What is beauty?
You might think that’s an easy question to answer, but is it really? One thing to remember is that beauty can be subjective. Just because you find something beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean someone else would.
We all have different taste in romantic partners, for example. Just because you find someone unbelievably attractive doesn’t necessarily mean your best friend will too (fingers crossed). Some people think that the first snowfall in winter is stunning; others look at it and see cold and frigid weather. It all depends on who you are and your point of view.
But despite what you naturally find beautiful, I believe that it’s important that you learn how to see beauty everywhere. And believe me, there IS beauty everywhere, even in the unlikeliest of places. You just have to be able to see it. And that doesn’t always require using your eyes!
Seeing Beauty with the Heart
There are many different kinds of beauty. The two you might immediately think of are superficial and inner beauty.
Superficial beauty is what’s on the outside. If you find someone physically attractive, for example, that is entirely superficial. Which is fine, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t base an entire relationship off that. However, when you get to know someone better, you start to see the beauty they have on the inside. That’s what makes for a loving relationship, being able to see the beauty of someone, even into our old ages.
Seeing inner beauty requires us to look, not just with our eyes, but with our hearts.
Not Being Able to See Beauty
Here is something that I find to be a tragedy: We are surrounded by beauty at all times, yet we don’t see it. Imagine going on a vacation to Venice, Italy. Every year, countless tourists go to see the canals and the architecture. It’s objectively a beautiful place, but what does it look like to the people who live there; the people who see these beautiful buildings every day of their lives. Do you think that they’re overwhelmed by the beauty all the time? Of course not! Eventually, they become desensitized to it because they see it every day.
To a lesser degree (depending on where you live), we are all guilty of this behavior. We stop seeing the beauty that is all around us because it is always there. It becomes, for lack of a better word, boring!
I think that it’s so important that we put effort into genuinely appreciating the beauty that surrounds us. You don’t need to be overwhelmed by it, but realize that it is there. By reminding ourselves of how beautiful our homes are, we can train ourselves to find the special in the mundane. And isn’t that just a fantastic definition of what beauty is?
A Beauty Exercise
If you want a reminder that beauty can be everywhere, here is an exercise you can try.
On a nice day, pick a spot outside (preferably not in the sun) and sit down. This could be on a park bench or even the grass in your backyard. I want you to close your eyes. Now, this isn’t meditation (although it CAN be used for that purpose), but you could still find it relaxing. Don’t fall asleep! Instead, I want you to forget about your eyes and wake up all of your other senses.
Let’s do smells first. Some people find the smell of freshly cut grass to be pleasant. Some might say, beautiful. The scent of flowers can often be just as lovely as the flowers themselves. If you are sitting inside while someone is cooking, close your eyes and take a sniff of the air. Smells delicious, doesn’t it? Well, that’s just another word for beautiful.
What about sounds? With your eyes closed, listen to all of the sounds around you outside. Birds chirping, the wind blowing through the trees. What sounds do you find particularly relaxing and lovely? If you want to “cheat,” you could try listening to beautiful music with your eyes closed. There is so much beauty that we can hear without seeing.
And how about tastes? This one is easy. Ever close your eyes before you eat something mouth-wateringly delicious. It’s almost like the lack of sight makes it taste even better. And personally, I find that beautiful.
What About Things That No One Finds Beautiful?
Ok, this section is going to be a challenge for many people. If you read something that makes you super uncomfortable, then don’t worry, you can skip ahead.
There are things out there that many people find hideous or terrifying, but are actually just signs of nature. And if you can find beauty in them, even in small amounts, it can have a drastic impact on your positive mindset.
Find a picture of a snake online. Instantly, I suspect some reading this have just sat up a little straighter. Yes, snakes can be terrifying, but let’s try to see the beauty. Don’t pick a scary snake, pick a cute, little corn snake. Look at the delicate pattern of their scales. Look at the colors. Look at the texture. When you separate these things from the idea of “snake,” they can be quite beautiful.
I know this can be a challenge. If you don’t want to think about snakes, try to think about something else that you find unattractive. Then really analyze it, trying to find the beauty in it. It doesn’t need to be a TON of beauty, just a little shimmer.
So, how can all of this help you to thrive? Easy. It’s all about your mindset and positivity. When we close ourselves off to the beauty all around us, we are closing ourselves off to the possibility of positive emotions and feelings. We are less likely to see kindness, forgiveness, and generosity. But when we open ourselves up to beauty, all of these feelings become more available to us! That’s why I believe that it is important to see beauty everywhere!
We will be exploring this in more detail in the Time to Thrive program. If you’d like to learn more about it, I invite you to click here!