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“She’s just soooooo pretty.”

I heard my friend’s confidence crippling, threatened by a new girl hanging out with a guy she was seeing.

It broke my heart. I cringed as I tried to come up with the right words to text.

For starters, there are so many brilliant and beautiful people in the world, it’s not just looks that set a guy or gal in stone with a romantic interest.

But that’s not what matters. It wasn’t really about the guy. Self-esteem comes from within. So I answered wholeheartedly and honestly:

“So are you.”

A babe gorgeous inside and out, all I could say was that who cares if the other girl is really pretty. She is a beautiful woman, and so is my friend. - 10 thoughts on beauty standards

We’re all beautiful.

Somewhere along the lines of being polite, Photoshop, and our natural need to categorize the world to better understand ourselves, women

[and men] stopped taking compliments and created odd beauty standards instead.

We’ve all been there. We’ve compared ourselves to our peers, our opponents, our siblings, our present and past selves. We’ve not only compared ourselves to strangers, but superficial ideas of people who have been edited for television, social media, and magazines.

Travel has taught me to see the beauty in our differences. - 10 thoughts on beauty standards

So… Here are some thoughts for the thirteen year old I met in Abu Dhabi, for the sixteen year old who asked me to help her win a study abroad scholarship, for my girl friends hitting fabulous forty, for the confident women of all ages and sizes letting it alllll hang out in body paint at Fantasy Fest, for the insecure twenty five year old blonde with long legs, and for the elementary Dominican girls I met that were fascinated with my features and pet my smooth hair that’s not much different than their own afro-curls:

I’m pretty, and so are you. - 10 thoughts on beauty standards

Cheers to my friends, American (HoneyTrek Blog), Polish (Aj Trela), Canadian (Taylor Burk), myself Mexican, and the beautiful Dominican kids we met!

And since we’re human and some days it’s easier to love others rather than ourselves, I encourage you to think of the following or pass it along to a friend who is having a bad day.

1. Beauty is subjective. Lots of people think you’re beautiful no matter what you look like.

2. It doesn’t matter how many people think you are beautiful if you don’t think it first.

3. You should feel beautiful because no matter how many mistakes we make, how our bodies change, and how terrible other people can be — we are beautiful if we choose to be.

4. Some people say beauty fades. They’re wrong. Beauty is eternal. Perhaps our skin, hair and shape will morph — but that has no effect on our true beauty.

5. Beautiful is your passion for life. It’s the happiness you bring to yourself that overflows into the lives of others, making them happier and better people too.

6. Being and feeling beautiful is a choice. It’s so easy to love nine things about ourselves but focus only on the one thing we dislike. Everyone feels crappy sometimes, but we choose to keep or change the people, habits, and priorities that make us happy and beautiful.

7. Beauty is not defined by whether you love or hate makeup, cosmetic trends, high heels/running shoes, or both. You can totally be into or not into certain styles and it has nothing to do with how beautiful you are.

8. Take the compliment, but try to compliment younger boys and girls on how lovely they are for their character instead of how pretty their eyes are, how cute their smile is, or how well they are dressed.

I know, it’s hard — all kids are so freakin’ cute.

9. Think about what makes you feel beautiful, and do those things more often.

I love matching with my mom and doing things together. I realized that it wasn’t the fun in dollin’ up together that made me feel pretty, but that I was doing something with someone I love — and particularly, doing something that makes her happy. Bringing happiness to the people I love is what makes me feel pretty.

10. What makes you feel pretty? Rather than striving for some else’s ideal, take responsibility to define what being pretty means to you. Because you are more than pretty, you are beautiful. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel short of that —especially yourself.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Because you are more than pretty, you are beautiful.” quote=”Because you are more than pretty, you are beautiful.”]


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