Ugliness verses beauty. Trash verses treasure. These both have one common factor-differing opinions on their definitions. It is the only way to explain how one person can find something irresistible while another finds it upsetting. Understanding our definitions while being considerate of others just could help us make a better world though. Or at the very least, allow us to love ourselves a little bit more.
Think about it.
The saying, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ has a lot truth to it. That saying alone sheds light on why there are so many styles of cars, homes and clothes. It supports why some people will stare happily at a painting and call it sophisticated art while you look at it like someone had a seizure when holding some cans of open paint. They call it beautiful. You call it different. They would pay a pretty penny for it since they see it as a treasure. You would regift it if you got it for Christmas.
This concept carries through other facets of life as well. Take nature. Look at the pictures of this plant. I am not an expert on plants so I don’t know if this bloom is technically a flower or officially a weed. Frankly, I don’t really care either. All I know is that it attracted my attention, even when its “flowering” bloom was dried out and wilting. I was drawn to its shape, its dramatic form. And when viewed from another perspective, I found it quite striking and elegant, enough to stop and photograph it with my iPhone.
Regardless of the botanical facts, I call this a beautiful “flower.” I have that right. I am not writing a scientific paper on plants. I am not deceiving you, trying to convince you into believing one way or another. Flower or weed? You can decide for yourself as Salma Hayek expressed quite well once. “I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.”
Bravo Ms. Hayek. Bravo.
Now take this a step further like she suggested. Let’s look inside ourselves. Think about all the times we let people influence our ideas on value, ourselves. We are bombarded by advertisements, cultural norms and peer pressure. All these things tell us what is popular, attractive and normal. We do, wear, buy and cherish things throughout our lives. Sometimes we even like them. But other times, we did and got those things because that is what we should get, ought to have or need to possess to fit in, look successful or appear normal. What if we put that all aside and did exactly what we wanted, we needed, and we felt without concern for the opinions of others like Steve Maraboli suggests in his book Life, the Truth, and Being Free. “How would your life be different if…You stopped allowing other people to dilute or poison your day with their words or opinions? Let today be the day…You stand strong in the truth of your beauty and journey through your day without attachment to the validation of others.”
It could be a different kind of day or life for some indeed. So I urge you to look at yourself and your life. Think about what you like and don’t like without regard to others. Dive deep into your own thoughts and learn to love you for who you are. If you don’t like something about yourself. Make a plan to work on changing it. But overall, your beauty and self-worth is defined by you, not others. You are your own beholder. Do you see trash or treasure, a weed or flower?
Loving ourselves is a hard step sometimes though. Hard indeed, but according to Phylicia Rashad, it doesn’t have to be. “Loving one’s self isn’t hard, when you understand who and what ‘yourself’ is. It has nothing to do with the shape of your face, the size of your eyes, the length of your hair or the quality of your clothes. It’s so beyond all of those things and it’s what gives life to everything about you. Your own self is such a treasure.”
Learning to view and treat ourselves as treasure is critical, and could make a huge difference in our lives. For if we cannot love and respect ourselves, how could anyone else?