chap 08Yesterday, I heard one of my favorite Jefferson Airplane songs—Pretty As You Feel—on the radio (yes, I listen to the radio), and I was struck by the simple truth of its lyrics:

You’re only pretty as you feel

Only pretty as you feel inside

You’re only pretty as you feel

Just as pretty as you feel inside

When you wake up in the morning

Comb your hair

Rub some sleep from your eye

Look inside your mirror

Don’t give vanity a second chance

No, no, no

Beauty’s only skin deep

It goes just so far ’cause

You’re only pretty as you feel

Just as pretty as you feel inside

You’re only pretty as you feel inside

I’ve always loved this song, but even more so now, as it mirrors my heartfelt philosophy that 1) we are all beautiful no matter what our age, shape or size; and 2) the prettiest women are those who feel pretty.

It can be excruciatingly hard to embrace that philosophy, though, when we’re constantly bombarded by images of rail-thin, young models and actresses who do not reflect the reality of most women, and especially women over 50.  It can be very challenging to our self esteem when we’re flipping through magazines geared (allegedly) to us, and see models who are ten or twenty years younger.  It’s hard to relate.  And, it can be very hard to feel pretty.

Many women bemoan the fact that it can be difficult in our youth-centric society to feel pretty, which is the main reason why they often choose to have (or think about having) plastic surgery or less-invasive procedures like Botox, fillers, and the like.  (Note: I have no issue with anyone having any kind of procedure, but I only hope that a woman (or man) who takes that path does so because she wants to look better, and not younger.)

Feeling pretty is one of the most positive feelings a woman can have, and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with age, weight, or shape. This can be a confusing point for women who often equate “pretty” with “age” as in “I’m too old to be pretty” or “I used to be pretty, but not any longer” or “I must be invisible now that I’m older because I’m not as pretty as I once was.”  Of all the words that are used to describe how a woman looks, “pretty” is the one that is most connected to an image of youth.

Every day, find a reason to feel pretty. And, here’s the part that might cause controversy: there’s nothing wrong, and everything right, about wanting to feel pretty.  Feeling pretty makes you feel good.  Feeling pretty makes you feel sexy.  Feeling pretty makes you feel happy. Feeling pretty makes you feel powerful. Did you ever feel pretty and not feel good about yourself?

The amazing thing is it’s so easy to feel pretty: wear a new dress; try a little pink lipstick; smile at someone; flirt a little; put on a sexy bra. I feel pretty after I’ve gone for a run and my cheeks are glowing, or if I feel good in an outfit I’m wearing. If I’m not feeling pretty, I do something to turn that around. It always works.  And when I feel pretty, I feel powerful and ready to take on whatever the world is going to send my way.


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