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The Power of Beauty

By Kim A. Talbert
December 28th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

"Beauty creates energy and relieves stress." I didn't hear who the keynote speaker said she was quoting, but it didn't matter.  Her opening words caught my attention and I was glad I'd attended the luncheon. How true that statement is.  It applies to both external and internal beauty on so many levels. 

WASHINGTON,DC (the burningbeast.com) - "Beauty creates energy and relieves stress." 

I didn't hear who the keynote speaker said she was quoting, but it didn't matter.  Her opening words caught my attention and I was glad I'd attended the luncheon. How true that statement is.  It applies to both external and internal beauty on so many levels. Externally, beautiful people are pleasing to look at.  One can be so mesmerized by another's beauty that they can momentarily lose focus of reality. 

Dr. Judith Langlois, a psychology professor from the University of Texas at Austin, conducted research showing that even infants have a sense of what's attractive.  In the late 1980's, she began placing three- and six-month-old babies in front of a screen and showed them pairs of facial photos.  Each pair included someone considered attractive by adult judges and someone considered unattractive, whether female, male or other babies.  The results concluded that infants gazed significantly longer at the "attractive" ones than the "unattractive" ones.

During the Christmas season, people of all ages are drawn to the beauty of Christmas lights and decorations.  In fact, the gaudier and brighter the display, the more attention it receives.  Entire television shows are dedicated to showcasing elaborate light displays, some of which the homeowners have spent several months and thousands of dollars to concoct.  Why?  Because the creative beauty captivates, and for those moments spent fixated on them, stress is relieved and positive energy envelopes the body.

Internal beauty also creates energy and relieves stress.  While God has bestowed the world with some incredible external beauty for mankind's enjoyment, it's the internal beauty of one's soul that really matters.  It's often harder to achieve internal beauty, though.  After all, it's much easier to paint make-up on the face than it is to forgive one's neighbor.  It's easier to run a string of lights around one's house than to open it to those in need.  Presenting a beautifully set table for the holidays may be easier than serving up genuine love to those who sit around it.  The splendor of a city's downtown district with storefronts brimming of holiday clothes is much easier on the eyes-and especially the heart-than the homeless huddled on its curbs.

Although matters of the heart and soul are internal, they are by no means hidden from the external world.  Most can read the internal grindings and intentions of another.  Sometimes we're caught off guard when we realize others have seen more deeply than the smile on our face, causing us to feel emotionally naked.  If only we'd choose our thoughts and attitudes as carefully as we choose the clothes we put on each morning. 

But, oh, when we meet people filled with sincere internal beauty, it's like a breath of mountain air on a snowy morning-fresh, invigorating, and stimulating.  Their inner workings override their physical features, and our descriptions of them to others are filled with the décor of their souls rather than their physical compositions.  Those with internal beauty have the ability to revive us, to fill us with positive energy, and to melt away whatever stress plagues us at the moment.

Christ's words and actions provide humanity with the means to purify the interior, and with Christmas, what better time than His birthday celebration to do just that?

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Kim A. Talbert is an award-winning nonfiction author, columnist, speaker and writing conference instructor. She is also the author of The Burning Beast, www.theburningbeast.com 

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