*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.
Ten Ok, Seven Things That Beautiful Is....
(and I sure don't claim to have mastered these yet!)
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. :)
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.
In order to be truly beautiful, you must first be kind.
Care about others.
Show active interest in others.
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.
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.
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.
You don't even have to go to college to be an educated, intelligent individual.
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. :)