What is real beauty?

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What is real beauty?  It seems everywhere we turn we’re bombarded with images and perceptions about what signifies or identifies as ‘beauty’ and this is largely based on how someone or something looks.

However, over time I have come to realise that real beauty is sometimes deeper than just the physical attributes of someone as well as it can be based on personal preferences of the person doing the assessment that is to say, what might be beautiful to me may not be beautiful to you and vice versa.  Hence the popular saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

How many couples have you looked at and thought, “What an interesting combo?” or “How did he or she end up with him or her?”   How many people have you met that did not meet up to your standards of beauty or attractiveness that turned out to be great people who you now have beautiful friendships or relationships with?  Or rather how many people have you not allowed yourself the opportunity to interact with because they did not meet your standards based on their appearance?

If we limit ourselves to just what our eyes can see then we can potentially be missing out on many beautiful things and people out there in the world around us. 

I am not advocating that we stop admiring or complimenting people based on their appearance. What I am suggesting however, is that we not limit or avoid interactions with others because of their outward characteristics because sometimes “what you see is not necessarily what you get” and this can prevent us sometimes from learning and experiencing someone or something truly special.

I for one have met and interacted with all types of people and there have been times when I met people who I deemed beautiful or attractive in their outward appearance and later found out that they lacked inward beauty – that is, their character, personality or values did not match up with their outward beauty and I suddenly did not find them as beautiful after that.

As children through stories like “The Ugly Duckling” and “Beauty and the Beast” we’re taught “you should not judge a book by the cover.”  We all know the stories so  ask yourself this, who really loses in scenarios where we make assumptions or judgements about others based on their appearances – the person being judged or the person making the judgement?

A diamond is a diamond whether we think it is beautiful or not.  Our like or dislike for it does not change what it is.  This is how we must see ourselves and others as well.  We are all beautiful and special and this is how we need to see our differences because whether people like us or not would not change or take away from what makes each and every one of us special, unique and beautiful.

Real beauty to me is not limited to just the physical attributes of someone or something but the non-physical attributes that compliment that person or thing.  It is what makes it truly special and beautiful giving those that come into contact with it a sense of joy, happiness and pleasure to be around.

Thanks for stopping by.  🙂

 

 

Stretch Yourself

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Thank you Lord for another day.  Thank you for another opportunity to do better and be better. Thank you for all YOU have done, are doing and will do in our lives. Give us the strength and courage to stretch ourselves so that we can become the individuals we were meant to be. Amen!

That was my prayer for us. Many times we go through life and some of us tend to limit ourselves and our experiences because we are afraid.  I know what that is like because it used to keep me stuck.   Afraid of failure, afraid of the unknown, afraid of what others might say and afraid of change.

How many experiences, opportunities, potential relationships and friendships did you allow yourself to miss out on because you were afraid? Being afraid or ‘fearful’ is not all bad because this is our brain’s way of protecting us from anything or anyone it feels threatened by.

However, although the brain means well this emotion ‘fear’ can also paralyze us in moments when we need to act.  It can limit us and cause us to miss out on potentially good and positive experiences because we’ve become stuck in this emotional state where we start seeing everyone and everything as a potential threat.

This type of existence hinders our learning because we would typically avoid trying new things. Learning is a part of ‘living’ and if you choose to avoid new experiences, new opportunities and new things then you deny yourself the opportunity to widen your knowledge and your experiences therefore limiting your learning.

Today I want to encourage you to put your fear aside and stretch yourself.  Let’s look at some of the best case/ worse case scenarios of stretching yourself:

  1. Try something new it could be a new food, new sport, new activity (dancing, cooking class or a defense class) anything you build up the courage to try – either you’ll like it or you won’t and that’s okay.  Don’t be discouraged just try something else.  This is an opportunity for you to grow and learn more about yourself.  You’ll learn some likes and dislikes you didn’t know about – so go into it with an open mind.
  2. Open up to the possibility of sharing your life with others. Maybe you’ll meet someone who will become your best friend, lover, or future spouse only time will tell. Maybe you’ll just be friends or maybe you’ll learn that not everyone that smiles with you is your friend. Either way there is an opportunity to learn something about others as well as yourself.
  3. Change is good and is sometimes necessary for betterment to take place.  It is good to change-up our routine sometimes and create new ones. This could be as simple as taking a different route to work or home; . It could even be eating whole wheat bread instead of white bread, adding a fruit and vegetables to our daily meal plan.  This will help to foster greater flexibility and adaptability in your life.  Change can be good for you so rather than run from it sometimes based on the potential benefits and lessons to be learnt we should embrace it.
  4. The unknown or future is just that because no one knows what the future holds.    Hiding or shutting ourselves away from others and not participating in life does not help prepare us for the future if nothing else it can put us at a disadvantage. We should choose to live, love, learn and grow each and everyday and trust that our plans will workout in our favour when that time comes.

Stretch yourself, stretch your understanding, stretch your experiences, stretch your opportunities, stretch your relationships, stretch your body, mind and spirit. With each day that goes by understand that the only thing keeping you back is YOU. 

