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What makes a person beautiful:nurturing beauty's true essence

By Michelle Liew Tsui-LIn


Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

“Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks.Not in what they say. Just in what they are.” ― Markus Zusak, I am the Messenger

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is only skin deep. We know of a wealth of cliches on beauty. We have been told countless times and in endless ways about looking at the beauty underneath the surface package.

To look at things from a realistic perspective, it can be difficult to look at what makes a person truly beautiful, because we are but human and looking at a pleasurable thing at the surface level is what pleases our hearts.

Once in a while, we do need a little reminding about the essence of true beauty. I am not addressing the issue of beauty being at the surface level, because it has all been said before. Instead, we look at what constitutes beauty, for it means many different things to all of us.


What is the essence of true beauty?


Beauty is indeed different for everyone but there are some commonalities that form its true essence. Certainly, these elements should be a part of our perspective of beauty.

There is nothing more beautiful than observing true passion at work. True passion for life, work and the little things in life gives a certain aura that makes a person truly attractive.

Passion is truly the key. I am not a cook, and will never claim to be. But watching my grandmother at work preparing the Peranakan delicacies she is famous for and the love she has for every ingredient is truly beautiful motivation for me to use the kitchen more often to conjure up a few scrumptious pleasures of my own.

Listening to my father and the passion that he has for the guitar was the beauty that propelled my love for music and being a music teacher, which still holds true to this day.



Sincerity is one of the things that contributes to the essence of true beauty. We all admire a person who truly walks his talk.

I once worked under a teacher who served as the Head of Department for English Department at a school I was teaching Literature at. This Head was not one to just delegate work and expound the philosophy of teaching - she truly got down to the nitty gritty and worked together with the rest of the staff of the English Department. She did not just say that remedial lessons should be done, but put in the extra hours needed to do them herself.

The thing that made this lady truly beautiful was that she listened with a non-judgemental, open ear whenever the teaching staff in her department had any problems with students. The sincerity was certainly refreshing and wonderfully admirable.


The ability to go beyond

When a person can go beyond in the spirit of truth and with a sincere heart, he really radiates beauty beyond belief. The vital words would be “sincere heart”, without any unhealthy intrinsic motivations.

Going the extra mile without expectations that would otherwise discourage any other positive giving truly makes a person beautiful. A wonderful model of this would be my own mother-in-law, who is willing to make any sacrifice of time and effort for her children, a beautiful rarity sadly quite difficult to witness in this day and age. She does not consider returns for the time and effort she spends on cooking or looking after my twin nieces and only requires that they be truly positive in mind and spirit.


What makes you beautiful One Direction

The ability to empathize

A person who can put him or herself in the shoes of another and not just say “I feel sorry for you” is one who radiates true beauty. The ability to know what it is like for another person or to at least have the willingness to understand another person’s situation is beauty that makes a true difference in one’s life and the lives of others. Here is more on what empathy is.


Clarity of purpose

I would argue that a person who really knows and understands what he is doing and what the purpose of his being is is enchanting. We all admire someone with clear vision and direction.

It is not always easy to know where one is headed for, but those do have a purpose,unwavering determination and decisiveness that models for others and truly strikes a chord.

A person who illustrates such clarity of purpose is a friend of mine, Elizabeth Rutten Ng, who took the road less traveled to become a dance therapist specializing in dance and embodied movement therapy that contributes to inner healing. So determined was she that she overcame numerous odds - including moving to another country, learning a completely new language and getting a degree - to become a strong advocate for authentic movement being able to facilitate emotional healing.

What makes this lady outstandingly beautiful is her sincere zest for the craft and its healing that she strongly believes in. Her approach to promoting the healing gift of dance therapy is a no holds barred one. SHe comes back regularly to Singapore to conduct workshops that show how embodied movement works to shape and promote a better, holistic self. You can find out more about the work she does on embodied movement and dance here.



Beautiful is the person who can be honest with others and most crucially, with himself. We respect those who tell us sincere truths with no hidden agenda. We laud those who can touch base with themselves.

