Theory of Beauty 

 “I have this theory, that if we’re told we’re bad; then that’s the only idea we’ll ever have. Maybe if we are surrounded in beauty, one day we will become what we see.” Jewel “I’m Sensitive”

Throughout high school, college, and a few years after, I was obsessed with Jewel. I still kind of am, but I often forget she exists. Then I remember, and I go on Jewel listening binges. 

I love the lyrics to most of her songs, but “I’m Sensitive” has always stood out to me. Maybe because I am much more sensitive and easily wounded than I try to let on, but I also just love this idea of surrounding yourself with beauty. Let’s take that a step further- I want to help create that beauty for other people. 

How can I do that? Well… I could probably start with my attitude. I’m still working on that whole pessimism thing. And, let’s be honest, I should work on not being a bitch half the time! 

I think that seeing beauty in life is often just taking the time to slow down and appreciate. I feel life is beautiful when I spend time with those I love, go on a long walk, or go try something new. 

Does anyone have any suggestions? 

Jillian

Finding Beauty in Things That Suck

sunriseI really dislike commuting, it just feels like an epic waste of time. However, then there is this view. I snapped this a few days ago on my morning commute (yes, I’m an irresponsible driver, but some opportunities you just can’t pass up!). The sunrise makes me so happy. I couldn’t exactly stop and take more pictures, but I can also see a mountain out there further to the right. It is epic.

There is nearly always an upside (I’m sorry, but I am just not advanced enough to see it in *everything*), and I am working hard to see it. For example, I wish I wouldn’t think that I hate commuting. I actually am really happy about the fact that since we moved over the summer, I have been able to shave 20 minutes EACH WAY off of my commute. We’re now close enough that I can go home at lunch to let my puppy outside. I also get to enjoy views like this, and when I can pull my mind away from the insanity of drivers around me (like that irresponsible driver taking pictures of the sunrise 😉 ), I actually have 20 minutes or so of peace to think about how I want to live my day. Part of seeking minimalism for me is to minimize the mental space that I give to stress, pessimism, and negativity. This is a huge stretch for me. Those that know me well probably have a lot to say about that, but in my mind I have made progress.

The more I try to banish negativity, the more I notice these things:

  • many of my negative statements to others are based on insecurity. I want to insult myself before someone else can. At my personal training appointment, I kept saying negative things about myself to my trainer. She scolded me for it and it sucked, I wanted to cry because I already felt so bad. But why was I doing it? Because I didn’t like how I looked or how I was doing, and I thought she felt the same way. I doubt she even cared.
  • people that say negative things to me often seem to be worried that I am judging their choices, or worried that I am missing out on something. For example, those who are overly critical of my vegetarianism are usually eating meat. I haven’t said a word about it (I don’t care what they’re eating), but they are still defensive. I also get many negative comments about how I don’t have children. They upset me for many reasons, but I am working on seeing this negativity as loving concern. If I can see that harsh comments are not necessarily about people not liking me, it helps me because I have less anxiety.
  • negative thinking destroys me. No good ever comes of it, and nothing bad ever comes from seeing myself and the world around me in a positive light. If I want to be happy, I need to love myself before I expect other people to.

I don’t enjoy doing laundry or making the bed, but I focus on how good it will feel to crawl into those soft, fresh sheets. An argument makes me anxious and hurt, but talking things out in a constructive manner brings people closer together.

I will admit, the harder stuff- death, illness, etc,- I’m just not there yet. But maybe someday I will be. For now, dealing with the smaller stuff is really tough for me, so I have to master it a little at a time.

Has anyone else tried to minimize negativity? Did it work?

Jillian