8 Ways To Find Beauty In Everyday Life When The World Feels Ugly

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woman finding beauty in life
Self

No matter how rosy your rose-colored glasses are, finding beauty can be challenging when the world feels like it's falling apart, especially now more than ever.

Is it possible — or even realistic — to find beauty in everyday life when the world feels ugly?

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Poet Kahlil Gibran writes emphatically about this kind of beauty:

"Beauty is kind and gentle...

of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit…

Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east...

We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves…

And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy…

A heart enflamed and a soul enchanted...

An image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears...

A garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight..."

So, yes, finding beauty in everyday life is possible when the world feels ugly.

Here are 8 ways to get started finding beauty every day, no matter the state of the world.

1. Hold onto hope.

Hope is necessary because it motivates, energizes, and sustains us — and it can lead the path to beauty.

Poet Emily Dickinson said it best:

"'Hope' is the thing with feathers —

That perches in the soul —

And sings the tune without the words —

And never stops — at all."

Hope is especially important if you're in a situation that you can't change, or in a scary time in your life when there's no way to fully insulate your exposure to the negativity. (Hello, COVID-19 pandemic!)

Holding onto hope facilitates changing painful situations. Even in the darkest of times, hope is available.

History proves this. A good example is Victor Frankl, the Nazi prisoner whose ability to immerse himself in hope kept him alive.

You have the capacity to generate hope for yourself and for others. So, cultivate more hope by looking at people around you who inspire you. Therein lies such beauty.

2. Live in alignment with your values.

Identifying what really matters to you — a.k.a., your core values — and making decisions that line up with those values is a way to find beauty.

Even during a Pandemic, magenta rosebuds blossom and robins sing to each other. As someone who values nature, you will find beauty by looking outside your window.

If you are someone who finds beauty in connecting with friends, arrange a virtual gathering. Find creative ways to feel closer to each other. Or if you're someone who loves animals, play with your dog.

Beauty awaits you there.

3. Practice gratitude.

Gratitude helps you recognize what you have and be less oriented toward what may be lacking. 

There is such beauty in gratitude. To be happy and satisfied with what is around you during a pandemic keeps you in a better frame of mind.

Gratitude connects you to the bigger picture, to the world at large. Recognizing the connection with other human beings, that you are part of something larger than yourself, is beautiful.

4. Strengthen self-compassion.

Some moments might feel like gloom and doom when you're surrounded by ugliness, such as a pandemic, racial unrest, and political turmoil.

Self-compassion to the rescue! It integrates mindfulness, empathy, and kindness toward yourself in an attempt to pre-empt your suffering.

It's a beautiful practice to honor yourself and your humanity. And there are beautiful one-minute self-compassion practices you can try.

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5. Reach out for help.

You are part of a much bigger global collective. We all are. There are people in your corner of the world who are available to help you.

Maybe they're family, friends, community members, neighbors, or even agency volunteers. You're never really alone.

Connecting with others is a beautiful reminder of oneness.

6. Reach out to help.

One of the best ways to feel better is to help others. The help can be in the form of money, time, energy, or ideas.

How beautiful to see someone’s face light up because of the help you provided. Or just knowing that you made someone's day brighter.

7. Find inspiration — it's there.

You may find inspiration in cooking, yoga, or art. Engage in activities you enjoy.

Look at Pinterest or other sites for ideas. Find Facebook groups with like-minded people interested in the same sources of inspiration.

Children and pets can offer lots of inspiration without even knowing it. Inspiration is a beautiful form of energy.

8. Laugh out loud.

Very few activities relieve stress like laughing does. Laughter can be a beautiful way of letting go, being silly, or welcoming light heartedness.

Laughter is associated with improved cardiac function, psychological well-being, and improved immune function. Something fun and playful that also has health benefits is a beautiful thing!

Perhaps, the most beautiful thing of all is the ability to find beauty during times of hardship and duress. Beauty surrounds you. Just be sure you notice it.

These recognitions will help you get through ugly times.

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Dr. Elayne Daniels is a clinical psychologist in the Boston area specializing in eating disorders, body image, and the psychological effects of women’s pursuit of beauty. Noticing everyday beauty is part of her daily mindfulness practice.