Friday Thoughts

Appreciating Beauty and Excellence

According to the most recent strength finders test, one of my greatest strengths is appreciating beauty and excellence. And I really do agree with this; I recognize, emotionally experience, and appreciate the beauty around me and the skill of others. Maybe this is why I cry during sporting events? I am no top, elite athlete, but I put my whole heart and soul into running. I imagine that is similar to the feeling that these professional athletes have during their training and competitive seasons. Whatever it is, you will most definitely find me crying after an intense Seahawk game, the CrossFit Games, or any marathon I watch.

But I think now, more than ever before, is a great opportunity to find appreciation in the beauty and excellence, not just in our world, but in ourselves.

The Obvious

There are the obvious things. For example, I absolutely love the sky and the symbolism of dawn and dusk. I feel and appreciate the beauty and awe of these two cycles of our sky. A sense of beginning and a calming end, but ultimately just a tiny glimpse of the vastness and unknown of our universe (I love space!). Another example, I greatly appreciate palm trees. Palm trees symbolize happy memories in my childhood, when we went on family vacations. But it also means I am close to a warm beach, which is my favorite place to be.

Less Obvious

Then there are less obvious things. Like I mentioned earlier, the appreciation of the hard, dedicated work that athletes put into improving their skills. Or appreciating the hard work of our healthcare workers, not just now, but all of time. These people work crazy, long hours and sometimes have to deal with pretty crappy patients. (I am thinking of you nurse Mary!).

And Even Less

But even less obvious? What about appreciation for the beauty and excellence within ourselves? As I got the results from the strength finders test, I started to wonder to myself how this can apply to self-care and self-love. Do I ever feel like I appreciate myself? I appreciate the things I have, like my job, dogs, family and friends. But do I appreciate my beauty and excellence?

Self-Appreciation

What do I think is beautiful and excellent about myself? I sort of blush when I stop to think about this. It was very difficult to create a list.

I appreciate my smile. My red hair. And my strong but short body. I appreciate my blue eyes. My humor, at least I am always making myself laugh. I appreciate my legs for letting me run thousands of miles and my hands for letting me develop callus after callus.

I appreciate my mental strength and my attitude about most things in life. My empathy and ability to create deep, meaningful connections with people. I appreciate my past and how what I have overcome. I appreciate the person my past experiences has made me become.

Change of Plans

I started this post in the morning but have come back after work to finish. And in that time span I learned that I most likely won’t have a job by next Friday because of the virus.

From this I have realized that I appreciate my ability to welcome in a feeling. But then decide if it is one that will serve me well or not. And if not, allow myself to acknowledge it, but to remember that being hung up on it will not solve my problem. This all relates to my post about equanimity:

“You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.”

Marcus Aurelius

So screw you virus, instead of getting mad, I will come up with a plan. I have said this before and I will say it again, you get to decide how you feel. Think to yourself, how do you desire to feel? Then do the thing that makes you feel that.

Things I learned from this post:

  • Finding the things you appreciate about yourself is sort of embarrassing.
  • And it is difficult.
  • But saying it (or typing it) allows you to know and feel that it is real!
  • Going from my salary being cut in half to potentially not having a job in one week is tough, but going in with a plan eases the fear.

So, your turn. What beautiful and excellent things do you appreciate about yourself? Life is trying to challenge all of us right now. Try to keep your head up, look for the good in the situation, and appreciate the beautiful and excellent things still going on in your life, and in the world. Leave a comment or message me!

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