Our apartment lies above a beautiful lake which is simply idyllic to walk around. And, to our right, in the distance, are the majestic Swiss Alps, currently white with snow.
It sounds bliss, right?
Well today, although I know of the beauty that surrounds us, as I see it and appreciate it so regularly, today it's shrouded in fog. Today when I look out our window there is no lake beneath and there are certainly no majestic mountains to admire. All I can see are a few neighbouring houses and one very tall tree.
And today is not a one-off. In the Autumn and Winter months our beautiful valley is often shrouded in cloud and fog. The clouds hang around the lake, refusing to lift all day. There can be days on end when you can't see the beautiful lake below or the majestic mountains in the distance.
So, as today is one of those days, I thought it fitting when this #beautyfullquote from Confucius caught my eye: "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."
When the skies are blue and the sun is shining, when the lake below is glistening and twinkling, and mountains in the distance are standing tall and majestic against the sky, it's impossible not to be grateful for the beauty that surrounds me. Then my eyes can see it.
But when the skies are grey, the fog is thick, the lake disappears from sight and the mountains seem a figment of my imagination, my eyes are unable to physically admire the beauty around me.
All too often we live blinded in a cloud we can neither see through nor beyond.
We can't see or appreciate the beauty that's straight in front of our noses. We're so focused on our perceived imperfections and faults that we forget to stop and spend a few precious minutes looking at ourselves with awe and wonder.
When we were babies we would spend ages just looking at our fingers or our feet. We were perplexed and spellbound by our bodies; how they looked, how they felt, how they moved.
But as we grew a bit older, we started to take little things for granted. We started to assume that everytime we rolled out of bed, our feet and legs would hold us upright. Everytime we needed to open something, a door, a jar, we expected our hands to work effectively. Every time we opened our eyes we expected to see. Our body no longer felt like something unique and magnificent.
And then as we grew older still, we listened to comments made by friends, and even family: "Your clothes are starting to look a bit tight", "Are you really going out looking like that?"
And then we listened to the messages we were receiving from the media: "You have to be skinny to be successful", "You can't have cellulite", "There needs to be a gap between your thighs to be pretty"
And slowly, but surely, the fog started to come down and envelope our bodies, envelope our perception, until we struggled to see the beauty that we once admired and looked at in awe.
But our natural beauty is still there. It has never disappeared. All we need to do is lift the fog that's distorting our vision. We need to look for the little rays of sunshine trying to burst through the fog. As we discover one glimmer of sunshine, another appears and with some time and dedication the fog will have been burned away.
Self-love is not something that happens overnight. We've been carrying ugly baggage around with us for years, most of it not our own but the beliefs and perspectives from others that we've started wearing like part of our clothing. So to expect to suddenly fall back in love with yourself, is (in all probability) not something that's going to happen suddenly.
But can you imagine if, by incorporating a self-care routine into your daily routine, that every day you took one step closer to self-love, that every day you discovered a glimmer of sunshine peaking through the thick fog? Can you imagine that, before you get even close to unveiling a clear blue sky, rays of sun already begin to shine through and highlight the beauty that you'd forgotten you had? Can you imagine how that would feel?
Don't focus on how thick the fog is today or how heavy it feels. Focus on that tiny ray of sunshine trying to peak through. Focus on how that ray will open a small gap in the fog and shine gently through. By focusing on the little glimmers you'll feel more encouraged to take small consistent steps towards self-love, until you can see the blue sky and the beauty that has always been you, as the fog is lifted.