. But combine getting bitten early with the travel bug as a military brat and working across three continents over the last 20 years, I’m fortunate to have gotten to know many different kinds of people from many parts of the world.
While writing an article about how to attract beautiful people into our lives, I found myself thinking about these experiences and what true beauty looks like.
Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder as we each are attracted to and value different things. That being said, no matter where I was living, or what I was doing, the people who demonstrate the 5 traits below best represent true beauty to me personally.
When I close my eyes and think about what beauty really looks like, I envision someone like Sinem, a 23-year-old woman in Vienna, who’s doing what she can — with what she has — to build up the people around her.
In short, I see a teacher.
- What can I do to make my community stronger?
- What can I do to help people reach their goals?
- What have I learned from my own life experiences to play a part in helping other people to better live their own lives?
It’s hard for me not to admire someone who thinks this way. Someone who is not only curious about the world and the people in it, but who is also open to implementing the things they learn to better understand how other people live.
It’s human nature to wrap ourselves up in familiarity. Surrounding ourselves with people who eat like us and act like us makes us feel safe. It’s comforting. But from my perspective, both strength and beauty are most represented in those who view diversity as our greatest connector.
My son’s teacher, Anna, may think it’s strange that after years of living in Catalunya I still prefer my coffee black. But what makes her a beautiful person is that when we are hanging out after school together she isn’t afraid to drink a cup.
My friend Nick Wignall shares this quality and every time we speak on the phone he says the magic words that show me he is not only listening to me but he truly cares: “The last time we spoke you told me X. How’s it going?”
Of course, these two have their own goals. But they understand that life is a helluva lot more fun when you stop thinking only about yourself.
Not only that, experience has taught them that human beings aren’t one thing or another, but rather a vast collection of details and it’s each of our jobs to make the little dots of others shine a bit brighter.
Some people may describe Joan and Nick as handsome. But don’t let their good looks fool you. Deep down the two of them are also smoking hot.
Other than Trump, I can’t recall one time she has complained and I definitely can’t remember one time she’s ever said, “I wish I had that.” Instead, she approaches each day as a treasure hunt to find the beauty around her.
My brother Steve shares this outlook on the world. When he too was hit with a life-threatening illness, when I asked him how he was holding-up he replied in a serious voice, “Can’t complain. I have two good dogs, a great wife, and a loving family. Life’s been good to me.”
Like all people, life hasn’t always been easy for my mom and brother. Regardless of this, if you were lost at sea with my mom she’d find a way to make you and laugh and if you were stuck in traffic with my brother you’d hear a lot of crazy stories.
Of course, I’m partial. But their quest to focus on the good in front of them instead of the bad things around them is a giant reason why I see my mom and brother as beautiful people.
The best part about getting older is that if you pay attention some patterns begin to emerge. One of the most glaring patterns for me is the people who make the hard choice to stick with people through their ugliest moments are also the ones who have the most meaningful relationships.
It’s easy to like someone when things are going well. However, the mark of a beautiful person, as Tom demonstrated, is how they choose to act when things go wrong.
They don’t rush to judgment. They step back and look at the person as a whole instead of labeling them for one mistake. They answer the phone when someone who pissed them off reaches out to try to make amends.
This doesn’t mean they always leave their door wide open. But beautiful people do try to leave it a little ajar. They do this because they know they aren’t perfect either and the scars we share with others have a funny way of turning into strong bonds over time.
What does a beautiful person look like?
The first time I asked myself this question it sounded fluffy and I thought there was no way I’d ever run an article listing the traits of others that I thought were beautiful.
But I wish I hadn’t waited 42 years to do it. Thinking about this question the last week has been a valuable exercise. Just having it float around in the back of my head has helped me to think about the good around me instead of getting so damn frustrated with all the bad things happening in the world.
Look at the people around you.
Listen to them.
Take note of the qualities that make them beautiful.
It’s hard not to find something attractive in others if we make the choice to proactively look for it.