We are wired to admire beauty in nature, art or people. Even small babies prefer beautiful faces. Beauty satisfies our brain, which responds with the secretion of “happy hormones”.
But as unexpected as it may sound, beauty is a satisfaction to our brain because it’s average. What does this mean? If you take thousands of portraits and merge them, the result appears to be exceptionally attractive; there are no edges, no unexpected features, just pure symmetry because it’s average. Our brain loves prediction and a beautiful face makes this very easy. It’s a self-rewarding process. 
For our ancestors, choosing symmetry increased the probability for healthy descendants, which means the preference is a mechanism to increase the probability of survival. Today our preferences are still the same, but the meaning of beauty has changed.
On one hand, the assumption that beauty equals health became less important with the development of modern medicine. On the other hand, aiming for a beautiful appearance turned into a billion-dollar business. We are made to believe that we aren’t beautiful unless we are perfect. This technique, used in advertisements, manipulates us into buying a lot of expensive stuff to make us more “beautiful”. This includes beauty products, fashion, as well as status symbols and cosmetic surgery. Most of us are not immune to these messages. We all have the deep need to belong somewhere. Meeting the criteria of “our tribe” is rewarded with acceptance and belonging.
Beauty in Daily Life
Beauty still has its deserved space in our society. We should continue to enjoy arts, beautiful people, nature, and design. But rating beauty as the most important part of social relationships or self-development is like judging a car by the outer appearance. We might not realize whether it’s hollow inside, rotten or filled with the finest high-tech because we are so fascinated by the “packaging“.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Showing off a beautiful partner is easily recognizable as a try to increase our self-worth. But that’s not what is truly important in life. Relationships are supposed to improve our lives, we can enjoy beautiful times as well as overcoming difficulties together.
During hard times, a beautiful face or body is not enough. We need friends or a partner to support us without expecting to get something in return. People who help us to get back on our feet, friends we can count on, who love us with all our flaws, are the real pillars in life.
If you are still very young, it might be difficult for you to imagine that beauty is not the most important attribute to choose a partner. Maybe it helps to think about which qualities you value most in your best friends. Perhaps they are very funny, always there for you if you need them, loyal or supportive? Probably they are not your best friends because they have a beautiful face.
We all met a person in our life, who is not as “beautiful” as a model, but he or she is fascinating, charismatic and seems to be happy and centered. This person is so spellbinding that we forget to “judge” him or her by their appearance. That’s what real beauty means. Examples might be the Dalai Lama or a loved person in our life. This “aura” will become more and more obvious with age. Beauty is fading, but our mindset and approach to life are directly translated into our energy, which is recognized by others. If we are angry and unhappy for years we become a different person compared to who we would be having spend that time being happy and having learned to love ourselves despite our imperfections.
One more word regarding our aim to be beautiful. Appreciating “inner values” like kindness and generosity in life doesn’t mean we should neglect our appearance. Our life is a gift and we were given only one body. What do we usually do with a special gift of a lifetime? We take care of it! That’s exactly what we are supposed to do with our body and mind!
Try to figure out what makes you special. What is your personal gift which makes you uniquely beautiful?
Next time you see or meet someone who doesn’t look beautiful like they just finished a photo-shooting; think about what might make them unique. Stop judging, because the world needs more people who shine from the inside!
 Have a look here, you can see the eye-opening results of face-morphing: The Beauty of Averageness
If you want to read more, here you find interesting reads regarding:
- Is Beauty in the eyes of the beholder?
- Intercultural Studies – Comparing the ideas of “pretty” between different cultures.
- Video: World Average Face Morph