October 19, 2010

List of Ten Tuesday! Beautiful is......

Another week has come and gone, and it's that time again! Time for.... 



*For you bloggers who have come on board recently (and, of course, if you've been on board since the start!), I invite you to make your very own List of Ten today! Feel free to use the fun cupcake picture, and link to your post in the comments below!  If you want to read more about the rules for List of Ten Tuesday, click here or here!  But in summary?  There are NO rules.  :)

I was going to go a certain direction with my list this week, but earlier today, as I was digging through my old "memory box" and perusing some of my old writings, I found something that threw a wrench in my whole plan.  

It was THIS poem, written at age 11 (by me):

 
Which reads (and I changed the last name cause I don't need any weirdos looking me up):

"No one will ever like me!"
Said Jenni Doe one day
When my hair finally does look right
For certain it won't stay that way!

My glasses take  up half my face
My pimples own the other space
My bangs do never stay in place
"No one will ever like me!"

One ear is bigger than the other
"You're beautiful!" says lying mother
I know I'm not,
It's clear to spot,
"No one will ever like me!"

BAHHHHhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!  I was almost in tears when I found this poem.  HuuuuuhhhLARIOUS!!!!  The piece is dated May 23, 1998 - I was eleven, and clearly had some self-image issues. 

But when I really think honestly about it, I realize that me and that 11-year-old girl still have a lot in common. I may have contacts now, the pimples have calmed down considerably, and I've learned to manage my hair and accept my ear situation, BUT, and this is a big but: sometimes I still feel like that same, crazy-insecure girl.  Sure I feel attractive with a full face of makeup, a stylish outfit on, and a miracle-performing push-up bra, but when I'm stripped of all that?  Often all I see are imperfections.  Often all I feel is inadequate.  Even though I'm married (so clearly someone likes me!) and my husband makes it obvious that he adores me, I still sometimes wonder if maybe he compares me to other women whom I'd never measure up to.  But mainly I think it's just me comparing me to them.

And really?  It's ridiculous. 

But unfortunately, us girls are subjected to messages all. day. long. about what beautiful is, about what constitutes perfection, and, subliminally, about how we are inadequate.   

And it's unacceptable.

Certainly, movie stars, models, and entertainers are often beautiful.  They tend to represent society's (current) standard for beauty and perfection, and naturally so.  People are fascinated by beauty, by symmetry, by striking features. 

(Leave it to Victoria's Secret to make us all feel like dogs)

But at the end of the day, you have to be able to realize that what you see on those gorgeous models and perfect movie stars and amazing entertainers is only outward beauty - magnified by a slew of professionals and validated by our collective culture.  In the real world?  A lot more constitutes being truly beautiful - on the outside, sure, but more importantly, on the inside.  And interestingly, inner beauty always translates into outward beauty.  But the reverse is almost never the case. 

So without further adieu, I give you my list. 

Of Ten Ok, Seven Things That Beautiful Is.... 
(and I sure don't claim to have mastered these yet!)

Beautiful Is...

1. A Smile



Smiling may be the single most important thing you can do to be more beautiful.  Not only that, smiling is a way to communicate non-verbally.  It's a way to put people at ease around you, to set a mood, to put forth positive energy into the universe (then watch as it comes back to you in unexpected ways). 

While in high school and college, I supported myself by waiting tables.  I'll never forget one day I was at work and a woman came up to me when she was leaving the restaurant and said "my son (who she had been eating with) thinks your very beautiful, but you should really smile more!" 

I wanted to say she can tell her son to F off cause I smile ALL the time, but I probably just mumbled something like "oh, thanks, I'll work on that."  The truth was that I was just concentrating really hard since we were busy, and I hadn't had much reason to smile during the maybe 45 minutes the woman and her son were there.  But I never forgot what she said.  And I DID make a point to smile more.  You just never know who might be watching you!

So don't be a sour puss.  SMILE!!! 
At the cab driver, at the grocery story clerk, at a random stranger walking past you on the street.  Just smile. :)

Beautiful Is...

2.  Confidence
A confident woman (or man) is 10 times more attractive than one who is not.  The first step to feeling and being beautiful is feeling and being confident.  The only one who needs to be convinced you're beautiful is you.  Once you start acting and feeling the part, the attention you get from your spouse, your friends, even strangers, will astound you!



Please advise: confidence and cockiness are two different things.  Don't be obnoxious.

