Powerful Females Cultivate and Recognize Internal and External Beauty
July 1, 2015 8:43 p.m.
The centerpiece of this most recent blog post is the Dove commercial titled: Dove Real Beauty Sketches | You’re more beautiful than you think (3mins). Below is a link to the commercial. Once you have viewed the commercial, continue reading this post and share with me your thoughts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk.
A few months ago, my friend, Karen, sent me a picture she took of me and my husband having dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. As I opened the picture on my cell phone , immediately, I noticed how handsome my husband is, the warmth of our embrace, and how vividly the image captured the festive mood of the evening. What I also noticed is the image of me. I hate looking at pictures of myself; I cringe at an impending photo op. The phrase “Say cheese!” hangs over my head like a guillotine. Why is that? In the past, I have focused on the negative features of my image; not the positive. However, my reaction this time was different. The image of the woman smiling back at me (me!) was truly beautiful. As I scanned my digital likeness, I noticed the elongated facial structure, the almond-shaped brown eyes, the genuine bright smile, the full naturally pink-colored lips, the smooth and even complexion, and the closely cropped, naturally curly, neatly styled hairdo. The woman in the picture was indeed cute. But more importantly, I could tell that at that moment in time, when that picture was taken, she (Kelley = me) was joyful and content. These two qualities (joy and contentment) identify inner beauty at its zenith.
I am still surprised at the revelation that I feel more beautiful now than I have in my younger years. Wow! It has taken almost 50 years for me to see the value and the true beauty of me – just like the women in the Dove commercial. One of the quotes from the commercial struck a chord with me: “We spend a lot of time as women analyzing and trying to fix the things that aren’t quite right and should spend more time appreciating the things we do like.” I couldn’t agree more. Why are we so hard on ourselves?
Granted, most of us don’t resemble Halle Berry, Jamie Lee Curtis, or Sophia Loren . Nonetheless, the external and internal beauty we possess should be recognized –not just by others – but by ourselves. Without a doubt, most of us would agree that the pursuit of physical beauty should not be our chief goal in life. Still, there is another kind of beauty that is even more important than external physical beauty. Above all, inner beauty should be cultivated and recognized. What does inner beauty look like?
A woman with true inner beauty is dignified, sincere, magnanimous, openhearted, altruistic, amiable, and sensible. She is not self-centered, devious, sarcastic, bitter, belligerent, or surly. Visualize this, if the words we spoke and our actions toward others were manifested on our face, or on our skin, would we be beautiful? Ask yourself this “If the whole world were blind, would I still be beautiful?” Time has taught me that external beauty may fade, but inner beauty, those qualities that impact how we treat others and how we make others feel are what make us truly beautiful .
beauty (n.) – early 14c., “physical attractiveness,” also “goodness, courtesy,” from Anglo-French beute,
Powerful Females Feel the Fear and Do It* Anyway
June 15, 2015 8:56 a.m.
“Fear is at the root of so many of the barriers that women face. Fear or not being liked. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of drawing negative attention. Fear or overreacting. Fear or being judged. Fear of failure. And the holy trinity of fear: the fear of being a bad mother/wife/daughter.”
Sheryl Sandberg – Excerpt from Lean In
On the eve of my 49th birthday, I am truly grateful for the gift of life, for the opportunities that I have experienced, and the people who have helped me reach my goals. However, there are times when my thoughts of gratitude are replaced by feelings of what could have been, as well as what’s next? Recently, while reading and learning from the Lean In website at http://leanin.org/about/ I was led to a tremendously profound quote by Sheryl Sandberg. This blog post is my response to her quote, which is cited above.
What if fear** were not a part of our life’s equation? Or, more realistically, what if we could more readily feel the fear and do it anyway? What extraordinary feats would we accomplish? How many lives would we positively impact? How many fewer regrets would we have? What else would we have done? What else can we still do?
For many years, I have grappled with fear. Sadly, the fear has often won. As a result, it has driven me to opt out of what may have been pivotal and life altering adventures. Here are some examples of how my fears have been acted upon:
Fear of not being liked – Too many times, I have compromised my intellectual judgment, intuition, and wisdom for fear of not being liked. I was too afraid to express and act upon these God given capabilities. How shamefully sad.
Fear of making the wrong choice – At times, I have said “Yes” when I know I should have said “No” or vice-versa as it relates to my role as a parent and the correction and discipline of my sons and daughter.
Fear of drawing negative attention – As a grown woman, I have shied away from red lipstick because of the negative attention my mother guaranteed would come my way. Today, even though I truly love matte red lipstick, I hesitate to wear it because of its dazzling and alluring affect.
Fear of overreacting – At times, I have chosen to ignore and/or not respond to (there is a huge difference between ignoring something and not responding to it) repeated and disrespectful remarks made by family members and coworkers.
Fear of being judged – I was afraid to try out for cheerleading in high school. Fear of rejection and the belief that my thighs were too big caused me to opt out of this activity. Now, when I look at photographs from high school, as well as recent pictures, I realize how curvaceous and well-formed I really was am. The previous sentence contained an intentional strikethrough.
Despite my bouts of dread, I have nonetheless accomplished some noteworthy feats. For example:
- Graduated from the University of Illinois on an academic scholarship
- Applied for and was subsequently offered, and accepted a prime position as a corporate trainer for a major insurance company
- At the age of 24, I moved from Illinois to Atlanta, Georgia as a single parent, with $200 in my pocket, and a new job waiting for me
- Applied for and accepted a highly-visible marketing position with The World Headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company
- Prepared for and completed the necessary education and training to become a highly-qualified educator
- Accepted the fact that I deserve to be loved by a supportive, strong, balanced, and hardworking man. I got married and had two additional wonderful children. I got it right this time around!!!
- Decided to move forward with this blog
- Learned to swim
- Earned a water fitness instructor certificate
- Became a knowledgeable, impressive and competent water fitness instructor
- Earned numerous awards and accolades as a Toastmaster’s International member
- Earned a Gifted Teaching endorsement
- Choose a path of low hair maintenance and true self-confidence by cutting my hair extra short
- Recovered completely from a torn ACL
- Courageously shared and defended my faith with others
- Calmly stood up to and respectfully spoke up for myself to mean-spirited family members and co-workers
- Witnessed and coped with my father’s battle against Alzheimer’s disease
- Etc., Etc., Etc.
Anyone who tells you they fear nothing should be closely monitored and possible avoided at all costs. Fear can be normal, healthy, and a potential lifesaver; but it should NOT be a debilitating barrier to achieving your goals. What I respect about: Anita Hill, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Rosa Parks, Dr. Mae Jemison, Ruby Bridges, Mary McLeod Bethune, Gloria Steinem, Sara Palin, Laura Ingraham, Ruth and Naomi, Abigail, Rahab, Bessie Coleman, Megyn Kelly and a plethora of other feisty women is that despite extreme trepidation , they worked hard to achieve their goals and aspirations. Quite simply, they felt the fear and did it anyway. What makes them any different from you or me?
- It = any worthwhile, up building, encouraging, and beneficial endeavor
** Fear (n.)= Middle English fere, from Old English fær “calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack,” from Proto-Germanic *feraz “danger” (cognates: Old Saxon far “ambush,” Old Norse far “harm, distress, deception,” Dutch gevaar, German Gefahr “danger”), from PIE *per- “to try, risk,” a form of verbal root *per- (3) “to lead, pass over” (cognates: Latin periculum “trial, risk, danger;” Greek peria “trial, attempt, experience,” Old Irish aire “vigilance,” Gothic ferja “watcher”); related to *per- (1) “forward, through”