Look for the Beauty

It's easy to find the hardness, the selfishness and the lack of understanding in the world.  And we're masters at finding justification for our own selfishness and for the reasons why and how we judge other people.

We're so very good at noticing the shortcomings of other people that we forget that most people are just doing their best.  Sometimes our best doesn't look like much: if you are afraid of heights, then getting on an aeroplane is a big deal for you, taking up a lot of energy and courage - if you're not afraid of heights, then you can't understand why on earth getting on a plane would be a problem for anyone.  But what is it that you are afraid of?  I know people who are afraid of birds, bats, heights, open spaces, small spaces, crowds, the dark, being alone... is there anyone who doesn't have an irrational fear/dislike of something?  My point is that we are quick to judge other people's weaknesses, yet find our own perfectly understandable.

The man who likes the sound of his own voice; the shy person who never contributes much; the person who talks about themselves the whole time; the one who worries about every little thing; the person who always complains of being unwell; the one who's always late; the show-off; the argumentative person...  There are reasons for all of these behaviours and we should make it our job to understand more and condemn less.

We could start from the position that most people have kindness and love in them.  We could start from the position that most people are simply doing their best.  Sometimes our best falls short of the mark; sometimes our best intentions get misconstrued, but for the mostpart, our best is all that we're trying to do too.

Spend this weekend looking for the beauty in everything.  If in doubt, look up: the sky is an endless source of beauty and inspiration.  Look for the kindness in yourself and in others.  Share your kindness and your beauty with the world.

I know that when you open your heart to the world it means that the world can hurt you, but really, what is the alternative?  There are enough people around with walls around their hearts, rationing their love, giving it to only a few people - family and close friends, or those they think are deserving of it.  Our task is to find the beauty in everyone.  Our task is to be kind.  Our work is to understand and where we cannot understand, to forgive.

And of course, I am a work in progress myself...  I was walking with my dog this week and I got really cross.  He disappeared and then turned up with a rabbit's pelt in his mouth (which might have made him ill), having lost (another) ball.  I was grumpy and annoyed and stalking along grumbling to myself when a bird flew overhead.  I looked up and was rewarded by the sight of a young short eared owl sitting in a tree not 6 feet away from me.  It observed me impassively.  I watched it with wonder.  Then it swooped away through the trees leaving me feeling blessed.

Life's like that isn't it?  Things feel bad and we start languishing in bad thoughts (about ourselves, about our family, about other people) and we forget to look for the good stuff; the stuff that inspires us and fills us up and reminds us that life is beautiful. 

So, smile at the checkout girl, no matter how surly she is.  Hold the door open for people and forgive them if they don't say thank you.  Be understanding of other people's weirdnesses and weaknesses, no matter how they manifest themselves.  Take your eyes off the chewing gum on the pavement and fix them on the sky.


  1. I have seen flowers grow in stony places,
    and kind things done by men with hard faces,
    and the Gold Cup won by the worst horse at the races,
    So I trust too (John Masefield).

    The memory of one smile can last a lifetime. (V.)


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