Don’t Be Ugly! By Danielle Hall

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Our eyes met from across the room and my heart sank.

The event had been so successful. I felt proud of
my work and my planning.

The one person I strategically planned to avoid the whole night had found me. She was making a bee line toward me. There was no escaping her and what I knew would be her lengthy list of critiques, suggestions, and under-handed comments. We will call her “the complainer”.

The complainer’s approach was always swift. She had a giant red lip stick smile. She was put together.
Her ability to swoop in and make me feel like completely inadequate only took seconds. Let us be clear
the military should study her tactics for some type of Guerilla warfare. Today was going to be no
exception.

I immediately felt my body tense up. My jaw clenched. My insides boiling in anticipation of what she
was going to say. I imagined how her words would cut me before she ever articulated them. My eyes
narrowed. I felt the heat travel up my cheeks. My posture changing as I braced myself for the
confrontation. The complainer was right in front of me. She opened her mouth. I winced waiting for
impact. The words that spewed out of her mouth were not what I expected. They were worse.

“Why are you making such an ugly face?”
Wait, did she just call me ugly?

The word ugly sliced through me like a thousand blades. My head was
spinning. My blood pressure was elevating. I heard nothing she said from that point on. I only remember
“ugly”. UGLY! The four-letter word was like reverb in my brain.

I laid in bed that night. Tears streaming down my cheeks. I knew the intention of her words were not
meant to suggest I was ugly. I was mature enough to understand that. So, why did it bother me so
much? It is likely that my dislike for her and my anxiousness as she approached me had yielded an
unattractive expression on my face. Rest assured my face was not warm and inviting when my plans to
avoid her were foiled.

People are skeptical when someone says, “she is beautiful on the inside” or “she is so funny”. There is an
assumption that phrase translates to an ugly or unattractive person on the outside. It sounds like
something your grandmother says to make you feel better when the boy you like does not reciprocate.
The more I mulled over my encounter with “the complainer”, the more I contemplated how our insides
translate to our outer beauty.

My memory began to recall a recent incident where I had something exciting to tell my husband. There was no special outfit or make-up or hairdo that day. As I told him my news, he stopped me and said, “your eyes look really pretty today”. My eyes were no different than any other day. In fact, I had no make-up on. I remember thinking that I looked quite plain. The joy I felt on the inside altered my outward appearance and made me more attractive to my partner in that moment.

Our society spends billions of dollars in the self-care space. Make-up, plastic surgery, skincare, fillers,
teeth whiting, clothes all make promises for helping us achieve our best selves. We follow influencers
and replicate trends all to be more attractive. Are we missing a piece of the puzzle? What if, we spend
an equal amount of time and energy developing our insides. Will it make us more attractive? Are we
forgetting soul-care as part of our self-care routines?

Think about the times you have felt the most beautiful or attractive. Were you happy? Confident?
Peaceful? Why are we not paying more attention to the things we put into our souls and how they
impact our overall presence and appearance?

We are trained to drink copious amounts of water in a day. Why? Because consuming water changes our
body from the inside out. Skin appears dewier and hydrated with an increased intake of water. Our
bodies become leaner. A healthy diet rich in nutrients can change our skin, hair and nails. Ingredients
like gluten, dairy and sugar are eliminated to counteract bloating and aid in digestion. We pay attention
to everything we put in our bodies so we can feel better and look better. Why not spend that kind of
thought and time on our souls?

The word ugly stings. The day she called me out for making an ugly face has scarred me in some ways. It
is etched into my brain. There is always a lesson amid adversity and hurt. Her words are no different.
Although annoying and hurtful, she helped me. In that moment, I really came to understand what I was
feeling on the inside could alter my whole appearance and demeanor.

Now I pay attention. I take inventory of the experiences that bring me joy. I study the items that yield
the most peace in my life. I spend quality time on the people and things that contribute to my
confidence and happiness. I steer clear of those who do not. I take time to reflect on my gratitude list. I
work to limit negativity and focus on the silver linings. I monitor my anxiety and alleviate factors that
may contribute to it.

Maybe it is cliché, but I want to be beautiful on the inside. I am starting to understand just how much
my investment on the inside will show-up on the outside. Happiness will make you glow. Peace
eliminates worry and that is good for dark circles and fine lines. Confidence is sexy. Humor can restore
that sparkle in your eye.

Adversely, negativity, and worry will never make us look like our best selves. No one has ever described
stress as a Fountain of Youth. Those qualities are draining and damaging. They can only add emotional
weight. That junk bogging us down on the inside, will eventually alter the way we look at the outside. It
is no different that an unhealthy diet.

Investing on the inside is just as important as what we do to maintain the outside.
Don’t be ugly! Be good to your insides and remember that soul-care is self-care.

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