Don’t let fear limit your possibilities for growth, wisdom and understanding.

Just take it one day at a time. 🙂

The Power of Limits

Why do we need limits?  Limits are the things that directly and indirectly affect our lives either positively or negatively. They encompass your values, attitudes, behaviours and thoughts.  They provide guidance as to what you will and will not accept or put up with as it relates to yourself and others. In this article, I will …

The brain and tongue are more than just organs in the human body.  They have the power to make you feel like a million dollars or make you feel invisible.  Together they are lethal weapons for either positivity  or negativity.   These organs create  what I call ‘limits’ in our lives.

Some limits we learn from our parents growing up; others we tell ourselves based on experiences we’ve had and the rest come from people who we consider to be near and dear to us like family, friends and a spouse. These ‘limits’ encompass our values, attitudes, behaviours and thoughts.  They are the seeds that are planted by us as well as others that can directly and indirectly affect our lives either positively or negatively.

In this article, I will try to show you the pros and cons of limits so that you can use them to improve your life.   I believe that limits can be classified into two main types that is, the one we set for ourselves and the other, is the one set for us by others.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages since both have positive and negative limits within them.

Some examples of positive and negative limits we set for ourselves are:

POSITIVE

  • “I will strive to be positive in my thoughts and behaviour.”
  • “I will not be excessive in my shopping buying things I do not need.”

NEGATIVE

  • Using the words “I can’t …” as a justification for not doing something.
  • Negatively stereotyping yourself.  “I’m too old.” or “I’m not pretty enough.”

Advantages of Positive Limits (set by ourselves)

  • They can provide guidance for various situations such as what you will and will not tolerate from yourself and others – for example, negativity, abuse and self- pity just to name a few.
  • They give a sense of power and control over our lives.  We ideally determine what, who and how we feed and nurture our mind, body and spirit.
  • They tend to attract similar minded people to you.

Disadvantage of Negative Limits (set by ourselves)

  • They can damage your self-esteem.
  • They can leave us feeling broken and helpless, open to all the negative energies of the world.  Note, I use ‘feeling’, not because you feel a certain way means that you’re stuck that way.  You can choose to ‘feel’ differently.
  • Unforgiveness of yourself or others.  This can stunt your mental and spiritual growth and healing.  Practicing forgiveness will break the shackles that have been holding you down for so long.  This process is for YOUR betterment no one else.
  • They negatively affect how we see and treat others.

Such negative limits only encourage negativity.  They tend to shut people out and act as a barrier to attracting positivity in your life.  I suggest reviewing your thinking and behaviour to ensure that it is fair and objective in how you see yourself and others.

Some examples of positive and negative limits set for us by others are:

POSITIVE                                                                            NEGATIVE

  • “You are an amazing friend.”                              “You will never aspire to anything.”
  • “You are a good parent.”                                       “You can’t do anything right.”
  • “You are an excellent lover.”                                “You are such a failure.”

Advantages of Positive Limits (set for us by others) – positive people

  • They tend to be positive and uplifting often encouraging us to be better.
  • They are motivating and thought provoking.  They make us stop and think about how we are behaving.
  • They tend to strengthen and reinforce a positive self-image.

If you have people like this in your life keep them close.  Let them know how much you appreciate and value having them in your life.  They are true assets to have and cherish.  Try to reciprocate in their lives as well.  Be an asset in someone’s life today. Don’t always make everything about you. Be a giver and not a taker.  Try and strike a balance.

Disadvantages of Limits (set for us by others) – Negative People

  • They tend to create or maintain a false picture of who you really are and often label you as weak, foolish and unworthy.
  • These people want to hurt you by their words and actions and tend to be consistent in their efforts to break you down every opportunity they get.
  • They use these limits as a way to control various aspects of your life – relationships, finances, emotions and how you feel and see yourself.

Many of us often underestimate the power of the spoken word.   Hopefully, if not before, now you do see that words have the power to not only build and strengthen but also damage and destroy  your self-esteem, self-worth and self-image, if you let it.  The power that the spoken word has comes from the meaning and value we put in the words and the person or persons using them.

Do not allow yourself to be anyone’s punching bag emotionally or physically.  They have their own issues to fix.    If you are guilty of this, it is not too late.  You need to reclaim the reigns of your life.  For too long, you have relinquished control to negativity.

I want to encourage you to take corrective action immediately.  If you are guilty of  negativity within yourself, then be quiet! Look for positive things such as inspirational and motivational books, uplifting music, talk to someone about it and surround yourself with positive people. This process requires a reconditioning of the mind, body and spirit and thus it would not be done overnight.

Start by identifying what and where your problem areas are and TAKE ACTION to improve and in some instances remove them. YOU are in CONTROL.  BE CAREFUL of WHO and WHAT you are listening to.  What you ultimately BELIEVE about YOURSELF is what will MAKE or BREAK YOU.

I hope that this article was useful. Thanks for reading.