“There I was, sitting at my computer while my dogs fought over the same toy right under my feet, hair in a messy bun, drinking my venti vanilla iced coffee, listening to ‘Most Girls,’ and typing a comment on a friend’s Facebook post. ‘You are so P-R-E-T…’ when I realized I was part of the problem.
DELETE. DELETE. DELETE.
When did I start believing that telling a woman she was pretty was the best compliment I could give her in the whole world?
When did I start seeing women for simply how they looked?
When did I think saying they are pretty would make them more confident?
Did I want to be pretty?
Did I want to be hot, beautiful, or gorgeous?
Did I become more confident when someone told me how pretty I was?
11-year-old me wanted to be smart. Smart enough to become a doctor like the one in the movie, Patch Adams.
19-year-old me wanted to confident. Confident enough to speak up in classes instead of terrified of public speaking.
25-year-old me wanted to be inspiring. Inspiring women all over the world to find true self-love.
30-year-old me wanted to be successful. Financially successful enough to GIVE without looking at my bank account to organizations that empower girls all over the world.
32-year-old me wanted to be brave. Brave enough to move across the country leaving behind family and friends to pursue new opportunities.
Come to think of it, I don’t ever remember sitting down on New Year’s Day setting goals stating, ‘This year I’m going to be PRETTY!’
You know what mom and dad, My LIFE goal is to be BEAUTIFUL!
Just like you, I LOVE to feel good. I LOVE to look my best. But, being pretty or gorgeous has never been at the top of my priority list in my adult life. Now, when I was 14, that might have been a different story, but that was high school for ya.
But, MOST women DO want to be happy.
We DO want financial freedom.
We DO want to be confident.
We DO want to be awesome moms, daughters, and girlfriends.
We DO want to be successful.
We DO want to be healthy.
We DO want to be kind and caring.
We DO want to be brave and energetic.
We DO want to be passionate and excited.
We DO want to be fun and nice humans.
So, when did it become better to tell a woman she’s pretty than to tell her she’s an awesome mom, an inspiring business owner, or an amazing friend we are grateful to have?
When did it become better to leave her a comment with fire flame emojis on her selfie she posts on Instagram than to tell her how proud we are of her for going after her goals.
At one point, we were little girls dreaming of the day when we would be smart, successful, bold, brave, and strong. We would become doctors and lawyers and presidents.
THEN, the world told us what REALLY matters most for girls…
HOW WE LOOK.
We learned, through other people, what we should be focusing on.
Do we want attention and compliments? BE PRETTY. Not smart or kind. Just PRETTY.
How can we be CONFIDENT in who we are, what we do, and what we accomplish, if we are told all that truly matters is how we LOOK?
And sister, I get it, you are trying to help.
We live in a world where most women HATE their bodies (gosh, that makes me cringe thinking about it).
We THINK by telling women how beautiful and gorgeous they are, they will gain confidence and start loving their bodies.
By giving appearance-based compliments it does two things:
It tells her what’s most important: her appearance. Not what she thinks, says, or does, but how she looks.
It encourages her to keep thinking about her body instead of all the things that are most important to her.
News flash, how she looks isn’t typically in her top 3 priorities. And you know what happens when she focuses more on her body? It keeps her in her place and keeps everyone else comfortable. It takes up her time, energy, and resources she could be using to change the world, demand equal pay, and pursue her passions and purpose.
You mean well. I meant well when I started typing the comment ‘You are so P-R-E-T…’ We all mean well.
But, let’s not just MEAN well, let’s DO well! We preach ‘female empowerment’ and ‘babes support babes,’ but instead of posting the cute quotes on social media, how about we actually take action? Starting today:
We talk to HER about what’s REALLY IMPORTANT to her.
We celebrate her WINS that have NOTHING to do with her appearance.
We encourage her to be brave, bold, and pursue her dreams.
We recognize her strength and courage.
We tell her how inspiring, smart, and talented she is.
What she DOES is more important than how she LOOKS. Let’s use our compliments to remind her! Not that she’s NOT pretty, but because she’s SO MUCH MORE! We need her focused on all the things she believed she was until the world told her differently!
DELETE. DELETE. DELETE.
‘I can see the passion in your eyes, and I hope you know how inspiring you are! Keep going, sister!’
And in that second, I decided with a few words typed on my keyword, I could become part of the solution to the problem, and so can you!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Danielle Hogle. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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