I was feeling kind of down yesterday after learning that my friend was sick and couldn’t hang out. Even though I was ecstatically happy only a few hours earlier, I found myself just laying on my bed, groggily staring at the wall. Even though my external circumstances are basically perfect, I still somehow wound up in a bad mood.
One thing that usually makes me feel better is taking photos of beautiful things around me – especially macro shots. I’ll never get tired of looking at the toys on my window sill. They are the most beautiful objects in the world. So, I picked up my camera (which magically fixed itself, hooray!) and started snapping some pictures.
Photography is a great way to feel better because it allows you to create something beautiful without a whole lot of effort, while simultaneously appreciating what’s around you.
Do you ever wonder why things tend to look more beautiful in photos than they do in reality? I think it’s just because there’s a frame around them. The fact that somebody took a photo of this thing means that there was something that caught their eye about it, and it causes you to look and wonder what it was. Taking photos or looking at photography puts you in the frame of mind of looking for beauty and purpose.
Sure, this exercise is easy if you already have a lot of beautiful things, but this is more an exercise in looking. Even a pile of dust can look beautiful if you look at it in the right way. Imagine that every speck of dust is there for a reason, arranged expertly by an artist. What kind of look or mood were they going for? Where did all of the atoms come from? In fact, a good challenge might be to make the most dull or ugly seeming objects look beautiful through photography.
If you took a photo of a pile of garbage, someone looking at it would probably wonder the same things. As soon as you ask “Why is this beautiful?” your brain will start to conjure up the answers. It might take a bit of practice to get rolling.
Likewise, your attitude can cause a beautiful object to look dull, boring, or ugly. It’s all in how you choose to perceive things.
By the end of my photo taking session, I had managed to raise my emotional level from disappointment to somewhere around boredom/contentment. After that, I still didn’t feel like doing much so I made some popcorn and watched a movie with my dad. Even though I wasn’t bouncing around with joy, it was still a marked improvement from laying on my bed feeling sorry for myself for no reason.
It started with a deliberate choice to feel better, and then giving myself permission to do whatever I wanted in order to get there. I’m going to keep discovering and practicing ways to work up the emotional scale.
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