Searching for something beautiful.
As the hands-on owner of Stonehurst Place, I spend a lot of time online looking at photography of other inns and hotels, of art and of travel ideas for interesting and exciting places I want to experience. I’m constantly in search of something beautiful we can adapt in our new Carriage House design, or an addition to our guest experience that will make Stonehurst Place stays just that much more closer to perfect. One of recent my stumble-upons is this inspiring video about the effects of telling people they’re beautiful. Many feel good videos gone viral over the years are really just advertisements, promoted by Dove or other beauty companies. Yet the creator of this video, high school art student Shea Glover, invented a heart-warming social experiment. She asked students and teachers, some strangers, some friends, whether she could take their picture. Once they agreed, she started the camera and explained to them that her art project was to take a picture of something beautiful. “What?” one student asks, confused; “Oh no,” another one moans, hiding her face; “Oh thank you Shea! I’m so flattered,” a third one laughs, his smile bringing an even bigger one to my face as I watch.
I am not alone in my admiration of the video; it has racked up 9 million views on YouTube and spawned the hashtag #breathebeauty. It’s definitely a success. I don’t just admire its honest and crucial message about kindness and beauty. I love little details in the video, too, like the variety of beauty in the artist’s subjects; their clothing, hair styles and even their chipped nail polish, and the way Glover lifts their spirits in one generous moment. For women in the video, who may fall short in comparison to societal versions of beauty, it’s heart warming that their reaction to the compliment is palpable.
The video was shot in a downtown Chicago Public high school. The diverse student body reacts to the artists in a variety of different ways, all of them genuine. Moreover, for each student, this event seems to have made their day, or maybe even their month or year. Most of us are rarely appreciated for our natural beauty. We accept that everyone has their own look, but if they are close to us and part of our day to day life we can easily take their beauty for granted.
I re-watch this video because it makes me feel good; it reminds me that beauty is everywhere. It’s easy to forget that the well-worn paths we tread every day are imbued with beauty we’ve become blind to. Sometimes I even forget how beautiful Stonehurst Place is, I’m so used to it.