The phrase “physiognomy from the heart” means that your appearance is the reflection of your emotions, and that your thoughts and deeds are reflected in your facial expressions.
In other words, your appearance will show what is in your heart.
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If you are joyous, you will have a pleasant, peaceful, and harmonious countenance, and make others feel that they are pleasing in manner and appearance, even if they are plain or homely looking in comparison to today’s accepted standards of beauty.
There is a quote by children’s author Roald Dahl that reveals that he too seems to have understood the same principle:
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
According to Chinese legend, there was once a very handsome craftsman from Shandong Province. Although he was very attractive, he enjoyed carving demonic objects. His carvings were extremely vivid and lifelike, and over time, his business became very successful. He looked into a mirror one day and was shocked to find that his appearance had become ferocious and ugly. He visited many famous doctors, but no one could help him.
He stopped by a temple and spoke to the elder. The elder replied: “I can help make your wish come true on the condition that you carve some statues of the Goddess Guanyin with different expressions for me.” The craftsman agreed at once and started studying Goddess Guanyin’s mindset and appearance. He also tried his best to adopt her virtues, as if he were the Goddess Guanyin himself. After six months of study and hard work, he had carved several lifelike statues of the Goddess Guanyin showing the virtues of kindness, compassion, tolerance, and sacredness. People were amazed at how vivid and lifelike the statues were. The craftsman was astonished to find that his own appearance had been transformed, and he now looked imposing and dignified.
When you analyze this philosophy from the perspectives of ancient Chinese medicine or modern physiology and psychology, you can see that “physiognomy from the heart” makes sense. Every deed and thought that you have in your lifetime will be reflected in your appearance. Whatever you think and feel inside is shown to the world in your appearance and manner. As a result, if you have a peaceful and tranquil mood, and you are optimistic, compassionate, and have high integrity, your body will operate smoothly and you will be in good health and high spirits. This will naturally draw others to you, as you are pleasant to be around. As your mood is reflected in your facial expressions, being in a good mood will improve your appearance.
Written by Aizhu Lu
Translated and researched by Ying Ming and Kathy