This seems to be a nice way of restating the phrase
"beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
Emerson said in "Self-Reliance" that we can
dream of Naples and how beautiful it will be, but then
we'll pack our bags and go there, only to find that we're
there with our same selves. And if that self always
looks for beauty elsewhere, then guess what?
Carrying beauty within us is having the ability to see, to
appreciate, and to love beauty when it's in front of us.
I'm constantly amazed at the things that people don't find
beautiful, or that they even find ugly or unpleasant--or
even just ordinary. I've seen things that I've
thought were extraordinary, only to hear someone else say
how awful they were. I don't know exactly what the
differences were in how we saw the things, but I believe
that Emerson was on to something very important in
life--we have to train ourselves to recognize the
beautiful in all the things that we see if we're going to
recognize and appreciate just how amazing this world of
For if our world isn't amazing, then it becomes ordinary
and drab. If we find things in our own world
starting to become ugly, then we have to realize that the
ugliness isn't in the things, it's in the ways that we see
those things. The ugliness comes from inside us, not
from the thing itself. And that's something that we
can learn to change.
Yes, there are some awfully ugly things in the
world--things like violence and prejudice and
hatred. And we should see them for just what they
are. But if we really want to get in touch with the
beauty in the world, then we need to recognize that much
of the beauty depends upon us to see it. We
shouldn't spend so much time looking in other places for
something that we already have right at home.