One question I wish I was asked more often is how to achieve and nurture inner beauty. We can achieve and nurture true beauty from the inside out by caring for ourselves, surrendering more often, and being gentle with ourselves under stress.

The results of this inner beauty regimen are even more meaningful than a glowing face or reduced scarring or other signs we use to measure outer beauty. While skin will eventually age, our inner self only grows in wisdom and loveliness all the time.

As a dermatologist, I see many people come to me seeking a quick change: treating acne outbreaks, flaky itching patches, or wrinkles. However, one beauty routine that I’d love to see trending is giving our souls the same sort of attention that we’re applying to our skin care.

What is inner beauty?

What is inner beauty? Inner beauty is who you are, not what you look like. Inner beauty is more than skin-deep; it isn’t in the eye of the beholder. The great news about inner beauty is that you get to decide what “beautiful” means to you.

It’s worth taking the time to discuss what inner beauty is not. It doesn’t look like judging other people, plastic surgery or other external beauty efforts, or pushing yourself to fit unrealistic standards. Inner beauty means being loving to yourself, others, and the world around you.

While looks may fade over time, inner peace and self confidence grow more dazzling each year you practice them. When you take the time to care for your inner beauty, you’re making an investment that will follow you for the rest of your life.

Real beauty is about becoming a person you’re proud of — one that’s gentle with herself and sets her own standards. What are characteristics of inner beauty? Characteristics of inner beauty include being kind, loving yourself, maintaining positive self-esteem, and being at peace with the world.

When your beauty doesn’t depend on simply your haircut or a new outfit, it becomes a gift you can give to others. True beauty makes you stronger, a better person, more honest, and the best version of yourself.

In a World of Body Shaming… 

Why is inner beauty important? Inner beauty is important because we need to love ourselves in order to be truly healthy people. In a world of body shaming and impossible standards, being our best self is a beautiful act of defiance against unrealistic or one-size-fits-all standards of beauty.

body shaming

So often, we are judged by our photographs on social media, our accomplishments on a piece of paper, ideas from TV shows, or even the shape of our bodies. Our loved ones may tell us we’re beautiful, but sometimes, that’s hard to believe.

“Beautiful people” and “ugly people” are unfair, narrow categories for human beings. Physical characteristics don’t determine worth. While I believe in regular exercise, a healthy diet, and plenty of supplements, your outer appearance is far from defining your value.

It’s so important to value inner beauty above physical appearance. When you’re focused less on looks, you can do more for your wellbeing, like choosing natural foods instead of going hungry, or healing your gut instead of obsessing over stretch marks.

The truth is that shame doesn’t make us any healthier or help us live up to beauty standards. Scientific research shows that chronic stress from putting ourselves down is harmful for our physical and mental health. Being kind to yourself is healthy!

How can we rise above these messages of body shaming and inadequacy? Here are a few places to start: self-care, surrender, self-love, and stress reduction. It’s ok to start small!

1. Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is not all bubble baths and face masks, though they certainly are fun ways to unwind. Self-care can be an everyday routine that’s good for your physical mental wellbeing, and it’s simpler than you may think.

Woman eating healthy

Self-care is more than a want, it’s a real need in our lives. However, most of the lists simply include wine and spa treatments, and it goes much deeper than that. 

Here are a few self-care ideas you may not have considered before:

  • Drinking up! A good standard is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water, or roughly 9 glasses of water every day. Hydration benefits the skin and other internal systems. We need it to stay healthy.
  • Staying active. Rather than punishing your body into fitness, build more walking, taking the stairs, and other physical activity into your routine. Your body will thank you, and so will your energy levels.
  • Setting boundaries. Say no sometimes! You owe it to yourself not to live in burnout.
  • Living balanced. You don’t need to prioritize other people or work over your own happiness.
  • Procrastinating less. Often, we struggle to take care of ourselves by organizing well. Tackling projects now takes care of our future selves.
  • Finding your flow. Don’t wait until you’re exhausted after a workday to make a plan for self-care. Create a method for self-care that’s fun, personal, and intentional. Then, use it often — you can even try scheduling it into your week.