Beautiful is...

3.  Kindness
In order to be truly beautiful, you must first be kind.
Care about others. 
Show active interest in others. 
Listen. 
Cry with someone. 
Never stop scheming up ways to make others feel happy and special. 
Send text messages or emails for no reason.
Give of yourself. 
Pay compliments to stangers and friends alike. 
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, or if you want to take it a step further, do unto others as THEY would have you do unto to them.  This requires a little more thinking and emotional intelligence.



Beautiful is...

4. Taking Care of Yourself

Notice I didn't say killing yourself at the gym in order to achieve a perfect 10 body and satisfy someone somewhere's ideal for physical fitness. 
Just take care of yourself.  If you feel unhealthy, maybe you are.  Do your best to pinpoint your weaknesses and your unhealthy habits, and then do your best to address them, whatever that means for you. 
Exercise when you can. 
Eat healthy as often as possible (it may always be a struggle).
 Paint your toenails. 
Wear pretty smelling lotion to bed. 
Just take care of yourself.

Beautiful is...

5. Modesty
Yes, modesty. 
Somewhere along the line women must have fallen for the lie that the tighter your clothing and the more skin you show,  the more beautiful you are.  That is simply not the case.  Leave something to the imagination, ladies. 
The way you present yourself is directly proportional to the type of attention you will receive. 
I assure you, there is a happy medium somewhere between burka-wearing and shorts so short we can actually see the bottom of your asscheeks.
Be classy.  It shows pride.

Beautiful is...

6. Education
You don't even have to go to college to be an educated, intelligent individual. 
Read books.
Watch the news.
Learn about cultures other than your own.
Have an open mind.
You don't have to be a geeky academic type to be educated and have a beautiful mind.  Don't be the type whose beauty flies out the window as soon as she opens her mouth.  ;)

 
And finally, beautiful is...

7. Having Character
You don't hear much about "character" anymore.
Other names character goes by?
Integrity, virtue, honor.
Basically, having character involves just being a nice person. 
Don't be a liar.  Don't be fake.  Don't be mean-spirited. Don't be passive aggressive. (women NEVER are, right?)
We ALL make mistakes from time to time, but having character involves owning up to those mistakes and being (wo)man enough to make a wrong situation right.

Anyone want to elaborate on this list?   What do YOU think beautiful is?  What is my list missing?

Have a beautiful Tuesday. :)
J

60 comments:

  1. What a wonderful list :) I love your little poem...I know I felt like that when I was younger too! I believe that smiling makes everyone more beautiful too :)

    Have a great day!

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  2. LOVE this list! You nailed it. And dear friend... YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Really I am in love with this post. I wish all woman would believe in inner beauty. I just remember going through high school and part of college an insecure mess...no matter what people told me.

    <333

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  3. Jenni... Your poem makes me so sad. You know in 9th grade everyone thought you were the most gorgeous person. Just thought I would let you know. I think I even tried to cut my bangs like you and it turned into disaster. haha

    I love the list and its important girls understand true beauty because they are saturated with skin deep beauty 24/7. I always enjoy reading your thoughts, thank you for this one.

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  4. Very, very, very...(did I say "very"?) GOOD. I LOVED this! It should be printed and passed out to all young (and older) girls everywhere!! Super duper!

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  5. I loved your eleven year old poem. I thought I could have written something similar around the same age too. Isn't eleven to fourteen like the weirdest most awkward physical years EVER?

    I loved your list too. Especially the taking care of yourself part. SO TRUE! (o:

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  6. I am so glad I found your blog! I love your lists. This one in particular hit home...I could have written the same poem at 11 years old....although I was 20 in 1998...LOL! Self confidence is a journey, and I have come a long way, but it's nice to get little reminders of what is really important along the way!

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  7. What a wonderful post!!! So true! It makes me think of Operation Beautiful! We all need to come together, as women, and know that we are ALL beautiful! Thanks for sharing it!

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  8. This was such a great post, and in light of everything that's been going on in the past month re: bullying and intolerance, it makes it even better.

    Beauty is graciousness and tolerance and openness and humor :)

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  9. This post was actually just what I needed to read today. You are completely right about everything that beauty is. I think most times we are our biggest critics, and it's hard when the media portrays beauty as something that it really is not. I'm saving this post to my favorites so I can look back when I'm not feeling so beautiful!!

