L3: Appreciate Beauty

Ben was my one true love. He was 36 years old when I met him; I was only 11. I never imagined that I could love someone so unconditionally and completely. A lot of other people didn’t like Ben and they didn’t understand why I was so taken with him. He was older and had a scruffy appearance. But to me, Ben was my entire world and I loved everything about him.

Ben was a lesson horse at a local stable where I attended camp and hung out after school and on weekends during my middle school years. I met him on my first day at camp and, though I hated camp at first and wanted to quit, I fell in love with both Ben and summer camp by the end of that first week.

Ben’s age was obvious; his ribs and other bones protruded from his skinny, but sturdy, frame and his movements were slow but steady. But to me, he was the most loving, gentle, kind being I had ever known. I was only able to see Ben’s beauty: his silky, long mane and tail, his fuzzy brown fur, the stubbly whiskers on his chin, and his enormous size and strength all impressed me. Ben got more attention and tenderlovingcare than any other horse in Allentown at that time.

I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I had chosen to only see Ben’s physical challenges. By seeing Ben for who he truly was, a beautiful and graceful older gentleman, I learned about the true meaning of life and was transformed.

We are all perfectly imperfect. Horses, people, trees, and rocks alike share this characteristic. Imperfections are reminders of our humanity and a call to find and appreciate true beauty.

It is easy to become frustrated with other people. They don’t always understand us or do what we think they ought to do. Focusing on other people’s flaws may bring temporary relief when we are feeling hurt or disappointed, but doing so further damages our relationships and make us feel even more miserable in the long run. All people are beautiful human beings who happen to have flaws. This can be hard to remember when someone is really pissing you off; if we try, we can remember and recognize the strengths and virtues that person has to offer. Strive to understand their point of view and help them to see yours as well.

On a daily basis, recognize the voluminous beauty that surrounds you. When you see a field of dandelion, appreciate the beautiful color and healing qualities of this herb; don’t think of it as a noxious weed. Seize every possible opportunity to appreciate beauty, if only for a fleeting moment. Cumulative moments of joy make a big difference in our lives.

Leadership brings with it overwhelming responsibility. Take the time to discover, appreciate, and celebrate the beauty in the people, situations, places, and systems in your life. Take nothing for granted and seek positivity – the lesson, the light, the love, the good – in everyone and everything. Use your influence and resources to illuminate these beautiful ideas, things, and people so that others may be nourished by the beauty in them as well.

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