To appreciate beauty, to be able to pause, take in the world around you, and enjoy the myriad beautiful things around you is empowering. Appreciating beauty is many things at once. It is a:
- character strength, something inherent within us that we can develop and use to enhance our lives and the lives of others
- mindfulness technique to rein in your thoughts and attention to the here-and-now
- grounding experience that connects you to the physical world (versus the realm of your thoughts and emotions)
By doing the simple act of savoring splendor, you stop your anxious thoughts, worries, stressors, depression, all mental health challenges, and physical health struggles. Certainly, these problems don’t automatically stop and retreat forever when you pause to appreciate beauty. It would be nice, but it doesn’t work that directly. What happens when you pause and appreciate beauty is that you experience a shift in focus and perspective. What happens, though, when it’s hard to find something beautiful to appreciate?
Appreciate Beauty? What if Everything is Ugly?
Looking at the world in a way that purposefully seeks beauty improves wellbeing. When you appreciate beauty, you give yourself the chance to re-focus our thoughts, stabilize your emotions, and reset yourself for taking action steps. Practicing mindfulness this way, by being fully present with beautiful things, is one of the ways you prepare yourself to move in the direction you desire.
But here again is the million dollar question: What if you can’t easily find something beautify to appreciate? What if everything seems ugly, either literally or figuratively? Is mindfully resetting yourself to boost your wellbeing and move forward even possible when you’re surrounded by ugliness?
The answer is boldly, unequivocally yes. Yes, it is possible to appreciate beauty among the ugly. Sometimes life is ugly. The world is full of strife and hardship and unspeakable acts that no one should ever have to experience. Yet people do. And people struggle with bits of ugliness in their daily lives. How, then, can people appreciate beauty? It’s hard to revel in something that isn’t there.
If you can’t find beauty, create your own and appreciate that.
Create Your Own Unique Beauty
Beauty is there. It does exist. It’s just that sometimes, you have to be in charge of it. It doesn’t always come directly to you. Sometimes, you have to seek it out. And when it’s still elusive no matter how hard you look, you have to make beauty yourself.
This involves turning inward and reflecting on the things you appreciate and find beautiful. It also involves turning your attention outward and using your senses to notice the bland areas around you that could use sprucing up.
Creating beauty means adding physical elements to your world. It also means looking at relationships in new ways and identifying ways that positive beauty could be added. In any realm of your life, what can you do to enhance things?
Ways to Create Beauty & Wellbeing
This short list of ways to create beauty in your life might give you some ideas to get started. Use them as they are, modify them to suit you, or use them as a springboard to new ideas of your own.
- plant a little flower in a small pot
- select a favorite mug and start a morning (or anytime) ritual of sipping a favorite tea; savor the flavor of the tea and the sight of the mug
- look for positive traits in someone you don’t really care for, and watch for (and appreciate) those characteristics
- organize and clean a space in your home or at work and admire its orderliness, especially if things around it are chaos
- Look in the mirror and see your own beauty instead of the flaws that we all tend to see in ourselves
- Paint something
- Create a display out of something you love (Are you a book lover? Take some of those books off the shelves and crate a fun, decorative display.)
- Listen to music that moves and inspires you (Beauty isn’t limited to visually pleasing elements)
The possibilities for creating beauty in your world are seemingly endless. Choose and create based on your own perspective and likes. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, so rather than trying to create things that you think you “should” find beautiful, be true to yourself and honor your own aesthetic sense.
Remember, too, to continue on to the rest of the activity. Make moments every day to pause and intentionally appreciate the beauty you’ve created around you.
I created this video to show what I did to turn ugliness into beauty I can–and do–appreciate. (It may or may not be beautiful that I couldn’t figure out where to look when recording with a phone!)