So, what exactly is Loveliness? Why am I pursuing it? And how can I define something that seems to be increasingly going out of fashion along with etiquette and penmanship in this fast-paced, ever evolving world filled with technology, faceless interactions and wireless transactions, where almost everything is on demand…
Dictionaries provide the following enlightenment:
adjective, lovelier, loveliest.
1. Having qualities that inspire love, affection or admiration.
2. Charmingly or exquisitely beautiful: a lovely flower.
3. Having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye, as a person or a face.
4. The qualities in a person or thing that as a whole give pleasure to the senses.
Now this last one makes a lot of sense to me and is perhaps the most poignant. A concept that is hard to describe exactly, but you know it when you see it – much like art (as my dear friend summed up so eloquently!)
This is one of the places it all began for me as a child, falling completely in love with Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. It was one of my mother's favourite movies and we watched it over and over and over again. I loved the songs, the music, the costumes, the houses, the interiors, the sets... Everything about it appealed to me! I suppose, however, I was most transfixed by the notion that - despite being labelled a 'guttersnipe' at the beginning of the movie -, by studying the arts of speech, conversation, etiquette and personal styling, Eliza Doolittle succeeds in transforming herself into a truly lovely lady. She has a tempestuous start, but with perseverance, dedication and the unwavering ambition of improving her position in life, she surpasses all expectations in the end.
To me personally, Loveliness equals happiness. Some may find this a trivial concept, but it was this realisation that became the founding thought for my blog. It was the common thread that was clearly weaving its way through the multitude of different things I am passionate about in life. Suddenly, it became obvious what I wanted to build something around…
So, I ask myself again, what actually is Loveliness? Well to start with, it is more than just outer visual beauty - someone can be beautiful, stunning, picture perfect even, but be far from lovely. Loveliness is much more of an inner beauty that shines out, regardless of age, size, race, background and financial stability – indeed you can often witness it in the unlikeliest of places.
Loveliness is being a kind & thoughtful person, thinking of others and helping without needing to be asked. Seeing the best in people, assisting those less fortunate, appreciating our blessings but not bragging. It is gracious winning and graceful losing. Celebrating success but also letting our losses teach us something instead of making us bitter or resentful. Loveliness is being graceful in general. It is seeing the best in a situation and consciously choosing to stay positive, to find a pleasing solution. Bringing a friend a meal when they are struggling, sending a card in the mail or an article that made you think of them, reminding someone of their good qualities when they have perhaps forgotten, giving encouragement, letting friends and family know when and what you appreciate about them ... Or sometimes just saying nothing, as hard as it may be, if that is what's best.
Loveliness also comes from a self confidence of accepting who you are, being happy in your own skin and choosing to make the best of what you've been given. That in itself is a long hard lesson to learn...
Being surrounded by lovely things makes me happy, but these items are often not necessarily the ones that cost the most – something a child has lovingly made, a gift from a dear friend, a surprising treasure found at a market or during travels. For me, making an effort to create a lovely home is not simply for the aesthetic appeal, but more so to create a space in which friends and family feel welcome, supported and nourished on all levels. Somewhere they enjoy coming and leave feeling happy, loved & energised.
Choosing Loveliness also means teaching our children lovely qualities and how great it feels to be kind, gentle, patient, respectful and loving towards each other and people around them, trying as much as possible to lead by example...
Knowing I'm in pursuit of Loveliness makes me consciously behave better, feel happy and grateful and inspires me to be the type of mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend etc that I want to be. It also reminds me to not always be so hard on myself and allow myself to occasionally take the time for those small simple pleasures.
Appreciating the minutiae of everyday life, being grateful for what we already have and acknowledging the wonderful things all around us is a process we should work on every day. The more that we actively choose to lovingly take in and appreciate, the more our inner gratitude reflects out as loveliness. It's a process, something that evolves over time - hence I'm in pursuit (and some days do go horribly wrong!). Small conscious changes become habits, consistent behaviour develops into character and the more we accept ourselves lovingly, the easier it is to see the effect we have on others around us.
Simply put, I believe Loveliness is having a heart filled with love. So, view the world and people around you with love, spread love wherever you go, embrace the art of penmanship and perform random acts of kindness when you can - this will bring joy, create happiness and you will indeed be lovely!
Wishing you much love in your pursuit,
Love Holly x