What is your version of beautiful? I asked several college women to send me pictures of themselves of when they think they looked beautiful and asked them what they thought made them beautiful? Then to add a little twist, I asked two of my male friends to tell me what they thought about these women. Here are the results:
Carly: Other than that my hair is short, I love this picture because you can tell how blue my eyes are, my teeth look really white, you can’t see my roots too badly, and my freckles are covered. I look fancy! And I got a bunch of comments telling me how pretty I looked in this . . .I want to mention that what I think is beautiful and what society thinks is beautiful are too different things. Although, I do believe that i am beautiful, I do feel less beautiful at times in society’s eyes. These times occur when I don’t have makeup on, look fat, don’t have my hair done, or are wearing unflattering clothes. Basically, I don’t feel that everyone thinks I’m beautiful when I don’t conform to society’s standards of beauty.
Guy 1: Her eyes stand out. She also has a nice smile.
Nive: I love this picture! It encompasses who I am because I am laughing and I am being goofy! This shirt is my absolute favorite shirt and I only wear it when I have an important event or when it is a good day! Not only that, but I am sitting on a beautiful campus and I can’t say it gets any better than that!
Guy 1: She is dressed nice, but I think her smile is beautiful. She seems like a joyful person. I like her expression.
Kristina: This is my all time favorite picture of myself. I think my hair looks really really good, but also I look genuinely happy in this picture. My smile isn’t forced or fake, but I really look happy which makes me happy when I look at it. I think my personality and intellect make me beautiful. I want people to feel happy when they are around me and feel like they had a positive experience meeting me.
Guy 2: I like her hair, it looks like it would be soft, and her skin is beautiful.
Hersa: This is probably one of my favorite pictures of myself. I usually don’t like any picture of me, but this one picture encompasses everything I love about myself. I love laughing away my worries and just feeling like there is nothing in the world that can stop me from reaching my goals. That’s the thing that I think is most beautiful about myself. I realized that beauty isn’t something that exists outwardly or inwardly. It is the thought that makes me realize that everything I do for myself is because every possibility to make me happy is limitless.
Guy 2: She has a wonderful smile, and her whole face shows her happiness! Also, I love the location of this photo which enhances her natural beauty.
And so here is the hardest part of Week 1…SELF REFLECTION. I decided to ask myself the same questions, but be truly honest with myself. It should be noted that I don’t take compliments well, and so this project is not an ego-trip for me. I think of myself as plain: I’m not much into fashion, or makeup. I dress practically, or what some people might call “like a bum.” I definitely have my “Top Model” moments, when I think I’m at my prettiest. So, I choose this picture:
I’m with my younger sister at her high school graduation, and that was the first occasion in a long while that all of my family members were together. My hair looks great, my smile is genuine, my skin is clear, and my outfit is super cute. It was a good day. I think my smile and laugh make me beautiful on the inside and out. I have great teeth (thanks to genetics and my dentist), but more importantly I smile because I believe in its healing power. You never know how a smile, or a laugh can change someone’s day, and it’s that type of thinking that makes me a beautiful person.
I asked the guys to comment on my picture, and my personality (something they couldn’t do with the other girls since they did not know them). Here’s what they said:
Guy 1: (On the picture) Your face. You have beautiful eyes and smile. Both of you do
(On my personality): You’re incredibly wise and selfless.
Guy 2: (On the picture) Yall have infectious smiles and obviously love each other very much…very very beautiful skin as well. Yall are smiling with your eyes as well which shows true happiness.
(On my personality): You are the sweetest, most caring individual I know. You give wonderful advice because you are such a smart and wise person. You care so so deeply and truly express your love and that is what makes you beautiful.
Wow…Do I pick good friends or what?
I think it’s funny that they both said wisdom and caring as beautiful quality traits of mine. I would have never thought to say wisdom, but that something that has obviously resonated with them. Reviewing all the testimonies and feedback, this week affirmed something I already knew, but seem to forget sometimes; something that I and many other people don’t learn until later in life; a lesson I hope to spread world wide. Attractiveness is NOT the same as beauty. When you ask someone to show you beauty, the natural instinct is to find a physical attribute, but even those physical attributes are rooted in something more meaningful.