Do you tear up while watching the Olympics? Does the sight of a cherry tree in full bloom stop you in your tracks? Does your heart feel full when you watch your children play? Have you ever stood speechless in front of a painting in a museum?
If so, you have the personality trait that experts in Positive Psychology call 'appreciation of beauty and excellence,' a component of the human strength of transcendence. Compared to people who have a low level of this type of appreciation, lovers of beauty and excellence are more likely to report finding joy and meaning in everyday life. They also display a stronger tendency to create deeper, more loving connections with other people.
In this day and age of hipster angst and media drama overload, it can seem almost juvenile to feel true wonder at anything. It's just not cool to be awestruck, and the word "awesome" has been so overused that it has lost its meaning. All the more reason to find beautiful things in every day.
Appreciation of beauty and excellence is a highly individual thing. What inspires me may leave you cold, and vice versa. It's not the object that matters.
What matters is this - being able to have feelings of awe, admiration, or wonder in response to the world around you. It's those feelings, and not what inspires them, that will make you happier and more connected.
Here are some tips for reconnecting with your sense of wonder and awe: