As I admired Karolina, Cindy and Brianna laughing and enjoying the sunset in the ocean side beach dunes of Qatar as they donned beautiful pastel colored traditional middle eastern dresses I thought about how blessed I was to be surrounded by such beauty. The sunset was magnificent, the setting was otherworldly and the girls are three of the most stunning women you’ll ever see and yet each completely different and wonderful in their own way.
Cindy has been almost a sister to me for more than ten years and she exemplifies courageous character and that strong Colombian dark-haired beauty with a middle eastern splash that is world renown. Karolina is a light brown Disney fairytale princess brought to life who not only has impeccable fashion but also works out more than I do and never ceases to smile in search of adventure. Brianna is a tall blonde Canadian beauty that is breezy, is a genuine comedic genius and always fun to be around.
As we wrapped our shoot in the desert, I thought about beauty and how we as humans tend to define it. Beauty is one of those abstract terms that people use on a daily basis but often fail to stop and really analyze. It’s a word that can get lumped into generic terms that are part of everyone’s vocabulary but not so simple to define. Words like love, hope, humility. People use them but we’re not all saying the same thing when we do.
So the question to us is what does beauty actually mean? As I sat in my computer once that wonderful Qatar experience had concluded, I remembered the thrill of jumping out of a helicopter. What stuck out to me was the peace I felt before I did so, knowing that my life was not in my hands, but that the same God who had protected me before would also see me through that fun adventure safely. I thought about how God might define beauty, after all, he invented it. I thought about the feeling of awe and how much attraction we feel to beauty as a whole: beauty in nature, esthetically pleasing architecture, beautiful music, beautiful food, beautiful people and I wondered why different people were so attracted to completely different things. Why do some guys love women with excessive plastic surgery while others prefer someone natural and demure. Why do some people find excess so appealing, you know? While others find the generosity of a kind act of one human being towards another more beautiful. Again, please don’t get me wrong… none of these things are mutually exclusive and if you’re able to afford it more power to you. I just wondered why different people were attracted to different qualities, looks and attributes (or defects for that matter) in people and in life. Here is what I found:
It turns out the beauty is like a mirror that allows us to see who we actually are at any given moment. Humans are always changing and that’s why our tastes can also evolve as we mature or devolve. You see, human beings find beautiful what they are attracted to, plain and simple. There is no general consensus about beauty and that is a fortunate blessing because it means that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Some people might see a Dali painting and find it unappealing if they don’t understand the symbolism or depth of it, while others would pay hundreds of millions if they had the money to purchase it. We value what we find beautiful because we are attracted to it. As humans, it’s very difficult to find attractive that which that we don’t understand. Most humans feel fear towards what is unknown and that repels them to some degree. Therefore, the more we come in contact with different people, races, religions, and cultures the more we actually begin to understand them. The more we understand them the more we can start to find certain qualities attractive and the more beautiful they’ll become in our eyes. Beauty begins with understanding.
In the world of travel and generally in life, we must always remember that what we find beautiful says much more about us than about the culture, object or person we are beholding. Every human being was made beautiful in God’s eyes and every culture has beautiful things about it that we can learn to value. We might not find every culture as beautiful or be drawn to all people in the same way… but ultimately, the highest form of beauty is always love. Love understands that we don’t all have to believe in the same way to belong in the family of humanity. Love allows us to become the best version of ourselves and allows us to see the very best in others. When we choose to love, we become radiant beacons of hope for humanity because love is patient, love is kind and love is attractive. When there are disagreements, love forgives easily and keeps no record of wrongs. Love is not proud and it doesn’t talk about itself over others. Love always hopes the best and believes the best of people by giving them the benefit of the doubt. Love isn’t walking around getting offended, picking fights and getting easily angered. At the end of the day, love never fails because it never gives up on people. Our bodies or traditions will fade eventually but love is a choice that never ages. You can love at twelve and you can continue to love just as hard at ninety. So out of all the qualities that should draw us to people, what we should aim to emulate and value is that most important and divine quality which lasts forever: love. Love is truly beautiful and when we finally understand it, we can also remain beautiful all the days of our lives because we are able to embody love. Love is true beauty.