Some Helping is Easy

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.

Image source

Originally posted 2008-08-22 06:25:00.

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17 Responses to “Some Helping is Easy”

  1. Melissa de la Fuente

    This is so lovely….what a great thing to do. ( judging by your photo top left, you are indeed beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am with you 100% ! Thank you for your sweet comment over on CC this morning. Your blog is wonderful.

  2. Sharon Rose

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Kelly

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. enc

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

  9. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. 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!

  11. Kris

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

  12. 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.”

  13. 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.

  14. 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!