06 June 2011

In Its Own Way

One of my favorite songs of all time is "Everything Is Beautiful," by Ray Stevens.  Just the title is enough to make me like it, but the lyrics, too, are very positive and life-affirming.  My favorite line of the song is an age-old concept:  "Everything is beautiful in its own way."

What surprises me sometimes is just how often we try not to let things be beautiful in their own ways.  This is especially true of people--we try to get them to conform to our ideas of good and beautiful, not their own.  We tell our children what clothes to wear, we criticize our partners when they dress in ways that we don't think are becoming, and we make jokes about the ways that people look and talk and act.  Is it possible when we do this that we're simply not seeing the beauty that's there within them?  That's my guess--somehow we've grown blind to the beauty that's in all of us and we see only what we perceive as flaws in our mixed-up, judgmental ways.

What good does it do us to criticize others?  Well, other than giving ourselves a false sense of self-righteous control, none.  In fact, if our criticism causes anything to change in someone else's life, then it actually harms us, for it robs the world that we live in of another unique individual and adds to the world another conformist who probably won't give anything new and different to the world because that person no longer sees her or himself as a unique person with unique talents that can be used to make truly unique contributions to our world.

Everything is beautiful in its own way.  That includes you, and that includes me.  So let's you and I act that way today and tomorrow and the next day.  Let's act like truly unique, beautiful people who are on this planet to help to make it a richer, even more beautiful place.  Your gifts truly are fantastic, and sharing them with the world is a beautiful thing to do.

Everything is beautiful in its own way,
Like a starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter day.
Everybody's beautiful in their own way,
Under God's heaven, the world's gonna find the way.

Ray Stevens

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