Real beauty walks down our street.

It works next to us, wakes up in our neighborhood, and shares living space with us.

It rides by us on a wave of 'Did you see that?' and 'I don't want to be a creeper, but I can't look away.'

Real beauty starts with the look in the eye. Doubt can't find it's way past the beauty, because the gleam of self confidence is just too strong. That powerful gaze isn't cocksure, though. It's tinged with an understanding that sometimes it's going to feel like the whole show is crumbling around us.

Because of that humility, the beauty remains, grows stronger, even gains validity. Beauty says, "It doesn't matter what you show me, I will still find my way to see only beauty."

Beauty can be found in images faked by magazines, but it's different from the person who just did me a favor, let me pass in traffic, who served me coffee, or who I woke up with this morning. That's beauty that I can touch, feel, taste, and really experience. Images of beauty can be beautiful, but for me, not as beautiful as what is right in front of me.

Beauty lies in the flesh, for the flesh is the case that contains our eternal souls. It shows though the eyes, resounds in the sounds, traces the curves, and manifests in the smile. Beauty is most grand when it is recognized with gratitude by the person who exhibits it. When a person realizes that they are beautiful, that everything and everyone around them is beautiful, it becomes easier and easier for them to become more and more beautiful.

Beauty is a celebration. It's an affirmation. It is intention.

The lynch pin of beauty is that it will hide inside as long as we try to deny it is there. The only way to keep it under the surface is to not believe in it.

When we wonder about our beauty our shoulders hunch.

When we know our beauty, we throw our hands wide, squeeze our shoulders blades together, open our heart to the Heavens and shout "Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this beauty!"

When we doubt our beauty, we keep our eyes averted.

When we know our beauty, we look dead in they eye as if to say, "Yes."

If we can't see beauty, it isn't the media's fault. It isn't the model's fault. There is no one to blame and no reason for shame. We may have to change the way we look for beauty, or the way we look at our world. Part of the beauty of being human is that we are constant creators, so our environment is going to be flooded with those creations. Buildings, cars, machines, signs, landscape design, slogans on clothing, and, yes, images. We are going to see a lot of images. The people making the images think what they are producing is beautiful, and in many ways, it is.

I also appreciate videos like the one in this post, because it shows us how much the things we see are enhanced. Are we being had? Are we being sold something? Almost always. But I don't see that as inherently bad either.  I still choose what I buy, and beauty is likely to get my dollar.

What we are being shown in many images isn't real. But I think the question isn't what are you being shown, but what are you seeing?

What defines beauty for you?