The Halo Effect and Your Beauty

The Halo Effect and your beauty

The Halo Effect and your beauty

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to explain the Halo Effect and reveal how to discover the beauty in you.

First a quick update:

“Why saying get over it doesn’t work for people”
Read the interview I gave to Michael Toebe, negotiation and conflict management consultant about what it truly takes to “get over it” and why will power alone is ineffective.

Follow me on Twitter – You can now choose to follow me and receive a few words of wisdom on Twitter: @Behavior_Expert

Now, let’s talk about the Halo Effect and reveal how to discover the beauty in you.

“If you could see yourself through my eyes, you would realize how beautiful you are.” Rumi

Beauty is that aspect that we identify in someone or something that gives us a sense of pleasure or satisfaction.

Of course, in today’s western culture, we tend to define beauty as only a physical, external quality. Rarely, or not often enough, do we choose to use ‘beauty’ to refer to a person’s inner qualities.

In other words, we have created judgment about people based on their physical beauty, and those whom we deem beautiful, we also view as more valuable and we extend or perceive them to be valuable in other ways; we might see him/her as being more likable, more intelligent or more capable than someone who lacks the external beauty and is less attractive.

This is known as the “Halo Effect” – we rate attractive individuals more favorably for their personality traits or characteristics than those who are less attractive, and, we assign overall value and likability to someone based on one aspect of that person. Thus we make bias judgments and we label people as simply good or bad.

The Halo Effect extends further after death: we shift our perception and we view the person as ‘good’, discarding our previous negative perceptions of him/her.

Thus, we might have criticized the person while alive, but now dead, we see only the good in him/her.

Think of Whitney Houston who had been harshly criticized for her substance abuse and addictions but was redeemed upon her death – the media posted photos of her in her prime and we focused on her achievements and contributions throughout her life, ignoring her failings.

There are 2 key points here:

We judge and value people primarily on their external beauty

We wait till someone dies to elevate them or recognize their total beauty

Can you see your total beauty now?

Most of us use the Halo Effect against ourselves; we judge ourselves harshly based on one trait, one mistake, wrongdoing or failing, and we refuse to recognize and acknowledge our inner and total beauty.

I began this article with a quote by Rumi, a 13th century Sufi mystic who composed thousands of passionate love poems: “If you could see yourself through my eyes, you would realize how beautiful you are.”

Sometimes it does take someone else to help open our eyes to the beauty that we are, the beauty that exists within us.

There is an exercise I promote which involves using a partner (or close friend) to share and reveal to you all the reasons that he/she sees you as beautiful. Sitting opposite each other, holding hands and gently gazing into each other’s eyes, with sincerity, you list to the other person all the things that make him/her beautiful to you. You can learn more about this exercise “The beauty I see in you” here.

However, there are also ways that you can discover the beauty on your own. Here are some simple exercises.

Success List
Write out every success you have ever achieved in your life – minor or major – it can be anything from school grades and securing a job, to raising a child, and helping someone in some way.

If you cannot recognize, acknowledge and celebrate your own successes, then you won’t be able to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the successes of people around you, and, you will most likely resent other people’s successes. It is okay to be proud of your successes and achievements. If you choose to deny your own successes and achievements, how could you be proud of the successes and achievements of your partner, children or friends?

Read your list regularly and add to it. At the very least, as you are reminded of your former successes, you will realize you have talent and capabilities to create more success.

Obstacles conquered
This exercise helps you to recognize and identify your ability to overcome challenges and obstacles, and it helps you to become aware of your inner strength and capabilities.

List any and every obstacle or challenge you have ever faced and overcome in your life. Next, list how you conquered the obstacle i.e. what qualities and traits did you adopt to overcome the challenge that led you to victory.

Are you an SUV?
SUV refers to Special, Unique and Valuable.

What is it about you that make you special, unique and valuable?

Before you say ‘nothing’, consider all of your talents, gifts, skills and abilities.

Write out a detailed list of all of your talents, gifts, skills and abilities. If you are struggling to write out a list of at least ten, ask your friends how they would describe and list your qualities. Next, add to the list; you will be shocked to learn that you will be able to list 30 or more positive traits about you! Read the list daily. This is not an exercise in narcissism, for when you can easily list all of the qualities that make you an SUV, you will be able to do the same for the people in your life. Imagine, easily and comfortably praising your colleagues, partner, children and friends for their positive qualities. Praise others for their inner qualities and notice the positive way they respond and the way their motivation increases.

You are significant
Significance is one of our 6 key emotional needs; it determines much of our sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

This is a simple yet highly effective exercise in identifying your significance. List the ways that you impact people around you; how do you contribute to improving their lives? How do you add value to other people’s lives? Possibly, you grew up feeling you weren’t significant because you weren’t noticed or you felt invisible or abandoned. However, today, look around and notice the way you affect and help others: you might be a parent, an employer, an employee, a sibling or a friend. Become aware that you do affect others and list the people that need you.

Finally, remember, it is difficult for others to notice the beauty in you if you refuse to see it in yourself. Begin today to open your eyes to your beauty and notice the way the world around you suddenly looks different, and, it too, becomes much more beautiful than before!

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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  1. Avatar
    Jennifer Rodriguez says:


    This is truly the most inspirational post you have ever written. I’ve noticed the same exact things that you pointed out in your article. Amen!
    I remember once working for a company where a female supervisor was being unprofessional and not following proper procedure set down by the company and a group of employees were grumbling about it in the employees room and talking about filing a complaint against her. No one really wanted to do it even though her unprofessional behavior was causing problems because it would have meant a long drawn-out procedure with HQ. Suddenly one of the employees in the group blurted out, “But she’s very beautiful!” as if to say that because this female supervisor was beautiful none of us had any right to complain about her lack of professional behavior and we couldn’t possibly see her as a “bad supervisor” because her beauty conferred upon her some sort of “immunity” towards the possibility of being a bad supervisor. It made me laugh because it shows how simplistic people can be in their judgements of a situation. What did her beauty have to do with her ability to be a good supervisor? But here was this one employee who felt that because she was beautiful, it automatically followed that she had to be a good supervisor and she had to be professional. Nothing could be further from the reality of the situation.
    Thank you for pointing out the public’s reaction to Whitney Houston. Those are my sentiments exactly and it annoys me to no end when people do that to the Dead because it cannot be emotionally healthy. Instead, we should recognize the value of all people while they are alive and not be so simplistic and critical in our judgements of them. There’s a real problem with our “Simplistic and Critical” social thinking in our Society and it makes me happy to see people like you out there, pointing it out to people and really opening the way towards helping our Society become more emotionally healthy.
    Thank you, Patrick, for your great exercises and thank YOU for your astute social observations. We need more of those!!

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