Life can change in an instant. My first instance was when I got diagnosed with chronic Lyme Disease five years ago. My second was October 15th, 2013, the day I collapsed from undiagnosed co-infections. My third happened just last week. It involved a balinese bead cap, a mischievous cat, and a lecture by Dr. Wayne Dyer.
It was a Wednesday afternoon. I sat at my kitchen table with tears streaming down my face, a pair of jeweler’s pliers lying forgotten in my hands. Snow fell lightly outside the window as I sat in hushed silence, listening to Dyer recount the story of holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, a man who willed himself to survive by forcing himself to find the beauty in everything.
My eyes welled as I heard him describe the first-hand horrors of what he endured, and how so many died the day they thought rescue would come, to no avail. Frankl, renowned neurologist and author, believed they died that day because all hope and beauty seemed lost. He attributes his survival to resolving to find beauty in everything, even the dirty water with fish heads he was served for his daily meal.
Around this point in the story, my cat Yoda decided to recreate Risky Business by doing a leap-and-slide across the table, scattering gemstones and balinese beads everywhere. But instead of bemoaning the mess, I found myself staring at the light from the window reflecting off a balinese bead cap, Frankl’s words circling my head.
See Beauty Everywhere
This is harder than it sounds. Life can be full of ugliness. Sickness, poverty, war, abuse: these things are loud and big and tend to pop out at us like a jack-in-the-box. And once that jack is out, it’s hard not to see its freakish, bobbing face.
But just as someone’s words don’t become more important by yelling, these atrocities aren’t more important than beauty just because they’re louder and more invasive. By actively looking for the beauty in life, we begin to manifest more beauty into our lives. It’s the law of attraction: Like attracts like. As Wayne Dyer says, “change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”
3 Simple Ways To See Beauty Everywhere
1. Start Your Seeing-Beauty Habit. Every morning, jot this down on your calendar or to-do list: See Beauty Everywhere. Like all things that promote a growth mindset, creating this small daily reminder will start forming new neurological pathways in your brain.
2. Reinforce The Beauty You See. Seeing Beauty Everywhere is a skill, and as such, there’s a learning curve. Sometimes the best way to recognize beauty in new places is to start with the way we learn best.
- Visual learners: You learn best by seeing. Create a See Beauty Everywhere album on your phone and snap a picture whenever you find unexpected beauty, like a daisy growing through a crack in the sidewalk, or a cat channeling Tom Cruise. Flip through it whenever you feel the ugliness of life getting too loud.
- Auditory learners: You learn best by listening. Take time each day to truly experience music and uncover podcasts that inspire you, like Your Life on Purpose. During conversations, start listening for keywords or phrases that resonate with you. If someone says something that jives with you, tell them! Reinforce the beauty of their words, and you’re sure to hear it more often.
- Kinesthetic learners: You learn best by doing. Buy a notebook and write down five instances of beauty you experience every day. (Bonus points for being the beauty instigator!) Put it under your pillow, and read before bed. Bonus: Remembering the beauty of your day right before sleep helps ease a restless mind.
3. Share. It was a good idea in kindergarten, and it’s a good idea now! Most people ache for more beauty in their lives; they just don’t know how to get it. Be a purveyor of beauty by posting beautiful images, remembering to speak verbal affirmation and thanks, and committing random acts of kindness. Resolve to live your life in a constant state of beauty, and notice when others begin to pick up what you’re putting down.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Want to be a Beauty Instigator? Join me in launching my “See Beauty Everywhere” campaign, and become a part of making the world a more beautiful place. Channel Viktor Frankl by finding beauty in your life. Post pictures, quotes, and stories with the hashtag #SeeBeautyEverywhere and invite others to do the same. Tag me on Instagram or Facebook, and together let’s flood the internet with portraits of true, honest beauty.
The best way to live in a more beautiful world is to find the beauty already in it.
Image Credit: Neill Kumar
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