    P.S. You are gorgeous!!

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  10. Jenni, I love this list!! What a great post

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  11. Good post! I think you're beautiful if that helps at all!

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  12. I love this list! So true and it is really something that I need to remember, so thank you for the reminders, just what I needed!!

    XOXO

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  13. Awesome post! I LOVE this! Thank you!

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  14. Great list! Thanks for all the reminders. It is important to focus on all these things that lead from inner beauty to outer beauty!

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  15. I love your answers! THis is so fun! I need to link up sometime! :)

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  16. this is such a beautiful post! thanks for all the great reminders for daily life!! love your blog!!!

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  17. OMG, your poem had me cracking up!!! What a goob! Ha!

    And your list of what is beautiful ... I don't think I could have said it any better! Love, Love, LOOOVE it!!! :) Thank you for sharing and being so honest and open!

    Sometimes we get so caught up in everyday life with jealousy, bitterness and all that confidence, our smiles, our character, etc are shattered.

    Damn you Victoria Secret models.

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  18. beautiful is... this post & your words! This is great! I always found being humble, confident, & smiling make me few beautiful!

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  19. this list is right on! a geniuene smile is so beautiful! oh...and i'm new to your blog today...so i wanted to say Hi! :)

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  20. What a cute little poem! Love.

    I think these are great - I especially like "character" - you're right, it's sorely underused.

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  21. Thanks for this - needed it today after I tried on half the clothes in my closet and nothing fit :) (Yes, I know I'm pregnant, but gaining weight is still not fun!)

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  22. I love this list and I think you hit it spot on :)

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  23. I love this list! What a great reminder for us girls to hear. All too often we are WAY too hard on ourselves!

    Have a great day! :]
    Katie

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  24. that list was perfection. thankyouuu for posting. i loved everything about it. you miss, are beyond beautiful inside & out.

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  25. first off, you're gorgeous!!! second, this was a fab post to read, thanks for the reminders :) i love the smiling story!

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  26. THANK YOu! for that reminder that we need to accept who we are...and guess what? Our Creator thinks we are beautiful! I love this quote "Modesty is humility expressed in clothing." Modesty IS beautiful.

    for the record, the first time I came over to your blog and saw your photos I was like, "dang, she's gorgeous" =)

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  27. The world needs more people who think like you! Beauty truly is kindness, I think that one is my favorite. Thanks for spreading your positivity!

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  28. Beautiful post! I couldn't agree more. I feel like I've left that all behind me - the insecurities, etc. - but then I realize I'm not all that different from the little girl I was.

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  29. very encouraging and yes, beautiful, post! that poem is too cute and is a glimpse into all female's young brains at the ripe old age of 11. too funny!! great post today!

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  30. This is an awesome post...great to read!

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  31. What an amazing post that truly made me... smile !!
    I couldn;t agree more with what you think is beauty, and have felt the same way on many an occasion....
    That poem is adorable
    xoxo
    www.joiedevivre-chiara.blogspot.com

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  32. i absolutely dig this post more than you will ever know! such a great post!

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  33. love your poem...i think every adolescent girl goes through the same exact thing around that age! such a great post!!

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  34. I have several things to say.

    First. Every time I see that cupcake I want to lick my screen. I mean, my poor pregnant self really needs that cupcake right now.

    Second. Dude. You were 11 in 1998? I was a sophomore in college. I'm feeling SOOOO old right now. *sigh*

    Third. If a man who looked like yours was in love with me? I'd be all "I'm the hottest chick on the planet and everyone else can go suck it".

    Fourth. Wait until your thirties and a few kids. You'll be so comfortable with yourself and your body the insecurities of your twenties will seem a distant echo. I felt exactly the same way way at one point. Now? I'm so happy if I can squish my postpartum tummy down into a pair of jeans. Without elastic.

    (I just can't get over my yearning for that cupcake.)

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  35. Great Post! Very inspirational and honest.

    PS. I wish I could write a poem that good at the age of 24!

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  36. you have taken it upon yourself to not only blog, but inspire.

    and you've done it again.

    thank you!

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  37. Hi Jenni!
    I'm sorry! I'm such a bad blog friend!
    I know I should have commented more often, but I've been really sick and haven't spent a lot of time blogging...
    I just wanted to tell you I love your blog and you have an award waiting for you at My New Life as a Housewife!

