Lately I’ve found myself having conversations with people about the concept of beauty and being beautiful. In my experience, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t beautiful. Although they might not fit the traditional ‘beauty ideal’, they always have some gorgeous feature, some elegant line or some way of being that makes them interesting and beautiful.
Studies show that there is a premium on beauty in the social and economic spheres and that there is an advantage to being conventionally beautiful. However, your perception of beauty depends a lot on how you were raised, what images you were exposed to growing up and what your experiences have been since reaching adulthood. In a word, it’s perception. The quote that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is quite true – it’s worth thinking about how you are seeing yourself and others around you.
I had a client who had a hard time with the word “beautiful”. When I used that word to describe her, she just about had a heart attack. Here is the conversation that followed:
Me: “Okay, let’s look at this differently. You love your garden, right? The flowers are beautiful, aren’t they and you love to look at them, drink them in?”(she is an amazing gardener)
Her: “Yes, I love to be out there and working with my flowers.”
Me: “And you love your kitchen, you love to see all the shiny pots and pans and take in the beauty of the veggies before you chop them, right?” (she is also a fabulous cook)
Her: “Oh yes, I love to cook and love to eat!”
Me: “You also love your kids, think they’re beautiful and love spending time with them?” (great mom)
Her: “I love my kids. They are the most beautiful thing in the world to me.”
Me: “You’re filled up with beautiful experiences…therefore you are ‘beauty-full’. Beautiful, do you see?'”
Her: “Oh…yes…I am.” (and she wept).
If you’re not used to seeing beauty, try on what I call “Beauty Goggles”. For an hour, a day or a week (or longer), pretend you’re wearing goggles that allow you to perceive even the smallest hint of beauty in whatever you’re looking at. Pay close attention to what you find beautiful when you are wearing your “Beauty Goggles” and see how this changes your day-to-day outlook.
What is your experience with ‘beauty’ and being ‘beautiful’? Please share and report back how the goggles worked for you this week: