Mum's the word


Photo by Jelmer Borst on Unsplash


Our world is filled with so much beauty it can, at times, appear to stifle the imagination. The picture above is Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It has been 41 years since I visited there and is still at the top of my list of most beautiful places I’ve witnessed – breathtaking and nearly impossible to describe.


There are countless places that leave us speechless, and no matter how much ugliness we may face, nature’s beauty has a way of calming us and reassuring us there is splendor and magnificence when we truly seek it.


If we’re fortunate, our lives have been also touched by other people who radiate a beauty that comprises much more than outward appearance. In fact, it’s often their thoughtful, kind, and caring nature that actually transforms the way we perceive their looks. In the same way we can be inspired by nature’s beauty, their support and compassion can lift our spirits and completely change our mood.


The Norm


It is easy to be envious of people who live in spectacular places filled with wonderous grandeur. They are continually barraged with majestic views which vacationers spend lots of time planning and pay hefty amounts of money to have the opportunity to briefly glimpse at their perennially stunning views.


But sometimes, the things that surround us become commonplace and can be quickly deemed as normal, everyday, and lose their luster. It’s hard to imagine someone living in such a place could take such a spectacle for granted, but it is human nature to do so. It’s why a toy that a child has begged us to get for them loses its magic, or a brand-new car we’ve been wanting for years eventually becoming just another means of transportation.


Not only is it human nature for things to become mundane, but our senses can also become numb to sensations as well. I remember someone talking about repairing a damaged sewage line. Shortly after he began digging, the stench was horrific, but the pipe had to be fixed. Eventually, he recalled, the awful smell had dissipated and no longer bothered him. In truth, the stench didn’t decrease, his system gradually became used to it and it no longer bothered him.


The tendency for humans is to take for granted those things we encounter every day. No matter how beautiful – or perhaps disgusting – things are, their significances will likely diminish.


The Practice


I do hope you noticed the words “tendency” and “likely”, in the previous paragraph, are italicized. That’s because it’s not a forgone conclusion nor an inevitable or predictable fact. We can teach ourselves to appreciate the beauty around us whether it is one of nature’s spectacular sights or a compassionate, loving person.


However, because it is an inclination of human nature, it takes a determined effort to change this perspective. If by design we are in essence preprogramed to follow certain patterns, it will take practice and resolve not to succumb to what very well may be a normal behavior. It is up to each one of us to find the method that best suits us.


The first step is taken by resolving to accept this challenge. Acknowledging and being aware that action is required will compel us to make corrective steps. After that, develop a plan on the actions you wish to take. These plans don’t need to be complicated; but without some semblance of a system in place, it will be difficult to remember because for so many years, it was not your default reaction.


To make it a habit, we need frequent “reminders” to help us remember our commitment. For instance, if you wear a wristwatch, try putting it on the other hand. If not a watch, slip a ring on a different finger. Each time you look at either of these pieces of jewelry, it will be a reminder to appreciate something of beauty.


If you happen to be meeting someone who has been an inspiration to you, make certain to express it to them while together. Plan a certain time to call someone and let them know how much their friendship means to you. Whatever way you choose to prompt yourself, the quirkier your system is, the easier it will be to remember.


The End


How many times has your attitude completely reversed for the better after being inspired by nature or a thoughtful person? Admittedly, I am currently thinking really hard to recall times it happened to me. There were moments when I was devastated and a simple pat on the shoulder from someone I admired, swiftly erased the gloom. It’s awesome; it’s difficult to put in words how much it influenced me.


But there’s still one more part to this practice. It’s a final step that is most often overlooked, yet it has no less value than the other practice.


How many times were YOU that inspiration to someone else? Recall the situations when you gave someone a hug, said something inspiring, or were the catalyst that created a transformation for that person. Acknowledge those times when you were key to changing that person’s life.


This is not an arrogant gesture nor a sanctimonious tally, but a silent observance that you are worthy of acknowledgement when you perform a good deed. If we are so eager to thank the one who did it for us, there’s no reason why it can’t be nearly as simple to recognize ourselves.


All personal development requires self-confidence. Otherwise, we may be at risk of losing everything we’ve gained. Confidence is a quiet assurance that no one can take away from us. There is no reason to remain mum about ourselves when we have been an inspiration for others.


My thanks to Jelmer Borst on Unsplash for the beautiful picture of my favorite spot. If you would like some help with your plan for how to enhance your challenge, please feel free to reach out to me in the comments or email me at, john@shamedoctor.com Thank you and I look forward to your comments.