As the old adage goes… “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”.
People toss this phrase to and fro and oftentimes misuse and misunderstand it. Have you ever stopped to wonder what it really means? I have.
It’s simple really… It means beauty is subjective. What’s beautiful to you may not necessarily be beautiful to me. It’s all a matter of opinion. Yet in today’s world we’ve allowed ourselves to be bombarded with what beauty should embody not allowing room for our own individual opinions of what we think beauty should encompass.
In my opinion beauty doesn’t start from without but within. Cliche’ right… You’ve heard this before I’m sure. Yet hearing and listening are two different things. We hear that beauty starts from within yet when we seek to define or describe it we almost always start with the physical and rarely, if ever, incorporate anything about what lies within.
Let me make this a little more personal and focus on me and how I define beauty. My beauty starts with happiness. If I’m happy then everything overflows with the beauty that happiness embodies. I smile more and I’m much more pleasant to be around. But, where does this happiness come from? Well, it comes from the fourfold feeding of my spirit, mind, body and social life.
I’m not merely a physical being…. My body is the vehicle which transports my spirit through this life and so I have to pay as much attention to my body as I do my spirit. More importantly, as a Christian I believe the Holy Spirit also dwells within me and so I must make a concerted effort to satisfy this indwelling spirit within me. So how do I “feed” this spirit you may ask. Well, I maintain a close relationship with God. When I awake in the morning and when I go to bed at night, when I embark on any task throughout the day no matter how small, when I’m happy, when I’m stressed, when I have to make an important decision… you name it…. I consult with God. I’m in constant communication with my creator. It’s like checking with the manual before using a technical device or something you just bought…. It’s automatic. God created me. He placed me here for a reason, he had an envisioned purpose for my life and so if I’m to be used according to the purpose I was designed for then I must ensure that I’m living up to the manufacturer’s standards and outlined rules for usage right? So where are these rules?… I mean God’s response to prayer isn’t exactly audible so where do I go when I need concrete answers and I need them now? … My Bible. The Bible, or as it’s often dubbed (Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth) is my hardcopy manual for traversing through the hills and valleys of life.
1 Peter 2:2 says: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”. So, I nourish my spirit through the word and I must say it’s very satisfying!
Besides the tonne of work I have in school, from my previous post, it’s definitely clear to see that I gain my mental nourishment through devouring books. I mostly enjoy reading inspirational books because I don’t just want to read in a vacuum, I want to read something that I can apply to my life and so I choose books accordingly. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good novel from time to time. I also love magazines, particularly O, the Oprah magazine. I’ve literally read issues of O from cover to cover because it’s not just a mere gossip mag or fashion mag but a magazine that covers so much more. If you’ve never read an issue of O…. I suggest you get your hands on a copy pronto!
I’m not so much a tv lover but when I do tune in, I usually take in a game show, talk show, documentary, talent shows like Rising Stars or American Idol, reality series like ANTM or Project Runway, a comedy series or a good movie… whether a good romantic comedy, horror movie or an action film, I simply get my fill and relax my mind. I also enjoy singing and so some good music is a must have.
Besides bombarding my brain with all of the above, the best selection in my mental buffet would have to be meditation.
I’m pretty new to meditation but I’ve fallen in love with it because it’s just that good. Sitting in silence and blocking out all that’s around me and focusing on absolutely nothing for a good few minutes can not only prove to be somewhat challenging when just starting out, but also very rewarding. It helps me put aside everything that’s on my to-do list. It helps me forget everything that may be bothering me at the time, and most importantly it helps my mind relax without having to process information… Just like when we exercise, we feel the need to take a water break or simply a breather… so too our minds need some time to just pause and become rejuvenated and refreshed. Try it!
So you thought I strayed from the topic of beauty by talking about my spirit and mind right? Wrong. As I said before, beauty isn’t just physical, it’s holistic. I’m sure you’ve either met or heard of someone who was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous on the outside but who turned out to be a complete turn-off in every other regard. Did you still view this person as beautiful? I would think not. I believe if you view beauty as a tree you’ll realize that it has roots and different branches and bears some mark of its growth and prosperity, for example a fruit or flower. I like to think of the body as the fruit that springs from the tree of beauty.
Now this is where subjectivity kicks in and you ought to let it. Have you ever enjoyed a particular fruit so much and was shocked to discover that someone else thinks it tastes awful? Did that allow you to change your opinion or do you still love that fruit to this day? Well if another’s opinion of your taste in fruit hasn’t changed it, then why should anyone’s opinion of beauty cause you to change yours? Think about it.
If we look around on the television, in newspapers, magazines, everywhere we will see that the ideal embodiment of beauty is a fit body. Many of us view this appearance as an impossible ideal that we can never reach and as such it makes beauty seem like something only a select few are capable of possessing. It’s not. As I said, beauty is a tree of many branches…. and the body is merely the fruit.
Just like a tree, if you wish for it to bear good fruit you will take care of it, right? So why treat your body any differently? If you truly appreciate your body and view it as the vehicle for your well nourished mind and soul you will, by default, begin to take care of your body.
I take care of my body by eating right, well as much as I can manage to. Sometimes that’s not always so easy to do but 8/10 times I try to eat right. Vitamin supplements and exercise help make up for the other 2 times. I realize that I find time for so many other things and I never used to take the time to exercise. Now, exercise is a part of my everyday routine. No matter how hectic my day becomes I find some time to exercise. I no longer view exercise as a means to an end or a challenge but rather as part of my lifestyle. The feeling after a good workout is unparalleled. You feel energized and ready to take on everything that lies ahead of you and most importantly your body is being well taken care of.
Sleep is also fundamental!! We spend so much time being busy that we forget our bodies need rest. For those who share my belief, you’ll realize we were created in God’s image and if God could “rest” then so should we. Even if you don’t share my religious view, it’s still plain to see the benefits of rest. The more rest you get the better able you are at performing the tasks you have set out before you, and since I’m on the topic of physical beauty here, the more beautiful you will appear also.
Grooming and hygiene are also important when taking care of your body and enhancing your physical appearance. So don’t push it to the side!! Spend some time in this arena too!! Also pay special attention to your attire because nothing speaks more audibly about what’s within than your appearance.
Recall the allusion to the tree of beauty… If you’re in an orchard full of fruit trees, without the fruits many of the trees would all appear to be the same. It’s the fruits which help set each tree apart from the other. So take some time to ensure that how you appear externally is a reflection of who you are internally!
Have you ever heard the saying “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”. Hmmm at face value this may not seem entirely true, especially if you’re a generally friendly person who talks to every and anyone and aren’t very selective about who you associate with. Nothing’s wrong with that… In fact that’s good and that’s how it ought to be… to an extent.
I view my social life and the persons I associate with as a set of concentric circles. Naturally, not everyone will fit in the innermost circle but there’s lots of room for persons at different levels. I’m very selective about the individuals I keep near and dear to me. It’s not even necessarily a deliberate effort but more like a passive filtration system. The culmination of who I am as a result of the way I feed my mind, body and spirit determines who I’m able to build a close and meaningful relationship with.
So, upon closer inspection, I guess you realize the truth to the opening statement… Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. As such, I tend to associate with persons who share my ideals and values and who are positive and optimistic about life on a whole.
In closing, today as you nurture your tree of beauty, ensure to tend to the root which is happiness. Feed your happiness according to your own individual needs and watch your tree blossom and bloom beautifully.
Link to Daily Prompt Challenge: Beauty http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/daily-prompt-beauty-2/