My husband has the gravitas and honesty that has made him a beautiful companion in our almost twelve years of marriage. His inner beauty lies in his ability to tell honest truths tactfully, a trait that is not easy to emulate. Truly beautiful is a person who manages to tell the truth and tell it well.


A zest for life

What better beauty to behold than someone who has a true vigour and love for life! Such a person is able to inspire and motivate others to take solid steps forward to achieve their goals.

One such person was my grandfather. A veteran tennis coach, his love for the game spurred many on to learn the sport from him. Even as he was riddled with cancer, his zest for living enabled him to fight it for twenty three years, no mean feat for a man in his eighties. He has taught us that the will to live can help one overcome many odds, a mantra I live by to this day.


The Belladonna Lily and the Horseman's Star

The Belladonna Lily

The Amaryllis Belladonna or the Belladonna Lily is a flower that has been used since ancient times to symbolize beauty, owing to its showy and colorful nature. The fact is not surprising, since the word Amaryllis comes from the Greek word to “sparkle”.

The Haiku form

A haiku, a short Japanese poem written in 17 syllables, the first line having 5, the second 7 and the third 5. Haiku are distinct because of their focus on nature, though modern poets have broached other subjects with haiku. An outstanding trait of Haiku is its juxtaposition of images and the use of them to create meaning. For more on Haiku, please read this informative article by Daisy Mariposa.

Do find a few haiga (haiku with imagery) haiku placed as photographs in this article. I hope you enjoy them!



To me, these elements constitute true beauty. Here, I would like to thank those who answered the question “What constitutes true beauty?” Do take the time to visit each of these wonderful authors.

Original Work by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

All rights reserved


Other poems by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin



Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on October 24, 2013:

Thanks, mawada.

mawada on October 21, 2013:

it's nice and the beautiful is beautiful inside

Poon Poi Ming from Malaysia on July 02, 2013:

Midget38, of course, we are talking of comparison, otherwise it is like what those corrupted monkeys are saying, i.e. corruption happens everywhere, and that justify what they are doing. And do you know what negotiated government tenders are? They negotiate as to how much you get and how much I get under the table and you call that good governance? Read this:


Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on July 02, 2013:

Believe me. It's definitely a problem everywhere, just how much and in what way. Though I'd have to agree, we're better off in that way

Poon Poi Ming from Malaysia on July 02, 2013:

Singapore was ranked No. 5 in Transparency International's Index in 2012, while Malaysia was ranked No. 54. In 2012, Malaysia also scored the lowest in Transparency International's Bribe Payers Survey, beating even Indonesia, a country with the biggest reputation for corruption. How can it be the same? Look at my website:


Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on July 02, 2013:

Oh, no fear, Walter.....it's the same. ;)

Poon Poi Ming from Malaysia on July 02, 2013:

Midget38, wait till you compare Malaysia with Singapore and see why a government purchase of an RM1,940 binocular for RM56,350 is considered perfectly above board... seems like you are not following Malaysian politics!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on July 01, 2013:

Well, the very nature of politics is selfish, Walter! I guess that's true the world over!

Poon Poi Ming from Malaysia on July 01, 2013:

Midget38, you're right. Inner beauty is what makes a person. I look at the politicians of the ruling coalition in my country and all I can say is "Ptuuuuiiiii". The only thing respectable about them is their "Yang Berhormat" title. And I guess they need that title very much because that is the only respectable thing about them.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on July 01, 2013:

Thanks for sharing, passionate77! It really is inner beauty that makes a person!

passionate77 on July 01, 2013:

so great article defining the true meaning of real beauty that never depends only on looks but there is lot more to be considered about a person when judging him/her as a beautiful human, and this articles disclose all those hidden aspects of true beauty that really makes a person beautiful indeed, no matter how common he or she look outwardly but eventually its only inner beauty that makes a person really adorable. i bookmarked the page, really loved a lot reading all till the end and enjoyed a lot, great hub, stay blessed!

