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It’s skin-deep, or less than skin-deep if you consider the amount of makeup, airbrushing, and photoshopping that is involved in creating a magazine photo.

We carry this definition of beauty into our intimate relationships and assess our partners through this lens.

We may consciously say, “I don’t expect him/her to look like a magazine photo,” but we nevertheless define attraction by the superficial criteria that we’ve absorbed since birth. Cultural conditioning runs deep and it’s only with a great deal of awareness that we can re-wire these habitual ways of seeing.

So if attraction isn’t based on physical appearance, what is it about? It’s about the person you see when all pretenses fade away.

One of my clients, who found me six months before her wedding in the pit of a dark depression, said to me in our session last week, “It’s amazing how attracted I am to my husband when I’m connected to myself.

It’s like two essences talking to each other; the superfluous BS just falls away and I’m able to bat off the negative thoughts like an annoying fly.

It’s about the light that emanates from his eyes or the radiance of her smile.

It’s about seeing soul instead of personality, the sustaining beauty of true nature instead of the fleeting beauty of a pretty face.

Her commitment to managing her internal critical voices of fear and judgement have led to a consistently loving relationship with herself and, by natural extension, a loving relationship with her husband.