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For my Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, I am writing about how storytellers, writers, parents, teachers (in other words, just about anyone) can reimagine beauty to be more inclusive. That way, people with disabilities, varying body types and racial backgrounds, etc. (in other words, anyone) can feel and be recognized by the world as the beauties they truly are.
Reimagining Beauty – Y is for YES!
My friend Meg suffers from cancer. Thankfully, she will be fine, but to get to that state she must make a dramatic journey through the trials of chemo, invasive surgery, and recuperation.
In spite of her suffering, her outlook is positive, happy, bright, and optimistic. She makes sunshine dim.
You see, each and every step of her journey has been punctuated with a resounding “YES!”
YES! We caught it in time.
YES! My friends and family love me.
YES! I have complaints and fears (who wouldn’t?) but I talk about them so I can clear the decks and bring my YES! on.
YES! I can withstand this.
YES! I have confidence in my doctors.
YES! I will survive.
With all her hardships, she remembers her blessings. She blogs about gratitude on CaringBridge. Though her course of treatment makes daily blogging impossible, she remembers the good and shouts it out in cyberspace.
YES and yowza, she is beautiful.
YES people, as Barbara Fredrickson’s research is now confirming, are more likely to be healthier than their pessimistic counterparts. In their recent reviews of research, both James Clear of the Huffington Post and Emily Esfahani Smith of the Atlantic Monthly agree that optimism yields actual benefits to brain and body. In my view, this suggests that the power of positive thinking is a good and beautiful thing.
There are many ways that people sparkle with the beauty of optimism. When they challenge themselves, try new things, start, take risks, and look for the promise of roses instead of shadows around the next corner, they are doing the YES thing. Maybe they meditate, maybe they write, but whenever they are optimistic and effervescent, they nourish themselves and are inspiring to others.
Say YES! to a more inclusive definition of beauty. Say YES! to people who might not feel beautiful because popular culture defines and proliferates a limited range of images of beauty. Give everyone models of gorgeous optimism in stories, writings, and in what you say.
Say YES! to beautiful, positive thinking so that negative thoughts about beauty can fly away just like Meg’s illness will.
What do you think? Is optimism a beautiful thing?
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