Virtue Adorns Beauty is a direct translation of the phrase in Latin Virtutem Forma Decorat. The idea refers to the observation that one's true beauty is found in the things we do for others throughout our lives.
A quote from the Greek poet Sappho, "What is beautiful is also good" reflects that philosophy too. In the eighteenth century the French defined 'Aesthetic' with a description of beauty that includes how it makes us feel. We've all heard the phrase Beauty is more than skin deep and there's an old Southern saying, Beauty is as beauty does.
These words and thoughts through history built the foundation of today's idea for Beauty becomes you, the name of the charity I founded dedicated to ensuring senior adults access to needed, well-deserved and up-lifting aesthetic treatments.
In the case of the aging adult who can be isolated through the loss of loved ones or physical capability, the role of beauty in their lives can alter attitudes and reconnect them to the world.
Living life fully with conditions from cancer to Alzheimer's to ALS and Parkinson's, arthritis and diabetes and beyond -- aesthetic care grooms the body and recognizes one's continued personal value. Beauty can be experienced without the sense of vision because of the tender touch with which it is applied. Isolation caused from hearing loss or from distant or non-existent family or other conditions that set people to believe their value has been diminished by aging is combated through the most powerful sense of touch from caring professionals. Good intention and the positive application of adornment through cleansing of feet, massaging of tired bodies and polishing and pampering restores deserving recipients not only of their healthy appearance but uncovers the personal aesthetic under the tarnish of their armor which has been implied by time. This is not about vanity. This is about identity and self-worth.
Every day in the United States, 10 thousand people turn sixty-five years old. This upward trend in an aging population will bring the total close to 80 million senior adults by 2030. Therefore, changing the way Western society looks at aging is imperative to our future.
Many world cultures believe that those who have led us to where we are today in our own successes should be revered. That's why the importance of touching, caring and literally reaching out to senior adults is critical in our society. No longer does old have to mean outdated and unnecessary. Today many senior adults are thriving. Living longer and better is the goal. No one wants to be dependent yet regardless of age a strong sense of self worth is required to live a meaningful, independent life.
How does beauty feel? Close your eyes and imagine the warmth of the sun on your face. That glorious feeling that makes you so deeply alive and well. Happy, sated, and safe that is the feeling of beauty. It's ageless.
Recognize that same sensation experienced with eyes open -- the colors and shapes of an inspiring painting; the lines of an elegant dress, a beautifully garnished culinary delight. Keep your eyes open because those experiences are everywhere. Do you know what they all have in common? We value their beauty that can be topically appreciated but recognize that their true worth lies in the work behind them. It is with all of our senses that we experience beauty, not just with our eyes alone.
Consider the compliment, 'you look beautiful.' It's like getting an "A" on a report card. It feels good to hear the confirmation that all the thought and effort of finding the right look and fit for you -- and there is only one you -- has been positively acknowledged. You feel you are valuable. This is not vanity. This is identity.
Perhaps now you can even more fully embrace the meaning behind the brilliant insight of supporting the power of self-confidence long ago imprinted by L'Oreal Paris -- "Because I'm worth it."
Alison O'Neil is Founder of The Beauty Becomes You 501 (c) (3) Charitable Foundation.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and L'Oréal Paris to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Women of Worth program, honoring women making a beautiful difference in the world. The ten 2015 Women of Worth honorees are pursuing their passions to accomplish the extraordinary through philanthropic efforts in their communities. Each received $10,000 for her charitable cause from L'Oréal Paris. To learn more about Women of Worth or to submit a nomination beginning Spring 2016, please visit womenofworth.com.