During the month of November we see many blog writers open the dialogue about gratitude. They write about how adopting a mindset of being thankful and living in a place of gratefulness and kindness is especially appropriate around this time of year.
We have done the same thing on our blog in November over the years, focusing on gratitude and kindness to others. We have also shared the importance of finding gratitude in our own lives and how to be kind to oneself. This is a principle that deeply supports healing.
This post transcends beyond gratitude and into love. Love is what bubbles up when we have truly embraced gratitude. Love in its purest form is one of the hardest concepts to comprehend. We think we know love or when we need it, want it, or even think we may have it. And we very well may have love in our life. But how do we know for certain? I have an idea how: Beauty = Love.
In our work at White Picket Fence Counseling Center, we often help our clients realign their definition of beauty. We turn away from the media that portrays clothing, food and exercise in ways that promote objectification, disordered eating and harmful movement.
How can we change these concepts, and see that love and beauty are one and the same? We start by noticing beauty in the most simple ways. Do you notice beauty throughout your day? With a mindful awareness practice, also known as mindfulness, we can train ourselves to notice without judgment. We can see people, nature, architecture, and colors all around us, giving us the opportunity to see beauty in it all. The feeling I get inside when I notice beauty is what I secretly call love. Notice the beauty for yourself, and notice the feeling when you let that in, when you appreciate it, and when you absolutely do not judge any of it.
People say you need to love yourself or love your body or love mankind, but how do we get there? I suggest we begin with seeing beauty — look for it. Look at your pet. Watch a sunset — the beauty of watching the sun go down lasts long after it disappears from view. Gaze at your supportive friends, or a photo of a caring grandparent. Let your feelings of love intertwine with the beauty you see. Weave these together and they become one. We may start with a grateful heart, but when this deepens it becomes love. It is in there and whether you get there through looking, experiencing, or writing (a gratitude list), let’s all enjoy this journey.