Today I am celebrating the 2nd month of Random Acts of Kick Arse (RAOKA), a group I'm very fortunate to be a part of. Every month, this group -- which includes Life, Laughs, and Lemmings, The Jungle of Life, Jane Be Nimble, Joy Rebel, and Operation NICE -- joins together to take part in committing random acts over the course of one month. Each month we have a different theme and, for the month of November, the theme was BEAUTY. When the theme was announced, it didn't take me long to figure out what I wanted to do as my random act. I wanted to tell people they were beautiful. Of course, this was a little bit easier said than done when it came to turning this into a random act. While I'm probably confident enough to go around telling random people they are beautiful, I wasn't quite sure how well that would be received. Sure, it works for a friend or family member, but it's not exactly the most natural thing to walk up to a complete stranger and say, "You are beautiful!" (Though, now that I think about it, I would love if someone did that to me...)
So, after giving it some thought, I decided to put my random act into words. Being the writer that I am, putting things into a written form is usually my best bet so it seemed fitting that I should use this tactic for this month's RAOKA theme. I decided to create little sticky notes (see the pictures in this post) with positive, beauty-focused sayings on them. I created a bunch at one time and carried them around with me everywhere, posting them in random places like bathroom mirrors or checkout counters or even on cars. I'll admit I often felt a bit guilty about it (was I littering? did people even want to read these little signs of mine?), but overall it felt great. I would imagine the next person to come by and see the sticky note smiling at it. It made me feel great to know that maybe someone was seeing it and it was making his or her day better.
Of course, posting these around town gave me some time to think about beauty and what it really means. It's interesting when you look at beauty all over the world and see how different cultures think about beauty. Different cultures have different standards of beauty, which makes it a very tricky thing to define. More important than defining, however, is realizing that we all possess it. We are all beautiful. I know, I know, that sounds incredibly hard to believe. Most of us have been taught that some things are beautiful and some things are not, but that's not true at all. What's true is that everything -- everything! -- has beauty in it. It's just a matter of looking for it...
Looking for beauty in everything isn't always easy. We've been taught to believe that certain things are beautiful, which makes it difficult to find everything beautiful. But I really do believe that beauty is everywhere, in everything, and it's up to us to open our eyes and look around to see it. Like most things worth doing, looking for beauty in everything can be difficult at times. We don't always know how to see it. We don't always want to see it. But it's there. It's always there. And I'm going to share with you my ideas on how to find it.
How To Find Beauty Everywhere
- Be present. If you pay attention, you're likely to realize that there really is beauty all around you. Yes, sometimes it's harder to see, but it's there and you're never going to be able to see it if you don't look around. So put that Crackberry down and look around. See the beauty!
Be open-minded. When you're looking around for all of that beauty, remember to keep an open mind. It's pretty hard to see true beauty if you're focused on the ideal standards that you've been inundated with your whole life. Trying looking at things from a fresh point of view and you'll see beauty everywhere!
Be positive. Of course, if you're looking for things not to be beautiful, you'll certainly see the ugly in them. So be positive! Focus on the good, even if it's a tiny little bit of good, and you'll start seeing more and more beauty in everything. Look for beauty and you will find it.
Be hopeful. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of hope to realize that there really is beauty in everything. Just like when you look for good, you find good, when you have hope that you'll see beauty in someone or something, you will. It's all about believing that there really is beauty all around us.
Be generous. It's easier to hold back sometimes, to want to refrain from labeling something or someone as beautiful. We tend to think of beauty as something that's rare and that "beautiful" is a word that should be doled out sparingly. But that's just silly! There's no limit to how much beauty there can be in the world.
Be creative. Yes, sometimes it takes a little bit of creativity to see the beauty in something, but I know you have the power to be imaginative and inventive and to realize that beauty doesn't have to come in a traditional package. Being creative will help you to recognize beauty you might not normally see.
As you can see, searching for beauty in everything can require a lot of work. However, in my opinion, it's an important activity because seeing beauty in everything makes life better. Just think about how you feel when you see something really beautiful. You are in awe. You are moved. You are excited by the possibilities of beautiful things in your life. Now just think about what it would be like to feel that way all the time (or, at least, most of the time). What if you could see the beauty in everything? What if you could be excited by the gorgeousness in every person, place, and thing you came across?
I doubt I'll ever be the type to see beauty in everything, but I'm certainly more aware of it now that I've thought about it and written this post. Just right now I'm staring out my winter at the bare branches of a tree and normally I would think it was boring, bland, a depressing sign that winter is right around the corner. But not today! Today I'm looking at it and I'm amazed by it's beauty, by it's ability to be so stark and tall against the blue background of the sky. I'm impressed by how stoic it looks, how proud it seems, and how, in just a few short months it will begin producing those tiny green buds to tell me that spring is on the way.
So, as you can see, it really is possible to see beauty even when you don't think you'll be able to. It's not easy -- but what good thing usually is? -- but it's so worth it when you realize that you can look around you and see beauty everywhere. With that attitude, you can go through life seeing the good, seeing the beautiful, in everything. You can then share those thoughts and feelings with others, causing a ripple effect in which more and more people are seeing the beauty around them. Take the time to look at things around you today and see if you can see the beauty that surrounds each and every one of us.
How do you find beauty in your own life?
What are some of the most beautiful things you've seen lately?
Reader's Note: Tomorrow I'm off to celebrate the beauty that is New York City. Since I'll be hitting the Big Apple hard over the next few days, I won't be responding to comments on Thursday, but I WILL be reading them so feel free to share your thoughts on beauty in the comments section. And if you're looking for more to read today, check out my guest post on Urban Monk, "Finding Peace in Happiness."