What Does Beauty Feel Like?

A gorgeous sunset, a magnificent symphony, puppies at play. They strike us as too beautiful for words. What is happening in our emotional system?

These feelings of delight are a mix of love and happiness. Love because the feeling is one of being in harmony, connected in an intimate way to something outside ourselves. Happiness because, well, we feel happy about them. The personal and impersonal blend together when we are struck with beauty in any form.

Appreciation of beauty feels a lot like love in its intensity, but it stays tied to something out there–whatever we are observing–and lasts not much longer than that something endures.

When personal love feels low, seek out beauty to recreate that powerful sensation. Go to an art museum, find a lovely natural spot or do something that evokes the exhilarating sensation that beauty brings. Beauty really is its own reward.


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