Well, today I find I am struggling with a bit of writer’s block. This is my thirteenth entry and I am struggling to finding something new to say on this same topic. I’m still just over here plugging away and right now I am finding this journey to be a bit monotonous. It’s the same old, same old from where I see it, but I can’t write about how much I hate to exercise every week (even though that is what I am thinking about every day, I assure you).
So I went on a little quest for inspiration and I came across a poem written by Rupi Kaur in her 2014 book of poetry Milk and Honey. It reads:
I want to apologize to all the women
I have called pretty
before I’ve called them intelligent or brave.
I am sorry I made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is the most you have to be proud of
when your spirit has crushed mountains
from now on I will say things like, you are resilient
or, you are extraordinary
not because I don’t think you’re pretty
but because I think you are so much more than that
This poem stood out to me so strongly not only because I long to be noticed more for my intelligence or bravery than my beauty, but also because it made me think of the way I consider other women. We speak so often about finding our own inner beauty and understanding the value we have based on that but we don’t often consider spending so much time appreciating the inner beauty of others. I would say 90% of the compliments I give to others are appearance based. This is not to say that it is wrong to give appearance-based compliments, of course not! It feels wonderful to be told you are lovely and if you find someone or something beautiful I am of the opinion you should always tell them. It is so easy to do and it can make such a difference to someone. But I am saying that I should work a little harder on focusing my view of beauty on something a little deeper. The things we compliment speak to the things we value and we, in fact, desire ourselves.
If we can start to change the conversation about what is valuable and desirable about women by simply changing our language a little to compliment the person rather than the presentation, I believe the impact could be so significant. It takes a bit more vulnerability and a bit less pride, but if we can show the world that what women value about other women is their thoughts, and their courage, and their passion others will take notice.
Sometimes if feels overwhelming to imagine how we could start to change the way women are portrayed in media and the messages this sends out about who we feel we are expected to be and how we feel we are expected to look in order to be valued. This is something we can actively do. It seems so small but if you look a little deeper, it’s huge.