True beauty is in the journey

Home > National >

print dictionary print

True beauty is in the journey


We used to believe that standards of beauty were acquired. We thought that babies did not know what beauty is and that people learned such standards from society.

However, American psychologist Judith Langlois broke that conventional wisdom in 1987. In her research, infants were shown photos of attractive and unattractive faces. They stared at the attractive faces for longer. In addition, infants had more fun, focused better, had less stress and felt less rejection when they played with people wearing masks of attractive faces. Apparently babies have standards of beauty, just like grown-ups.

It is human instinct to be attracted to beauty, and the Winter Olympics once again affirm that tendency. Regardless of their performance, the good-looking athletes get more of the spotlight, and some athletes seem to be more interested in popularity than winning. One Russian skater finished with a mediocre time, but she took off her hood and flashed her beautiful hair - only to lose her balance. The surface of the ice cracked from her fall, and races had to be suspended while the damage was repaired.

Kim Yu-na is in a class of her own. She is the reigning champion of ladies’ figure skating and is known for her outstanding artistry, not to mention her pretty face and graceful posture. She is a flawless figure skater, indeed. But her true beauty lies within. “Kim’s strongest merit is her mentality and her greatest weakness is her nationality,” says one joke. Biased judges undervalued the junior skater from a country little-known in the figure skating world. But she overcame that with her strong mentality. Every obstacle only made her stronger.

Kim Yu-na is dignified. During an interview with NBC last year, a reporter asked why she cried at the Vancouver Olympic Games. Kim’s response? “Because it was all over.” Unsatisfied with the answer, the reporter once again asked if she cried because she won a gold medal, and she again said, “I couldn’t help crying because I had completed the Olympics.” It was her way of saying “Man proposes, God disposes.” Before every program, she prays, “Thank you for allowing me to do my best,” but she doesn’t pray, “Please let me do this without a mistake.” She is thankful that she can do her best, and doing her best is the most beautiful feat.

In a few days, her career will come to a grand conclusion. She will do her utmost once again, awaiting the will of Heaven and showing the tears of glory. And people around the world will applaud her beautiful journey. I would like to add to this praise with a quote from “The Odyssey.” “There is no greater glory for a living man than that which he wins with his own hands and feet.”

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 14, Page 30

*The author is the international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)