5 Ways to Cultivate Your Inner Beauty

5 Ways to Cultivate Your Inner Beauty April 13, 2024

You As a Spiritual Practice  

You are a spiritual practice. We are all works in progress. The spiritual practice of you challenges us to become all we were meant to be in God’s eyes – beloved children who are wonderfully loved. 

In addressing the word beauty, we need to consider what it is. Beauty is from God and is a result of God’s creative hand. Beauty is good when it is not corrupted by sinful nature. Humanity, however, is obsessed with the notion of beauty. We desire to be beautiful, and we want the things we own to be beautiful.  

Across millennia, beauty has had a relative and empirical orientation to it. Beauty is also prone to relativism.  

As I pondered how to write this essay, I considered all the “Christian” teachings I have been offered and consulted a few in preparation, but I found them all to fall short. I tend to be allergic to offerings entitled “What does the bible say” as I find them problematic. (See my article on deconstruction (https://www.patheos.com/blogs/loveopensdoors/2024/04/a-creedal-faith-after-deconstruction/). As someone who spends a good amount of time in the book of Psalms, I do enjoy the images of beauty found there.  

Ancient Notions of Beauty 

If we really want to turn to the bible and see what it “says”, we must turn to the philosophies of the time that led the early bible thinkers to record their thoughts on what beauty is. Among the early Greeks, beauty was seen one of the ultimate values. The ancient philosophers Aristotle and Plato largely saw beauty as objective in the sense that it is not localized in the response of the beholder. Aristotle’s thinking would permeate the notion of beauty through what is recorded as the biblical period, influencing Roman ideology up to Aquinas and into modernity.  

Consider this idea from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on this observation around Roman notions of beauty based on the architect, Vitruvius https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/beauty/ : 

Architecture consists of Order, which in Greek is called taxis, and arrangement, which the Greeks name diathesis, and of Proportion and Symmetry and Decor and Distribution which in the Greeks is called oeconomia. 

Order is the balanced adjustment of the details of the work separately, and as to the whole, the arrangement of the proportion with a view to a symmetrical result. 

Proportion implies a graceful semblance: the suitable display of details in their context. This is attained when the details of the work are of a height suitable to their breadth, of a breadth suitable to their length; in a word, when everything has a symmetrical correspondence. 

Symmetry also is the appropriate harmony arising out of the details of the work itself: the correspondence of each given detail to the form of the design as a whole. As in the human body, from cubit, foot, palm, inch and other small parts come the symmetric quality of eurhythmy. (Vitruvius, 26–27) 

So, for example, when we reflect on what the bible says around beauty, especially when looking at the New Testament, we must consider the source from which they are drawing their standards of beauty.  

Spiritual Practice of You – Cultivating your Inner Beauty 

Focusing on You as a spiritual practice enhances your authenticity and counters our tendency towards low self-esteem or the other extreme: grandiosity. As noted above, a war rages within us daily. We sometimes fight to see ourselves as God sees us, beautiful creatures created out of Divine love. To live life spiritually is one that requires us to think of ourselves in a high enough regard and be able to serve others. This balance is delicate and one that I observe people struggling with daily; most often, focusing on serving others to the detriment of themselves. What can you do to better cultivate your inner beauty? 

Attune to Your Outer Self 

Who do you see on the outside? When you look in the mirror. What do you see. Or don’t you. Do you avoid mirrors because they show your scars? You are a gift. You were and are wonderfully made. All your wrinkles, your scars, your weight. You are loved.  

If you do not like the view though and if you can do something about it. Then do it. It may take a few months, it may take a year, it may take a couple of years. But you are a spiritual practice.  

Attune to Your Inner Self

Often these days, I see so many storms ravaging people. Storms of fear, anger, sadness, loss. This point goes with my last point, see a therapist. But attuning to our inner selves is more than our trauma. It is also cultivating a healthy emotional intelligence and becoming aware of how our body feels at any given point in time. What does it feel to be happy? What does it feel to be sad? What does it feel to be free?  

Taking a deep breath in, I smile. May I be safe, may I be healthy, may I be at ease.  

Cultivate Pride and Humility 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. If you have accomplished much, and you have accomplished little, it does not matter in God’s eyes. There has been a persistent problem in Christianity around pride. It has and continues to be seen as a vice and a behavior that is often frowned upon. I know in my early days of preaching; I would have preached against pride. The old saying, “pride goes before the fall” has prohibited many from sitting back and being proud or amazed at their accomplishments.  

Humbly we must always be aware that we are always seen by God in heaven, that our actions everywhere are in God’s sight and are reported by angels at every hour (Rule of Saint Benedict Chapter 1 vs. 13). 

Cultivating Pride and Humility balances our awareness of our accomplishments with the knowledge that God sees our accomplishments. Pride is not being boastful, not going after adoration, because we know that God sees us. Pride then is having a sense of accomplishment and having a feeling of elation over it.  

Begin to See All Obstacles as Places to Grow 

I love ancient philosophy, especially the Stoics. The Stoic view of adversity emphasizes the importance of focusing on what we can control and accepting what we cannot. By accepting the reality of the situation, we can shift our focus to finding solutions and opportunities for growth. As Epictetus once said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” 

I sometimes get called out on this; people think I am out of touch. What I can’t often tell people is how I have been stabbed in the back and betrayed by the institution that was supposed to support my career. I remember the first time it happened, shocked and dismayed of course, I simply said, ok and figured it out. It is easier now that I am older, but it took some work. You can do it too.  

Consider Therapy to Begin to Unpack Why You Don’t See Your Goodness 

There are a lot of self-help gurus, influencers and books galore to help you find your inner beauty. There are two components that are lacking from these sources. The one-on-one connection and the evidence-based practice one gets when they see a therapist.  

Life is hard. Bad things happen. Our society does a terrible job of encouraging proper and healthy emotional growth. A therapist can be that connection you need to help you begin to stabilize your mental health so that you can move along Maslow’s hierarchy and reach for that self-actualization of awesomeness that within all of us.  

Nothing I have presented here is easy or quick. I first began to lose my career 20 years ago. I kept it on life support for another 16 years before officially pulling the plug and pulling the plug. You are a work in progress. Getting yourself straight and seeing yourself as God intended is a spiritual practice. You are worth it.  




Sartwell, Crispin, “Beauty”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2022 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2022/entries/beauty/ 


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