I thought this was an easy one when I first read it. Then I started thinking. (Fatal error, I know!)
What do I call my friends? Gorgeous, amazing, confident, complicated, honest, wonderful, strong, funny, lovely, lovable, warm, kind-hearted, considerate, compassionate, caring. Don’t I have nice friends! All of those adjectives I ones I will either own myself or aspire to.
Except one: gorgeous. Not one I think of as belonging to me, now or in the future. But I am beginning to concede that one day I may be able to think of it as part of my future. Just not now.
But gorgeous wasn’t the word. Beautiful is. It’s not a word I like but I’d never really thought about it before. Beautiful is a word I use to describe sunset, flowers, music, nebulas. It’s a word I feel to mean a kind of perfection that only happens in nature or some art forms. When applied to people it tends to refer to a perfect idealised type of beauty without character that I don’t actually like. Or maybe I’m just jealous that I can never attain that, even though I don’t want it.
And yet, that list of characteristics if all owned by one person, would make their personality very beautiful . But I do shy away of that one word.
So I acknowledge the difference between inner and outer beauty and would also recognise that most of the compliments I give are about inner beauty. I do tell people they’re looking good when they are but what I love about my friends is the sparkle in the eyes, the animation in the conversation and their generosity of spirit.
Maybe I’m closer to them then I think.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines beauty as
pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically
of a very high standard; excellent
Chambers define it as
having an appearance or qualities which please the senses or give rise to admiration in the mind
I like “give rise to admiration in the mind”, that is the aesthetic mind pleasing that a flower, song or landscape can give.
Friends please me in the warmth, love and companionship they provide and that makes the relationship beautiful but I would still find it difficult to call someone beautiful. I will have to try it and see what happens.
So I’m finding this slightly unsatisfactory as an answer but it’s raising my awareness that I have an issue with the word and its meaning. It’s also reminded me what massively wonderful friends I have and how much I love them.
Beautiful You, by Rosie Molinary is available at Amazon (click on the picture) and her website is Rosie Molinary