Articles & Inspiration.


Can We Prioritize Substance Over Appearance?

by Ella Castillo

Looks-Based Attraction: Can We Re-Train Our Brains to Value Substance Over Shine?

It’s hard to deny that looks play a big role in choosing a partner. While having the same beliefs, views, and attitudes is important, physical attributes are right up there, too.

But in judging someone by their looks, are our brains subconsciously causing us to miss out on what could be amazing connections and incredible relationships?

We have to ask ourselves, is it a fundamental part of human nature to prioritize people’s outward appearances over their inner substance? Or is it something that’s learned and enforced by society and can, therefore, be changed?

We’re here to explore the issue from every angle. We’re going to start off by looking at why it’s important to place great value on inner substance, as well as some arguments for why prioritizing looks may be problematic in relationships. We’ll discuss how societal norms and expectations play a role in how people behave and why they do the things they do.

Finally, we’ll dive right into the ultimate question—whether or not it’s actually possible to re-train our brains to value substance over shine.

Why It’s Important to Prioritize Substance Over Physical Attraction

The crux of the conversation is the idea that it’s preferable for people to prioritize inner substance over outward appearance.

Now, we believe that the issue here isn’t that people don’t agree with the importance of placing great value on inner substance. Rather, we believe the problem is that people simply don’t know how to shift their subconscious priorities and open themselves up to potentially finding their soulmate.

Of course, we’re not saying that physical attraction is unimportant. The point is that placing more value on what’s on the inside can help lead to a healthier relationship and improved long-term compatibility, which can also involve physical attraction.

Let’s dive into some of the main reasons why we believe this is true.

Emotional Connection

There are many stories of friends who become partners, and there’s a good reason for this. When you become friends, you share experiences, spend time talking to each other, you’re honest, and you often reveal parts of yourself that you may keep otherwise hidden. In doing so, you form an intense emotional connection that spans different levels—far beyond the superficial.

As you learn what makes them happy, their goals, and other life interests, and they do the same for you, you develop a healthy respect for one another. This deep respect and real connection often make someone increasingly attractive as you feel safe, comfortable, and supported.

Authentic Connection

When someone is present, shows interest, and reveals who they really are, and you do the same, you place a certain amount of trust in one another. The ability to really talk, ask each other difficult questions, and debate controversial or sensitive topics creates a genuine bond that’s more than skin deep.

From there, the trust continues to grow, and what's on the outside no longer seems as important as what's inside.

Long-Term Compatibility

We may feel initial chemistry based on someone’s appearance or style, but those things are fleeting and don’t reflect who a person really is.

Chemistry can take many different forms, and it’s about how someone makes us feel. Relationship chemistry that transcends physical looks can have roots in different areas and may be intellectual, spiritual, emotional, or even as simple as a shared sense of humor. These are all things that last far beyond a superficial attraction.

Personal Growth

Getting to know someone on a deeper level will also help you reveal more of yourself to them, allowing for great potential in terms of personal growth. If you’re not intimidated or in awe of someone’s shiny exterior, you’re more likely to be relaxed and reveal aspects of your personality that set you on a journey of self-discovery.

Resilience During Challenges

Regardless of your viewpoints or sexual orientation, dating always comes with challenges. And challenges show true character.

If you establish a strong connection with your partner in good times, you’ll have a solid foundation to work from when things get tough, whether you’re facing challenges in your own relationship or, more generally, in life.

Happiness and Fulfilment

Shallow connections or those that lack substance don’t feed the soul, and they can leave us feeling depleted and drained. On the contrary, knowing that someone wants to be with you because of who you truly are and not just what you look like can bring you great happiness and fulfilment.

Cultural and Societal Shifts

Over recent years, there seems to have been a shift in people’s acknowledgement of the fact that substance may be more important than appearance in relationships. People are increasingly valuing intelligence, kindness, empathy, and emotional intelligence as desirable traits in a partner. These are the traits that last long after looks fade, and they all contribute to how you feel about someone - and how they make you feel.

Changing Our Mindsets: Is Learning to Prioritize Substance over Physical Attraction Possible?

It’s clear that it’s incredibly important to prioritize authentic connections with potential partners, even though physical attraction is still important in wanting to be with somebody.

But, as most people seem to understand and believe this, and this acknowledgement is becoming the norm in society, whether or not it’s actually possible to prioritize substance over physical attraction is a whole different story.

Well, we believe that the simple answer is yes, it is possible. However, it’s not easy, and it requires effort.

It’s important to acknowledge that our first instinct may be to be attracted to appearance, but we need to make an active, concerted effort to look beyond looks and delve deeper into who somebody is. If you do this, you may realize that somebody you thought was attractive really isn’t, or somebody you didn’t think was attractive actually is attractive and that you have very real, lasting chemistry with them.

Ultimately, we should always make a concerted effort to dig deeper, really get to know people, and be honest with ourselves about what we do and do not value, regardless of how someone looks.

If you can be conscious of these things while you’re getting to know people and trying to find a partner, it certainly is possible to retrain your brain to value more than just good looks.