Beauty is to be shared!
We were recently blessed with a new member in the family, our second daughter. It has been a while, 7 years actually, since I held a new born baby in my arms. Just the other day she fell asleep on my lap as I was holding her… What a feeling! I could not help but think “She is the most beautiful baby in the whole wide world!”
Have you had a new born child in the family recently? A son or a daughter? A baby brother or sister? A niece or nephew? A grandchild, maybe?
And when you hold her or him in your arms, don’t you feel like it’s the most beautiful baby in the whole wide world? I am sure you do!
But hold on, this can’t be true, screams the mathematician inside of me! If each one of us, holds the most beautiful baby in the whole wide world, this prompts the classical question (from Aesop to Snow-white): which baby is actually the fairest one of them all?
It feels “innocent” when we speak these words:
… you are the cutest baby in the whole world… or
... you are the smartest child in your class… or
… you have the best house in the neighborhood … and so on …
BEWARE! With comparison, comes judgement and with judgment comes isolation. Each baby is cute is her own way. Each child is smart in his own way. Each house is nice in its own way. But when we compare, directly or indirectly, we judge and we build walls. We isolate ourselves and our children from one another.
Once too often my eldest daughter, now 8 years old, tells me that one of her “best friends" just broke up with her. I still recall my early days, when I was that age; how sad and disappointed I felt when I heard these words … “you are not my friend any more”. Now, with the comfort of many years since that time, I may just smile and think it is funny. But come to think about it, we all continue such a behavior as we grow up! And this is not funny at all! Do we stick with our friends as they get better grades at college? Do we keep close to them as they land better jobs, or as they get promoted? Do we keep calling them when they become successful?
When I was a child, I was convinced that I was the smartest and most handsome boy ever! After all, everybody in my family was telling me so (in fact some still do!). Yet time reveals reality in a clear yet cruel way. Over the years, I did not get the best grades in school, did not have the best career, did not make the most money (I am still hoping…) and did not win any beauty contests.
Recently, however, I reconciled (with age comes wisdom) and I realized that I love learning and teaching and helping others. This is the real beauty! Every time we take a step forward towards a meaningful goal, we reveal this beauty. And when we come together, this beauty is shared and it grows exponentially! That’s why I love working with other people, being a mentor or a mentee, a coach or a coachee, a leader or a member, just being part of a team, simply working with others, together. If you think about it, this is why the human species evolved over time. Not because we were the strongest or the fastest, but because we work together.
Positive Psychology, often referred to as “the science of happiness” provides concrete research that supports what are the main habits of the happiest (or the most beautiful inside) people. They:
have wide social networks – an great way to give and take support
are committed to lifelong goals and ambitions – “Everest” goals
offer a helping hand – give to others in a smart way (optimizing results)
are comfortable expressing gratitude – recognizing we all depend on others
imagine their future with optimism – focusing on positivity
So, instead of telling our children they are the prettiest ones, we should help them identify who supports them and prompt them to express gratitude. Instead of telling our children how smart they are, we should encourage them to help others, in a smart way. And instead of admiring our house, we should open the door and let others in. That‘s when our beauty is shared, and it’s our opportunity to make this a better world!
P.S. My daughters in reality are 9 and 16, as I am writing this. I love them both very much and they keep making a better (hu)man out of me.