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on June 30, 2013:


This is an awesome hub and I really enjoyed reading it. Sadly, most people only see beauty on the surface. In this hub you have reminded people that there is much more to beauty than what you see superficially. I agree with all of your opinions about beauty. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 24, 2013:

Thank you, Rose.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 24, 2013:

Thanks, Peggy, for the vote and share.

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on June 23, 2013:

An awesome article! You have captured all the elements of true beauty. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 23, 2013:

This is such an inspiring hub describing what makes for true beauty. It is so much more about what is inside a person as opposed to appearances on the outside that truly count. You stated it beautifully. Up votes and happy to share.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 16, 2013:

Thanks, Ish.

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on June 16, 2013:

A beautifully written hub filled with wise words and lovely haiga! You are absolutely right in your perspective that beauty is more about character rather than looks. Here it is amazing to learn about people well-known to you serving as ideal examples in this uplifting hub of yours! Way to go!

Thanks for SHARING. Beautiful & Awesome. Voted up & shared

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 15, 2013:

Hi Lurana, thanks so much for sharing!

MrsBrownsParlour on June 14, 2013:

Wise and thoughtful and full of beauty...wonderful work, Michelle! ~Lurana

Gary R. Smith from the Head to the Heart on June 14, 2013:

Wow, you have pointed out some of the true facets of beauty, the essential qualities of beauty expressed through humanity:

Passion, Sincerity, The ability to go beyond, The ability to empathize, clarity of purpose, Honesty, A zest for life

I am glad to discover you here, through the Question you posted on "Which songs strike you as capturing the true spirit of beauty?"

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 13, 2013:

That's right, Martie, and I have another music hub in mind on the subject. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 13, 2013:

Hi Bravewarrior, no, I've not opted out, and will include the team. Sorry about that! Thanks for sharing!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 13, 2013:

Michelle, you bring forth some awesome realities of what beauty really exemplifies. I take it since you have not mentioned the Perspectives Team in this hub that you have opted out of being our guest writer this month?

Martie Coetser from South Africa on June 13, 2013:

Excellent hub. I look forward to the one you are going to publish as a guest writer of the Perspectives on the 15th. There are so much to say about beauty, and more about the beauty in the souls of human beings.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 12, 2013:

Yes, it does have many faces. Thanks for sharing, Janet!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 12, 2013:

Thanks so much, Elias!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 12, 2013:

I would love to join you all next month too, Maria!! Yes, I was a bit early, coz this weekend would be a bit busy for me. Thanks for sharing!!

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on June 12, 2013:

What a wonderful hub! Beauty has so many faces. So great you described some of them. I also liked that you shared personal experience or persons that have the qualities you described. And of course, I also love your haiga.

Elias Zanetti from Athens, Greece on June 12, 2013:

Wonderful hub and well written. I agree with your views on what true beauty actually is. Voted ans shared.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on June 12, 2013:

Along with Docmo, I was rushing to the calendar...thank heavens it is not the 15 th yet...

A beautiful and most personal perspective, Michelle.

Thanks so much for asking Martie to be part of the Perspectives team this month. Have a great week, Maria

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 11, 2013:

Thanks, Vellur.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 11, 2013:

We would be.....yet such is life! Thanks for sharing!!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 11, 2013:

Thanks, Mary!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 11, 2013:

No worries! I value empathy the most too. Thanks for sharing, Leslie.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 11, 2013:

Correct! lovely video too, Lamservant...rings true, doesn't it?

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 11, 2013:

I'm a little early, Doc! Thanks, glad you've enjoyed it.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 11, 2013:

Thanks, DDE.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 11, 2013:

Beautiful hub and a great write. Beauty comes from deep within and not from looks or appearances. Beauty is beyond the skin. Great Haiga, voted up.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 11, 2013:

Yes, it does, so asking for a decision is a bit of a trick! Thanks, Mary.

