Child looking out to at sea

Strengths and beauty

A couple of years ago I signed up for a half day course organised by the fabulous You Are Welcome programme, with Bridget Grenville-Cleave of WorkMad . It was a session on discovering each other’s strengths.  Little did I know then how important this half day course will prove for me. The importance of it just came to me today.

Before the course started we were given a questionnaire to complete, so to discover our own strengths. I did the questionnaire. Three times! The results brought tears to my eyes and baffled me at the same time. I could not make sense of my top strength, although inside me it felt spot on, hence the tears – they were tears of joy, of recognition. “Appreciation of beauty and excellence”. What does this even mean??

All my adult life I worked as a Volunteer Manager, in one way or an other. Often I felt proud to be able to quickly, clearly see other people’s potential, other people’s light. I never knew though that this is a strength that I might have, I thought everyone can do that. I just couldn’t stop thinking about what this means and in which way is it a gift. How can I work with it to grow and to grow others?

I was telling a friend about this test some month ago and I told her what my main strength is. Her response: “so you like beautiful things? That’s your strength???” I have to admit her reaction left me even more baffled and a bit hurt, if you want the truth. So, in the back of my mind I kept on working on making sense of it; I was looking for the gift, the gift that comes from this strength. Well, I think I just found it! Halleluiah!

When I turn the news on, when I have a quick look through the papers I feel sadness and anger; it feels to me as the world is full of pain, injustice and turmoil. But what I see everyday and what my experience of the world is it’s a different story. I see a lot of beauty. I see people achieving amazing things as they travel through their day. I see flowers, I see trees, I see lovely faces thirsty for connection, I see the sun and the rain and the badgers and children play and yummy cakes and fun days. Sure, I can see the pain, the turmoil, the injustice too, but the world is not just that, there is an awful lot of beauty too.

If I only stop for a minute to look around, to listen, to tune in, it’s here, it’s everywhere. It brings me joy and relief from upsets, stress, worry. We all know instinctively what is beautiful to us. We know because it touches our soul, in a way nothing else does.

The finding of beauty is today imperative. It brings us together, it moves us, it inspires us to action. I can feel the world shifting today, I can clearly feel us moving from one story to the next one. We have a choice now, we can choose the next story. With our actions today we can shape our future story. Seeing beauty is a skill for future.

I choose to shape my future through the lens of beauty. I invite beauty to guide me. I want to look at you and first see the beauty in you. Sometimes, I’ll see the sadness, the worry, the pain in you and that is fine, there is beauty in sadness too.  I choose to look at the world and allow beauty to take me by the hand and take me into our future. With beauty in my heart I will be better placed to look after me, after us, after the world, in my small, every day journey through it.  #goodthings

Child looking out to at sea

If you want to have a go and discover your strengths here’s a link to the survey:

Survey-Know your character strengths

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