“What makes a human being beautiful? Isn’t it the presence of human excellence? If you wish to be beautiful, then work diligently at human excellence. Observe those whom you praise without prejudice. The just or the unjust? The just. The even-tempered or the undisciplined? The even-tempered. The self-controlled or the uncontrolled? The self-controlled. In making yourself that kind of person, you will become beautiful – but to the extent you ignore these qualities, you’ll be ugly, even if you use every trick in the book to appear beautiful.” Epictetus, Discourses.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Even if you were to indulge yourself in external appearances of beauty, you have no control over whether others see you as beautiful or not. These inner virtues – fairness, being even-tempered and self-controlled – can only be experienced, not seen.