Are You Missing Your Home’s Inner Beauty?

I was intrigued by a home decor promotion that filtered through my emails today, because the advertising hook being used to promote this company’s products embraced the heart of the message I was actually addressing as I was writing this blog.

The communication was direct accompanied by photo interpretation – “our souls crave beauty – and when we experience it, there’s a feeling of connection”. Now for sure, I’m paraphrasing – but it’s definitely a point of view that I support.

Where the “sea parts for me” is with advertising and promotion that assumes that beauty can be subjectively labelled as a statement of fact and sold back to consumers as a universal standard to strive for. Quite frankly, I didn’t think what I was looking at was beauty at all…. Oh the photos were eye-catching and the content very “trendy” - but unfortunately I’m simply not seduced by what I often refer to as “cookie cutter” decorating staged for the ultimate “glam” shot. Kind of like the air-brushed models that are meant to convince us that eternal youth should be our life goal. OMG… not another wrinkle! But that doesn’t mean that the photos weren’t worthy of being tagged as beautiful by those who see them differently than I do. Beauty is truly “in the eye of the beholder”...

What I do recognize is that our desire for beauty seems to be a common driving force in our lives… which can only be self-defined based on our values and perceptions, not the least of which is our fundamental yearning for acceptance. And it’s our undeniable need for acceptance that provides the net with which mass merchandising pulls us in, by convincing us of what we “need to be valued”.In today’s world, those messages are coming at us at an unprecedented pace and repeated incessantly (think 24 hour news) until like robots we respond with expectation to what is easily noticed while we unconsciously simply miss the unexpected. In his 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning article, Washington Post Feature Writer Gene Weingarten recounts how more than 1,000 New Yorkers missed recognizing world renowned violinist Joshua Bell while he played his classical 3 million dollar Stradivarius in panhandler in a N.Y. subway – a shocking example of our everyday illusion of attention. Bell’s music beauty was recognized only by seven people who stopped to listen – one who had heard him just previously at Carnegie Hall and two others who were musicians. The rest of the crowd was focused elsewhere and missed the “beauty” altogether.So what’s my point? I think when it comes to our homes – we too are often the victims of the same “illusion of attention”. We have forgotten to connect with our souls by way of our heart because our focus has been misdirected. Instead of looking to what treasures we might already have disguised in old clothes – we rush by our furniture that could be reupholstered; remodelled; and fashionably updated and trade valuable resource based items that have supported us for generations (solid woods; precious metals; fine china), pre-sold on our need for new and often poorly designed, inexpensive and environmentally threatening disposable options. A short trip to the local landfill site will confirm what I’m referring to.What’s most disconcerting though, is that when I ask why, all too often I’m told “I really love my (whatever), but I thought it was “dated”. Well I’m here to tell you that dated is not necessarily synonymous with “ugly”… or “unacceptable”.

A home face-lift doesn’t always call for radical surgery… Sometimes simply looking at what’s undercover with a shift in attention can transform your home interior into a bright new landscape.