Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder - A VIA Challenge
August 23, 2013 by VIA Institute on Character ·
This past weekend I took a quick trip to Chicago, Illinois, to visit family and friends. One of my favorite “touristy” activities in the Windy City is the architectural boat tour—90 minutes of history, architecture and stunning views. So even though our time was limited, we fit the cruise into our Saturday afternoon schedule.
As we leisurely drifted down the Chicago River I studied the towering buildings overhead— amazed by the different silhouettes set off vividly by the blue sky and cotton clouds. From the classic Wrigley Building to the innovative Aqua Tower, each design unique and reflecting off of the glistening river water. I was charmed by the experience.
Then it occurred to me— I was using the perfect combination of mindfulness and my VIA character strength, appreciation of beauty and excellence. Since I was actively aware of the present moment I was able to deeply appreciate the brilliance of the Chicago skyline. I had taken the same cruise before but I had never fully appreciated the experience the way I did last weekend when I was so actively engaged in the moment.
Research has found that intentionally tuning in to savor and increase enjoyment of experiences relates to many aspects of well-being, including increased happiness, optimism, and decreased hopelessness (Bryant & Veroff, 2007). It might be easy to appreciate beauty on a majestic boat tour, but this week’s exercise will help you look for magnificence in your everyday activities. Where does the VIA strength, appreciation of beauty and excellence, fall on your Character Strengths Profile? Log in to the VIA website to see.
Written by: Kelly Aluise, VIA Institute on Character
Open Your Eyes Challenge
For one week, we at the VIA Institute on Character challenge you to TUNE IN and OPEN YOUR EYES to life’s simple pleasures. Keep a “beauty log” in which you regularly write about the environment around you – people, nature, art, animals, plants, even the moral acts of beauty witnessed in others. What do you see? What is special and beautiful? For each of those seven days, try to discover beauty in at least one thing or person that you view or experience frequently, but have never noticed as beautiful. (Diessner et al., 2006)
Reflect in your journal and, at the end of your week, share your experiences with us in a comment or on our Facebook page. Do you feel differently about the world around you? Is there a way to add even more beauty to your daily activities? There is so much to appreciate if we just open our eyes.