What is beautiful? This is the question used by philosophers who study a branch of philosophy known as, aesthetics. To us as humans, for the most part, we have this general notion of beauty — sunsets painted in the sky with hues of pinks and oranges that fade into an evening sky with dancing stars and a bright moon or endless beaches with waves crashing into the shore, the feeling of sand between our toes. As the temperature grows warmer and the days ever so long it seems to me that this summer is one that calls for an appreciation of the things that we might not recognize as beautiful at first glance.
This is not only pertaining to landscapes, although traveling is always highly encouraged; I think it’s more important to glimpse at ourselves in the mirror. We ought not merely to ponder our reflections at surface value. Because as many of us know, time marches on and the outward appearance is subject to change. It is inner beauty that must be cultivated. I find that within the younger generation this is waning; we see children comparing themselves to images in magazines and on social media, not yet having the wisdom to understand the many alterations given to the models by our oh so wonderful computer technology. Why is it that inner beauty has been left unappreciated, under-celebrated? For our capacity for love and understanding, compassion for others and desires to grow are truly magnificent. What do you truly love about yourself? Can you list 5 things, 10?
Why do we doubt that we are created exactly the way we are supposed to be in the moment that we are currently in? Physical characteristics are a marker for what we find pleasing; it’s a first reaction by instinct to use our eyes to make immediate judgments about what is within our parameters. I, however, wish that society moved towards seeing not only with the eyes but also with the soul. Limitless opportunity lies in wait for those who are not guided by the superficial. This is essential to learn as our children mimic our behavior; society teaches its young what is important, what gets you ahead in life.
Long-term consequences about short-term negative emotions about one’s self are depression, loneliness, and isolation. We are more than our looks. Much as the sky is more than the sunset it produces, it contains vast amounts of incredible wonder that we miss. We must look beyond and within to truly see what we and the universe have to offer.
Spiritual journeys are ones that require a knowing of the self, so take time to get to know yourself. If you are using a gratitude journal don’t forget to make a list of what you love about you! Work to eliminate negative inner dialogue. Instead of telling yourself what you cannot do, tell yourself what you can do. Your potential for greatness is only limited by you and be sure to spread the love; tell your friends things you find wonderful about them. Kindness spreads far, and with all the ugly we see in the news, it might be pleasant to begin to bring out a little light in the dark. What is beautiful? You and all that makes you the perfect individual that you are.