Mary from Cronulla NSW on June 11, 2013:

Voted U U A & Beautiful this one Midget..You are so right beauty comes in many forms and we are foolish if we don't look deeper than the superficial veneer of physicality..thanks for your great hub..cheers

Mary Craig from New York on June 11, 2013:

This was amazing. I don't know which was more beautiful, your words or the photos. You've certainly put together a beautiful piece that reminds us what beauty is all about! Well done my friend.

Voted up, useful, beautiful, and interesting. Oh, and shared too!

Karen Silverman on June 11, 2013:

thank goodness beauty shines from within, cause the shine's gettin' a little dull on the out! lol...

whateva' - i'm alive - healthy - and am lucky with friends and family!

I definitely ticked empathy altho there are certainly other worthy tributes that you covered beautifully!

clarity of purpose came in last for me..just saying..lol..

sharing on Michelle, peace and lovexx

Lori Colbo from United States on June 11, 2013:

This is wonderful. The very thing I look at in people unconsciously. Here is another song the singer wrote to his daughter, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C2o0jHNRuU


Mohan Kumar from UK on June 11, 2013:

Beautiful thoughts on beauty here, Michelle. (For second I thought I had forgotten to post my perspective hub on time!) your wonderful list of all things beautiful captures the true spirit of beauty. Your haiku is a great addition to the article.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 11, 2013:

Incredible thoughts on What makes a person beautiful:nurturing beauty's true essence. It is vital to ones character to see one in this way and you said it all here.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 10, 2013:

It was hard for me to vote in your poll because I believe it takes all those traits to make a person beautiful!

I have known people in my life that certainly would not have won a beauty prize, but yet they were beautiful.

Great job with this one, Michelle. Voted Upand shared.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 10, 2013:

Smiling truly makes a person beautiful. Thanks for sharing,Nell.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 10, 2013:

Hi, Walter!! Correct. If only the world could scratch below the surface. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 10, 2013:

Thankfully, yes, Bill! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 10, 2013:

It is, isn't it..because people look for what pleases the senses. Thanks for sharing, Kidscrafts.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 10, 2013:

Thank you, Dasy.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 10, 2013:

Thank you, Eddy!

Nell Rose from England on June 10, 2013:

I always say the most beautiful person is the one who smiles. I remember back years ago when I was moaning about being ugly and spotty (teens) and my friend said, just keep smiling! love this midget, wonderful!

Poon Poi Ming from Malaysia on June 10, 2013:

The most beautiful person in the world must be Albert Einstein, with his tongue sticking out. Unfortunately, I can't display his pic to show what I mean. Even the physically ugliest person in the world is the most beautiful in our eyes, if he can solve our toughest problems, e.g. an incurable disease. And that's being realistic.

What is physical beauty, anyway, other than what the fashion magazines define it for us? And have we not come across some of the most physically beautiful people in the world whom we love to hate? (Names withheld for obvious reason.) A wonderful hub, this is, to remind us that beauty is more than skin-deep. Voted up with UABI!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2013:

If beauty was dependent on good looks I never had a chance. Thankfully there are those who look deeper into a person and find the beauty within. Great message, Michelle.

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on June 10, 2013:

Fantastic hub, Michelle!

In this day and age a lot of people associate beauty with physical beauty and when you think about it it's quite superficial.

The most important thing for me is the person inside; the one that you can't judge if you never talk to the person.

It's difficult to really choose one quality for the beauty in a person. I have several of them : sincerity, honesty and empathy.... for sure.

I admire the way you develop all your hubs, Michelle!

Voted up, interesting and awesome!

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on June 10, 2013:


I enjoyed seeing your haiga (haiku with imagery) included in your article.

Thanks for linking to my article "How to Write a Haiku about Nature." I appreciate it.

Eiddwen from Wales on June 10, 2013:

A wonderful share and voted up. Your obvious hard work has certainly paid off with this gem Michelle.

Enjoy your day.


Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 10, 2013:

On what makes a person truly beautiful, and haiku on a belladonna lily.

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