Every day there seems to be a new product or a new fad to try to improve the appearance of your skin, to decrease the size of your waistline, to make you more attractive to a potential partner. We buy these products or experiment with new fads hoping that it will make a real, lasting difference in our skin tone or pant size or social life…but it usually doesn’t.
Deep down, we probably already know there’s really only one way to look beautiful and charm others into wanting to be in our company—to let our inner beauty out.
According to the Dalai Lama, the secret to happiness isn’t really a secret: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
The practice of compassion is letting your inner beauty show through acts of kindness motivated solely by the understanding of another human’s distress and the desire to ease that burden. When you practice compassion, you not only help another human through a time of need, you motivate them to do the same for someone else. And slowly, as we pay forward the acts of kindness we receive, we transform the world into a better place…and we feel better about ourselves in the process because we know we have been instrumental in bringing about such a profound change.
Bringing about a profound change doesn’t necessitate a lot of money or political influence. It only requires the willingness to help one person at a time by:
Smiling and being friendly. Throughout the day, we’re typically greeted by a lot of scowls and plastered-on pleasantness. But a genuine smile is disarming. For the brief moment that it lasts, we’re allowed to share in the happiness and joy of someone else. And it’s often contagious because it reminds the receiver of their own happiness and joy, which they share with someone else.
Giving up the stuff you don’t want or need. As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Your clothes, electronics, housewares, etc. can have a second useful life if you donate them to charity rather than let them take up space in the basement, attic or landfill.
Listening. It may feel a bit awkward to let someone share their frustrations about a micromanaging supervisor or a misbehaving child. But if you can just stand there and listen without judging or trying to fix everything, you may have given someone just what they needed—the opportunity to vent and nothing more.
Giving a compliment…where others can hear it. A genuine compliment can boost someone’s self-confidence, but a genuine compliment in front of a superior or a significant other can help the audience see a new, positive side about the person being complimented that they may not have realized before.
Tell someone what they mean to you. Often, we assume that our partners, children, parents, friends, etc. know how we feel about them, and hopefully they do. But that’s no reason not to tell them anyway. Writing an email, a card or even a text letting someone know why or what you appreciate about them makes people feel special…and that’s how we want our loved ones to feel because they are special.
These small acts of compassion are only very small sample of the number of things you can do to make a difference in one other person’s life. Letting your inner beauty shine doesn’t have to cost you a thing or require you to rearrange your schedule. But if you get the point where you do want to do more and you have time to give, there are hundreds of opportunities to practice compassion among your network of family and friends and beyond by volunteering for charities and other non-profit organizations.
No matter how you let your inner beauty out, it will show. Your friendly smile and radiant glow won’t go unnoticed by everyone around you. And when they ask what you’re doing different, you’ll have something much more powerful to pass on than the latest fad or beauty product.