    Chloe

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  38. Jenni - looove the poem. that kind of stuff always leaves me laughing so hard. haha those teen years - always filled with so much emotions.

    love the list. and i think #8 should have been,
    Beautiful is Jenni (:

    xox

    ask away when you get your camera! how exciting.

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  39. wow your blog is amazing. i enjoyed reading this post... and i liked your list as well (:
    and I will take ur list as advice, I need to get my life back into gear (:

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  40. I don't think the Victoria girls have anything over you - that smile is marvelous!

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  41. What a joy you are to read!

    No matter what our outward appearance is, we deem it to be not good enough. For whom? The outside world of shallowness? Self-esteem seems so hard to come by in the formative years. It's such a shame that nothing changes, generation after generation after millennium.

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  42. Girl you write wonderful posts! I love all whole list but the confidence part touched me :).

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  43. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog
    First off you are stunning girl!!! You radiate beauty!
    Love your list and I agree 100%...we are so hard on ourselves, me included. I'm working on that!!!
    The people I find the most beautiful are those who radiate sincere energy...you know the ones that you feel you can hang with in sweats and t-shirts, have coffee and laugh when the kids are having meltdowns...that is beautiful!

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  44. So glad that you found me...I love this post! The part about confidence is so true!

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  45. oh i totally agree.. beauty is within.
    your smile is so gorgeous by the way! :) love your blog.
    xx.

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  46. Your poem is great for an 11 year old, I loved it! And I know what you mean about sometime still feeling like that little girl, I've come a long way too, but sometimes I look in the mirror, into my eyes, and I still see my awkward frizzy haired 12 year old self staring back at me! But, the secret to happiness is loving ourselves!
    :-)

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  47. Haha aw, that poem is so cute! I completely agree with everything you said in this post. The beauty standard is really disturbing to me, considering that NOBODY looks like the photoshopped manipulations in real life, not even the super models. I think such a damaging obsession with beauty is already catching up with society. Women need to band together and set a different standard!

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  48. I just stumbled across your blog and I HAD to comment. What a fabulous post!

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  49. Found your blog from Aly at Analyze This. Love love love this post!!

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  50. Jenni, you are amazing! I love this post, so honest, and so spot-on. I needed this today! Sometimes I feel so out of place because I strive so hard to be a good person and not get so caught up in the crazy ways of the majority of our generation and today's society. It scares me to think about what it will be like 20 years from now when/if I have kids who are trying to be teens in the world. I need to remember your list and be kinder to myself!

    (And damn those Victoria's Secret models!)

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  51. There's nothing I can say that others haven't already except I grew up in Austin so LOVE hearing/seeing anything about it. Your blog is just wonderful & your list was so true and great!! Hit all nails right on the head! You're beautiful and a great writer! Love reading yours that I just kind of stumbled onto-thank goodness! Your poem was great for an 11 yr old-so you always had "writing" in your blood!! You had no idea then you were beautiful anyway!! Just like most 11 yr olds feel. So true but with age you do forget about all of those insecurities and concentrate on your children and then you truly don't worry about yourself much. Just always take good care of yourself as you said-and always do your best to put others before yourself and you WILL TRULY be beautiful~!!
    Dee

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  52. Inspiring post...Agree with you on all counts. I recently did a post on forgetting conventional beauty, and this reminded me of that. Us girls need to stop picking apart every little thing about ourselves and realize we are beautiful. I'm coming to grips with that. I'm finally realizing my beauty is in the fact that I am unique, the fact that I am flawed, and quite simply, the fact that I am me :) And yay for that!

    xo,
    Jenna
    http://sevenstylenotes.blogspot.com/

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  53. This is a GREAT list!! I love this! Thank you for sharing! I love your beautiful list!

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  54. I love this! I'm your newest follower and think you are very beautiful!
    And what a great list!!!
    Couldn't agree more!!!
    Look forward to reading more about you!

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  55. Another oldie but a goodie. There needs to be more people in the world that express themselves as well as you do, who have such good advice for people. Well done Jenni - you're a brilliant writer and very inspiring. Thank you very much for starting up a blog :-)
    Jas

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  56. This is such a wonderful list Jen! I better share this to my friends! :) Keep making lists <3

    -Mary

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  57. Wow I love your list! It's so true! I think it summarizes beauty very well :)

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Thanks so much for leaving your two cents! I read and appreciate every comment and respond when I can. Thanks for reading. :)

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