Today's blog is part of the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2016. The blogfest is a fun, inspiring, and empowering event and I hope all my readers will stop by today or sometime this week to participate—there are valuable prizes galore, including a free manuscript evaluation from Jenny Redbug! Here is a link to the fest page: BOAW 2016
Last year, I posted a piece about the Language of Beauty, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so many comments on a blog post. I wrote about how much our society focuses on the external beauty of women, and how there’s so much more than appearance to every female human out there. Everyone applauded the idea of using words besides “beautiful,” “pretty,” and “lovely” to describe other women, and especially young girls.
Well, I’ve been working on it—trying to find other ways to express my love and support for my women friends, rather than buying into praising their “surface” appeal. On social media, I try to find more meaningful words to applaud their newest profile pic (“this photo of you really sparkles”), or the post about their weight loss (“you’re looking strong and healthy!”) or a new hairdo (“you’re so bold!”).
It’s been more than a social experiment for me—it has been a wonderful shift in my whole outlook on life. Words are powerful, and how we label what we see every day, people included, has a profound impact on how we think and feel about the world and ourselves.
Like most women my age (I’ll be 55 this month), I have spent my life defining men as strong, smart, and brave—women tend to get labeled as beautiful, or nowadays “hot” (or not). In trying to be aware of my words, and their real meaning, I find I’m much less likely to judge another’s looks, style, or body.
Now, when I watch TV or scroll through social media posts, I try to look beyond a woman’s (or man’s) obvious appeal, and see what I can find out about them as a human being. Are they upbeat or low—could they use a boost? Are they involved in causes I can help shed light on? Are they creating any kind of art they’d like to hear my feedback on? Are they working on their physical strength in any way, like walking or doing yoga? Praise for action speaks louder than praise for something you were born with, like good genes.
Naturally, this has affected my own “self-talk,” too. When I’m assessing my reflection in the mirror, I find myself thinking words like “strong,” “cheery,” and “energized,” rather than using all those tired comparisons to past reflections that cause me to focus on “imperfections” like wrinkles, sags, and bulges. After all, I don’t want others to see me as simply my physical body, so why should I focus my energy on it?
True beauty is so much more than smooth clear skin or shapely curves—it is attitude, courage, intelligence, and compassion. It is not just loveliness, but loving kindness. Inner beauty comes from a willingness to engage with the world; the generosity to reach out a hand to those in need, and to help those we interact with to see and achieve their best potential; and the ability to get back up when the world knocks us down. Using this criteria, rather than a bogus BMI, or a scale of 1 to 10, every one of the amazing women in my life is a real beauty.
I hope you enjoy the blogfest...and that you celebrate your beauty today and every day...
I love the idea of really seeing the person or the picture and searching for other words to use... I think I will try that as well! Thank youReplyDelete
We are all in this together, Kimberly. Glad you'll be working on this, too!Delete
What awesome work you've been doing! I love that you've made efforts to shift your lingo, and shared the takeaways on behalf of BOAW.ReplyDelete
I have a hefty stash of old scripts and audition notes from my acting days, and have been blown away by the descriptors. Men are described by primarily by character, whereas women are described by looks. Given our shared industry history, I bet you can relate!
Thanks so much for the thought-provoking entry, and again for the incredible grand prize!
My pleasure, August. You are right about the description words in scripts, I can definitely relate.Delete
This is a great post. And even though I was numerous times told to be beautiful, for some reason I still find it easier to believe if something bad is said about me than something good... LOL But thanks for this positive post!ReplyDelete
So true, Aurora. We have to work on keeping our self talk positive. It gets easier, like anything, with practice!Delete
My idea of beauty feels so radically different from the media's pronouncement of what is beautiful (and thus, desirable). A strong body. A unique look. An eclectic fashion sense. A fighting spirit. Open arms and easy laughter. These are the people I want around me, the beauty I want to surround myself with. Maybe that's why I'm never as attracted to "pretty boys" - I don't recognize them as beautiful.ReplyDelete
So true, Gayle. I love this: "Open arms and easy laughter"... Which, coincidentally, is how I could describe you, beautiful lady! (And I agree about pretty boys; I like strong, gentle, loving men...and women.)Delete
I couldn't agree more. Beauty to me is loving and treating others as one would themselves. I tell the younger girls in my life real happiness comes when happiness is found within... and when not actively looking for it. It's impossible for ones inner beauty to not shine through when we reach happiness within and share it with the world. Great post!ReplyDelete
Excellent comment--so true!Delete
Wonderful words, thank you!ReplyDelete
Thanks for reading!Delete
Words of wisdom all through this post, Jenny. This is my favorite: "--it is attitude, courage, intelligence, and compassion. It is not just loveliness, but loving kindness." I totally agree!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Lyn! Easy to recognize in others, now we begin to work on seeing our own beauty, right?Delete
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