Our lives are more beautiful and joyful when we don’t put ourselves last. Self-care is a lifestyle, not an occasional escape. This practice of nurturing ourselves helps us build a life we love. When we care for ourselves well, our inner beauty shines. 

2. Surrender

Surrender is a gorgeous way to feel beautiful from the inside out. Do you struggle with needing to control your life, or constantly worrying how events will turn out? Most of us do, and it’s time to surrender.

What does it look like to surrender and cultivate inner peace? Surrendering to inner peace is trusting that the universe is all working out for us. Perhaps you can close your eyes and remind yourself of a time that everything worked out well, without you planning the outcome.

Maybe you need to simply sit down for a few minutes, take some deep breaths, and stop meditating on your to-do list or your stress. Gently practice letting go for a few minutes each day. When we accept where we are and that everything will work out, we gain inner beauty.

3. Stress Reduction

Stress isn’t just bad for your skin and sleep, but also detracts from your inner beauty. We can’t be our best selves when we are stressed, and reducing the stress in your life helps you take better care of yourself and your world. 

While stress is a normal part of life, it doesn’t have to rule your world. Here’s how to cut back on stress in your life:

  • Spend time with people that bring you joy. Don’t hang around people that add to your worries and frustrations, but rather people that listen well and then lift you up. 
  • Get outside. Time in the great outdoors can improve depression symptoms as well as lowering tension. Plus, it’s a beautiful trait to love our planet and take good care of it.
  • Get still. Spend time meditating, journaling, and doing breathing exercises. All of these reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and help you to be a beautiful presence that doesn’t carry stress inside you.
  • Try yoga. Yoga is shown to be “mind-body medicine.” Stretching places in your body and gentle meditation can help calm yogis and even make us more resilient to stress in the future. 
  • Shift your mindset. Is stress always a bad thing, or can it motivate and energize you to try new things? Too much stress is never a good thing, but someone with inner peace can use a little adrenaline rush to their advantage.

Reducing your stress not only makes you more pleasant to be around, but also clears a path for your inner beauty to shine.

4. Self-Love

People with inner beauty are loving to others and themselves. However, many times the way we discuss our bodies is anything but kind. In order to develop more self-love, it might be beneficial to change the language we use about our body. Your words have an impact on your body image and overall well being.

love your self

It might be helpful to start with gratitude. Write out a list of all the reasons you’re thankful for your body; how it helps you go places, or how your fingers let you type, or how it’s created life in the form of children, art, or creative expression. If you’re feeling good, try adding in a few of your favorite physical features, like your eyelashes or hips.

The more we focus on the positive aspects of the body we have, the less at war we will feel with it each day. Body shaming is thrown at us daily, but it’s our choice to use that language toward ourselves or to choose kind and intentional words.

If you’re not sure what to say, here’s a good rule of thumb: don’t say anything to yourself about your body that you wouldn’t say to a friend. People with real beauty know how valuable they are, and how to love themselves.

5. Start Small

All of these beautiful new ways to add to your inner beauty might feel overwhelming. You’re not alone, and these changes won’t be overnight! Even if it’s a few more glasses of water a day and choosing uplifting friends, small starts add up to big results.

Beautiful things don’t come from pushing yourself toward perfection. They come from a life of being kind, loving yourself, and being at peace with the world. Stress less, surrender more, and indulge in self-care and self-love. Over time, you’ll be amazed at your own beauty.

You Are Enough.

At the end of the day, you are enough. No matter where you are on your journey to loving and accepting yourself, you already deserve self-love, self-care, and a shame-free life. You already have inner beauty. It’s simply time to let it shine through these tips.

happy women

No external changes will make you more worthy of love and happiness. You already deserve good things. What does it mean to be beautiful on the inside? You get to decide what beautiful on the inside means — and then show the world.


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