How happiness can make you beautiful (1899)

How happiness can make you beautiful (1899)

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How happiness can make you beautiful (1899)

The woman beautiful: The secret of charm

Whether beauty be as evanescent as the legendary vapor which Psyche brought from Hades when sent there by the gods for a fragment of the alluring thing, depends altogether upon the mental and moral qualities of its possessor.

The highest development of physical beauty is the result of correct living and high thinking, and without these the most exalted type that chances to be bodied forth in flesh and blood must prove almost as ephemeral as a passing dream.

The most exquisitely-molded features if devoid of intelligence would arouse aversion, and the soulless face excites this emotion in only a lesser degree; for “Every spirit makes its house, and we can give a shrewd guess from the house to the inhabitant.”

The first lesson to be learned, therefore, by the girl or woman who seeks the development of her own beauty, is that enduring beauty comes from within, that lovely thoughts create curves of loveliness in face and form, and that the more susceptible she becomes to their elevating influence, the greater is their vitality, and the more effective the work of the refining chisel.

A keen and sympathetic interest in humanity, an appreciation of all that is great and good, and a broad charity for its faults and follies — these are subjects that open to the mind a wider horizon and enable us to see beyond the belittling cares of life, which, though they be but molehills, assume, when, dwelt upon, the proportions of a mountain.

Don’t study so much the shape of your nose as the thought which brings a sparkle to your eye; cultivate an intimate knowledge with the emotions which chronicle themselves in attractive curves in your all-too-plastic features.

A trinity of beautifers

“Thoughts are like atoms, fashioned by the will;
Each has a mission charged with good or ill;
Sometimes to bless; anon to desolate;
Love’s messenger; or harbinger of fate.”

Happiness is a marvelously effective sculptor, and the secret of it lies within ourselves; faith, love, and charity are a trinity of beautifiers that shape and perfect a character of such charm that it makes a plain face lovely and a beautiful one simply irresistible.

Of all the molding forces ever at work making and marring beauty, none rewards its assiduous cultivation with such usurious interest as that of spiritual activity. It is the link within us which connects us with divinity, and, therefore, the source of all vital energy; and under its influence, mental and physical health and growth are as spontaneous as the germinating of seeds in the warm bosom of Mother Earth under the glowing rays of the sun.

The dwarfing of the soul is the dwarfing of the body; in its development lies every woman’s freedom from the chains of self which confine her to the petty irritations and sordid interests that strew her daily path and seam her face with haunting wrinkles.

Soul-force, which is inexhaustible and increases in power in direct ratio to its use, is the great irradiator. From it spring enthusiasm for all good purpose and high endeavor which illuminate the whole face with that light that never dies. This is the secret of “The divinity within us that makes the divinity without.”

Happiness can make you beautiful (1899)

Happiness can make you beautiful: An adorable soul

One of the most beautiful women of this century was Queen Louise of Prussia, and in mature life, this noble tribute was paid her by her brother: “My heart tells me that the ravishing beauty with which nature has endowed you is only the reflection of an adorable soul… We all look upon you as the embodiment of perfect love and perfect goodness.”

The well-known New York artist Mr. J. Wells Champney gives as his ideal of the highest beauty, “Not the perfectly-modeled face, but one that is mobile enough to reflect each passing thought; a face like pellucid water in the sunlight; one that is merely a veil over the soul.”

And Ruskin, than whom, perhaps, no student of art and humanity ever studied more thoroughly or from a higher plane the subject of woman’s beauty and influence, summed up what he considered “a perfect description of womanly beauty” in these words:

“A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet.”

Happiness can make you beautiful: Stimulating genius

Health, beauty, intelligence, and goodness form an influence before which all humanity bows in homage and obedience. To it, nothing is denied, and it acts as an electric force upon all sensitive temperaments; stimulating genius to its most dazzling achievements, and rousing lower natures to climb to greater heights of thought and effort.

“To the materialistic philosopher,” says that introspective writer, Mr. Amiel, “the beautiful is a mere accident and therefore rare. To the spiritualist philosopher, the beautiful is the rule, the law, the universal foundation of things, to which every form returns as soon as the force of accident is withdrawn. Why are we ugly? Because we are not in the angelic state, because we are evil, morose, and unhappy.

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“Heroism, ecstasy, prayer, love, enthusiasm, weave a halo ’round the brow, for they are a setting-free of the soul, which through them gains force to make its envelope transparent and shine through upon all around it. Beauty is, then, a phenomenon belonging to the spiritualization of matter… As a powerful electric current can render metals luminous, and reveal their essence by the color of their flames, so intense life and supreme joy can make the most simple mortal dazzlingly beautiful. Man, therefore, is never more truly man than in these divine states.”

“Man” is used here in a generic sense, meaning all mankind, and the assertion applies especially to woman, whose veil of mortal flesh is so much more transparent than her brother’s, and consequently reflects so much more vividly every emotion of her soul.

Happiness can make you beautiful: Is it a contradiction?

It may seem a contradiction, but it is possible to be lovely without being beautiful; and that personal attribute which carries all before it with the same irresistible force as beauty, fascination, is largely the result of culture.

Don’t think for a moment that it is a mere trick of graceful poses or wherewithal you shall be clothed. The external things are all valuable accessories, by no means to be depreciated, but secondary to what you do.

“Actions speak louder than words,” and the reason is that they are the title-page and full index to your heart and mind. It is by the beauty of these — the outward expression of your thoughts — that you shall charm. They make the atmosphere which surrounds you, and in which you are a prisoner for life. Your soul shall easier walk out through your eyes and confront you with a twin personality, than you shall escape your atmosphere; and it depends upon yourself whether it shall attract or repel.

A gentle courtesy to all humanity, and especially to the weak and lowly, tenderness for all suffering, appreciation of all that is good and noble, sympathy with heroic actions, and a large compassion for human failings — these create an atmosphere that makes a veritable halo ’round your head, and attracts to you the best minds and the rarest natures. The lovely and encouraging fact about it is, too, that this sort of charm develops so rapidly when given the right encouragement — the nourishment, so to speak — and it never fades, but increases with use, experience, and years. Happiness is a wonderful beautifier; ” it does away with all ugliness, and even makes the beauty of beauty.”

It was this sort of charm which Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes had in mind when, after expressing his mind freely upon the type of woman he personified in “The Model of all the Virtues,” he said:

“But a woman who does not carry about with her wherever she goes a halo of good feeling and desire to make everybody contented — an atmosphere of grace, mercy, and peace, of at least six feet radius, which wraps every human being upon whom she voluntarily bestows her presence, and so flatters him with the comfortable thought that she is rather glad he is alive than otherwise, isn’t worth the trouble of talking to, as a woman; she may be well enough to hold discussions with.”

Vintage article - How happiness can make you beautiful (1899)


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One Response

  1. Thank you for publishing this most exquisite article on beauty. I am blown away and inspired. The article is so reflective of a bygone era, poetic and wise.

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