Some Helping is Easy

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When I was in high school, my dear friend Emily would address me by saying, “Hey, beautiful!” It always unnerved me back then, though I would never have been able to articulate why. With my 20-20 hindsight, however, I can quite easily tell you why: I didn’t believe I was beautiful.

I never mentioned this to Emily, of course, because sheesh, how rude would THAT be. And so she kept doing it. And so I kept cringing. But eventually the cringing lessened, and then subsided completely. And I still don’t quite believe that I’m beautiful. Not most days. But what I DO believe is that Emily thinks I’m beautiful. I believe that every day, and it is meaningful and helpful and a generous gift for her to have given me.

I’ve adopted this practice as my own. It is a subtle but consistent way to remind the women in my life that dammit, I think they’re gorgeous. Even if they don’t believe that they’re gorgeous.

Helping women recognize and accept their own beauty has become an important goal to me, and it’s a daunting one. But some helping is easy. I may not be able to reprogram the fashion industry to want a variety of body shapes on the runway, or convince clothing manufacturers that plus-sized women deserve to shop in brick-and-mortar shops alongside their straight-sized friends, or keep teenage girls from developing eating disorders. But I can say, “Hey beautiful,” when greeting all the fantastically beautiful women in my life, and slowly chip away at their disbelief.

And so can you.

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  • Melissa de la Fuente

    This is so lovely….what a great thing to do. ( judging by your photo top left, you are indeed beautiful πŸ™‚
    I am with you 100% ! Thank you for your sweet comment over on CC this morning. Your blog is wonderful.
    xo
    Melissa

  • Sharon Rose

    What a lovely post-just as lovely as you!! Have a great weekend, Sal!!

  • miss cavendish

    Funny–I’ve heard that phrase uttered in a “she thinks she’s so beautiful; I’ll show her” kind of way (this must be an until-now repressed memory from high school). But said sincerely, it could bring a glow to many a woman’s self esteem. Bravo.

  • Marilynn

    Awww. I greet any of my friends with “Hey there pretty girl” or “hey gorgeous” because I think they are. Some fight me over it and some say “Nooo you’re pretty” and we get into a pretty off.

    I used to be hate being called that too, but as I grew older and matured more, I realized that everyone really is beautiful, even myself.

    http://www.TheNaturalSapphireCompany.com

  • Kelly

    One of my good friends says that, and I smile every time I hear it. What a great pick-me-up!

  • Budget Babe

    what a great observation (and mission). similar complimentary salutations have really caught me offguard in the past but at the same time, they’ve always made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  • Danz

    I’ve only had guys who I don’t know greet me like that. I don’t really have friends, male or female, who just tell me that for no reason.

    I’ve realized that someone telling that I’m beautiful shouldn’t be a revelation (which it seems to be a lot of the time) but a reassurance. I need to believe it myself first.

  • enc

    Hey Beautiful, that was an excellent reminder. Thank you. I will begin addressing women as “beautiful” anon.

  • skgillespie

    Hey beautiful – definitely a old trend that needs revising. I usually greet girl friends with ‘Hey Darling’ or ‘Hey Babe’, but I think ‘Hey Beautiful’ just adds that little extra into any girls day πŸ™‚

  • Hammie

    You’re right Sal,
    A blogger pal always addresses me as “Hey Doll” or Hey Gorgeous, and it gives me a little smile as we have never met! But the little smile is what it’s all about.
    I notice some gay men do this, and coming from them it feels objective and therefore, even nicer? What’s THAT all about?
    And yeah, You’re gorgeous!
    xx

  • Kris

    This is such a very inspirational post ^_^
    I needed to read it
    Thanks so much!
    xox

  • WendyB

    Some flaming queen once ran after me in a department store makeup department, yelling, “Hello! Goddess!” When I didn’t respond, he got in my face and was like, “I was talking to you, bitch.”

  • Imelda Matt

    I have a totally biased view, I think ALL women are beautiful and will refrain from greeting women with ‘Hey Dollface’ with ‘Hey beautiful’…they both mean the same to me.

  • Rollergirl

    Aw, sweet post πŸ™‚

  • antony

    A very insightful blog. The old adage “you must first believe in yourself before anyone else canbelieve in you” is poignant here I think!
    tanzanite

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  • this gives me goosebumps… and I’ve already started doing it πŸ™‚