“What makes you beautiful?”
It’s the question I often ask first when I start talking to middle-school girls. One girl said, “inner beauty.”
I know girls don’t believe that. I know they don’t believe that inner beauty is valued in middle school. So I called their bluff. I wanted honesty – I wanted to know what others think is beautiful. The answers poured out like lava. Pretty face…nice teeth…skinny waist…nice butt…pretty eyes…full lips…long hair.
It is their truth. It is their reality And it is sad.
Forget everything you see in those mindless magazines. Forget what E! News tells you. Forget what you see when you’re watching MTV. There are two things that make you beautiful…and one day when you’re my age, you will finally realize it. Your mind and your heart. That’s what makes you beautiful. (Let me paint a picture for you…when I was in middle school, I had a frizzy perm. Pimples. Braces on my teeth larger than Texas. My nose was WAY too big for my face. My looks changed. But I am still that boisterous 12-year-old who would talk to a desk if it let me.)
Smart is sexy. It’s not about getting straight A’s…it’s not about getting a perfect score on your ACT. Smart is knowing what’s going on in the world around you. Smart is being curious and constantly asking who, what, where, why and when. Smart is recognizing what is wrong with the world and figuring out a way to fix it. Smart is waking up and knowing at least three current events. Smart is the willingness to learn new things.
Your heart. Be kind. Be compassionate. It’s not difficult to be kind…it doesn’t cost anything. Find someone you don’t know and say hello. You don’t have to have a pajama party with them. You don’t have to sit around a campfire and tell your deepest, darkest secrets. Just say “hello.” That simple gesture will change their day…it could change their life. Be the change. Start in the halls…in the cafeteria…on your bus. Just say “hello.” Stop spitting venom on social media. Stop being the coward who hides behind the computer screen and posts nasty comments. When you do, it says a lot about your character…about who you are. Your reputation is the only thing you have to control in this life…and if it’s tarnished because you decided to be the mean kid…than that will be your legacy.
Let’s not sugar-coat it…you’re not going to be everyone’s friend…you’re not going to like everyone…not everyone is going to like you. But you can respect others.
Use your mind and your heart. That makes you beautiful.
You are good enough…You are beautiful enough…You are smart enough…You are strong enough. Believe it. Never let insecurity run your life.