Imagine what your life would be like if you could feel beautiful or handsome. (Here, I’ll use “beautiful” for simplicity. Feel free to substitute your own description.) Close your eyes for just a moment and picture it. What meaning do you place on a word like “beautiful?” It’s a concept that means different things to different people. Whatever significance it has for you, you can cultivate it in your life. Keep reading to explore why beauty is good for wellbeing and 6 ways to feel beautiful.
Appreciating Beauty is a Character Strength
Positive psychology recognizes certain character strengths. These are traits within us that we draw on to create a quality life of wellbeing. There are six primary categories of strengths, and each category contains specific strengths within it for a total of 24 character strengths. Each and every one of us possesses the 24 traits; however, we have them in different quantities and use them in different ways.
One of the character strengths identified by researchers in positive psychology is appreciation of beauty. Someone high in this character trait can look into a junkyard and identify objects, shapes, and textures that are aesthetically pleasing. He or she might not be an artist, but they can see potential for the creation of something beautiful.
Appreciating beauty helps people transcend struggles, challenges, and problems. When we can see the good amidst hardship, we are appreciating beauty. With this attitude comes the ability to see more than just our problems. Ugliness may be there, but it isn’t the only thing we see. It’s a refreshing perspective that leads to hope–to the belief in new possibilities and the belief in your ability to create and grow wellbeing.
Appreciating Beauty Also Means Seeing Your Own Beauty
Appreciating beauty in the world and in others is an important part of building mental health. It’s essential, too, to appreciate the beauty in yourself.
How did you react to the idea of appreciating your own beauty? Did you cringe? Start using negative self-talk and put-downs? We’re so quick to be self-critical. Why is that? The answer is too long and involved to explore here, but in a nutshell, we see our flaws before our strengths, we have automatic negative thoughts that interfere in how we see ourselves, and struggles like anxiety and depression negatively skew how we see ourselves.
Appreciating our own beauty encompasses our whole being, not just physical beauty. It’s acknowledging the good in ourselves and feeling beautiful. It’s a powerful way to enhance your wellbeing. Here’s how to start, even if the idea is uncomfortable.
5 Ways to Feel Beautiful
- Bloom! Be who you are and do what you do without worrying what the flowers around you are doing.
2. Dress the part. What makes you feel great? Don it! (Within the parameters of dress code you have for work or school, of course. Also, take this lightheartedly. It’s not about the fashion. It’s about you wearing what makes you feel beautiful.)
3. Look in the mirror. You might focus on any flaws you think you see, and you might want to turn away. Stick with yourself. Be mindful, fully present with yourself. Begin to let go of judgments and love yourself unconditionally.
4. Spend time in nature. Be still, and appreciate the beauty around you. Cultivate a sense of oneness and awe: You are part of this beauty because you are alive. And because of you’re aliveness, you are beautiful.
5. Be beautiful in all that you do and experience. Being beautiful means knowing yourself, your values, and the actions you’re capable of. This is also known as grace, and it means living mindfully in the present moment, free from your thoughts.