The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
When we think of beautiful people we generally think of physical beauty, a beautiful young girl, a smiling baby, a handsome athletic man. Beauty, as defined by Hollywood, the cosmetics companies, and clothing lines, are now the norm. Their image is what most people describe as beautiful.
But, some of the most beautiful people I have ever met have a different kind of beauty; a beauty that comes from loss, failure, sadness, from being to hell and back. An understanding of life and its hardships, that tempers them and gives them an appreciation and understanding of life that increases their beauty from within.
These are the people that smile, even when they face difficulties. The people that always have a kind word of encouragement for everyone they meet.
We often mistakenly misjudge these people. They seem to be too happy, smile too much, and have too many kind words.
We think, “They wouldn’t be so happy if they walked a miles in my shoes!”
We see them as phony, pollyanna, or just plain naïve, that is, until we hear their story and understand the hardship that they endured that is, forever, a part of their lives. Their struggles got them to a point where they can help you through your struggle.
“Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
Behind their smiles are hardships, illness, memories of lost loved ones, and even horror stories that you may never have the capacity to understand.
These are the people that you will remember for a lifetime. They are the ones who will stand by you in your time of need, because they have been there themselves. These are truly the most beautiful people you will ever meet.
In the course of our lifetime, we will have the opportunity to meet a few of these beautiful people. An understanding teacher at school, a friend from college, a neighbor from the old neighborhood, a co-worker from a former job, a nurse from your hospital stay, it could be the most unlikely of people. But when you meet one of these beautiful people you will know. Be inspired by them, treasure them!
It is said that true beauty comes from within, and it is true. As Kübler-Ross observed, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
Let’s celebrate that light.
This is an updated post from March of 2014. Currently I am finishing the manuscript for my second book, A Storyteller’s Guide to Joyful Service–Turning your Misery into your Ministry. While away from blogging, I will be featuring some posts from the archive that you may not have ever had a chance to read. I’ll have all new stories beginning in April.
Original Blog used with permission can be found here: