Beauty, a simple word with profound meaning; all it takes is one look to see the impact of this word in the world around us. There are times when it is used in ways that do not add up to its true depth—references to the physical appearance of a person, something that people envy each other for. But, beauty is more than that. It is a revelation in our daily lives that often goes unnoticed. True beauty is taken for granted.
Brainy Quote defines beauty as, “An assemblage or graces or properties pleasing to the eye, the ear, the intellect, the aesthetic faculty, or the moral sense” (par. 1). This definition refers to the fact that there is beauty in every aspect of life—the love people share, the kindness in helping someone, the nourishment in a good book, or even moral insight in witnessing misfortune. Everyday people go about their lives overlooking the beauty surrounding them. A woman holding her child’s hand while walking through the park, a teenage boy helping the woman who has dropped all of her belongings, the relevance of a story that is held dear for a lifetime, or in that one moment when one is forced to acknowledge all of their blessings because they witness someone else lose everything they ever called their own. Beauty resides in everything.
To paint the picture more clearly, imagine a man waking up the day after Christmas to his neighbor pounding on his door for help. He runs outside to see that same neighbor’s house engulfed in flames; her children stand out in the street, freezing in the cold and crying. Someone has called the fire department, but they take too long to arrive. This man stands there watching as his neighbor loses everything; the home she shared with her children and everything of value to them is gone. This is a horrid predicament that no person deserves; but, because of what he has seen and the pain he has observed, this man begins to think about the things in his own life that he cherishes. From that day on he refuses to take anything for granted and lives for the blessings in every circumstance—that is beauty.
It is difficult for some people to grasp beauty in that high degree. Many see beauty as something that makes them happy or makes them feel good, and this is fine, too. Merriam-Webster defines beauty as, “The quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit” (par. 1). In reference to this definition, people may find beauty in a gorgeous scenery, a song they can relate to, or praise from a person or persons they respect because it makes them feel good. Different things adhere to different people. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder; beauty will present itself when a person needs to see or feel it most.
A teenage girl battling confidence issues may feel that she is a lost cause. She goes back and forth trying to “fit in” with her peers but never feels like she is wanted or appreciated. When she is asked by a teacher to perform at an assembly, she finally feels noticed and is elated. After the assembly, some of her classmates compliment her on the performance and she begins to gain self-worth. This girl then goes forth to participate in more assemblies and socializes with more students, gaining friends and confidence. The beauty in this situation is that this girl desperately needed to be acknowledged and when she finally was, she thrived from it.
Many people declare that the world is an ugly place—it is consumed by negativity, pain, and hatred. They feel that nothing is beautiful anymore; everything is tainted and abused. It is these same people that fail to see the beauty in beauty. They do not recognize that everything is beautiful and that beauty is what one takes from what one is given. For this reason, these people lead less than full lives and go on wanting more because they refuse to see that their life is full of beauty.
“It strikes like bolt from anywhere and shocks senses with gentle sweetness and fills the soul with rest and peace; how it came and why it came, no reflections ever illumed me” (Kumar). This excerpt from a poem exudes what beauty is. It is everywhere, all at once, waiting to be discovered. A soul that has found and accepted the beauty in his or her life is a happy soul. Sometimes beauty is a blessing in disguise. Any person, thing, or situation that presents itself in someone’s life and may not be wanted in the beginning can easily turn out to be pure beauty.
An example of this idea could very well be the unfortunate event of 9/11. Our country was hit hard and made to look weak and helpless; life as we knew it was put on hold and everything was thrown into painful slow motion. It seemed as though hope was lost and that there was no way to come out on top. However, the harmony that began to arise in Americans and the love people started showing for one another proved that something great can always be taken from something bad. It is unfortunate that it took such a catastrophic event to make so many people realize what our country should be when it comes to standing by one another, but the beauty of unity was pulled from the ruble and that is what matters.
Beauty is love and the act of love—giving and receiving. Beauty is the caring neighbor who leaves food at the door of the house that holds a family struggling to get by. Beauty is the child that leaves their friends to sit next to the new student who doesn’t know anyone. It is the tears in the eyes of the parents the day they give their daughter away. It is the smile on the face of the mother whose child has made them a gift by hand and the pride that same child has in making his mother happy. It is the men and women that selflessly leave their families to travel to foreign lands to fight for everything that our country is and the support that those families give them. Beauty is what we live for, what we strive for. Beauty is what we need.
All of these things, and many others, are truly taken for granted. The number of people that trudge through their lives and ignore the beauty in the beauty of everything revolving around them is unfortunate. It doesn’t take much effort to reflect on everything good going on in our lives. So, why do we continue to pass it by? Why do so many people go on living in a melancholy manner when it can be so easy to just take a deep breath, look around, and be grateful, happy, and fulfilled?
There are many different ideas about what beauty is or what it should be. But, the fact is that it’s simple. Beauty is life and everything that comes with it. If more time was taken out of the day to acknowledge the beauty surrounding us, the world would be a better place. This is a challenge that every human being should take on; find, see and accept beauty.
Brainy Quote. “Beauty.” BrainyQuote. BookRags Media Network, 2012. Web. 22 Oct. 2012.
Kumar, Praveen. “Beauty.” PoemHunter. N.p., 2012. Web. 22 Oct 2012.
Merriam-Webster. “Beauty.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster Inc., 2012. Web. 22 Oct 2012.
HayLee Rubenstein originally wrote this essay for Palabras's Website back in April 2013.