Monday, September 22, 2014

She Don't Know She's Beautiful

My dear Men,

You’re handsome.

What did that do to you? Just reading those words, imagining a woman saying that to you, what does that do to your insides? Are you deeply moved, or hardly affected? My guess is that your response to those words would vary a lot depending on who you are and who said it to you. By my guess is also that it would not mean nearly as much to you as the words “You’re beautiful” mean to a woman.
This post is not going to be filled with advice, or a chastisement, or even a challenge. No, I just wanted to give you some insight into how powerful it is to tell a woman that she is beautiful. What you do with this information is totally up to you.

When I was a freshman in high school, a senior I barely knew wrote me a letter. He was not attracted me, and I was not attracted to him. Like I said, we barely knew each other, and the letter didn’t change that. But in this letter, he told me that I am beautiful. This is my first memory of a young man ever telling me that, and it’s stuck with me. And I have kept that letter for the past 10 years. I can remember almost every instance of a young man telling me that I am beautiful, regardless of how I felt about him or how he felt about me.  Sure, I’ve been called “pretty” and “cute” and “nice” and even “stunning” and “gorgeous” on fewer occasions, but I can’t remember those moments very clearly. They didn’t stick with me like the words “You are beautiful.” Not, “You look beautiful” but “You are beautiful.” 

There is something inherent in a woman that desires to be beautiful and to have that beauty acknowledged. Every woman, in the depths of her heart, just wants to know one thing from you: “Am I beautiful to you?” Because if she is beautiful to you, then she knows you have accepted her, and that she is safe to act. When she acts, it will be to give this beauty to you, whether she is your lover or your friend or your waitress or your nurse or just someone you pass on the street.  In this culture where human value is judged largely by what you do and not who and what you are, women are deprived of hearing the word “beautiful” as a description of themselves. Even worse, women are getting used to hearing “You’re beautiful” as a poorly disguised “I want to have sex with you.” Not only are the words lacking, but now even a woman’s receptivity to hearing them is diminished. But ability to be moved by an affirmation of beauty is still buried within the heart of every woman. And once uncovered, it can make a woman’s heart soar.

Tell a woman she’s beautiful, and for a brief moment in time, her world stops. She forgets the demands clamoring for her attention, the expectations from work and school and family and friends and society. She stops fighting for an instant, pauses and just breathes. You have essentially told her that it is good simply that she exists. And although there are parts of her that won’t believe you, and will shout out their objections that will eventually ruin the moment, she starts to wonder if what you have said is true after all. The more she hears those words, the more she starts to believe them.

 I hear the words “You’re beautiful” every day now. Far from getting used to them, I’ve found my heart responds even more strongly each time. Imagine if every woman got to hear that every day. Tell a woman she’s beautiful, and she’s going to start acting beautiful. Not strong or sexy or successful or productive or efficient or tough or any other description that has been thrown her way. She will start to be all of these things, but it will flow out of her underlying ability to be beautiful. 

A woman's heart is a fragile thing. Humans are fragile. Femininity and masculinity are even more fragile. So when I tell you that a woman’s heart is a fragile thing, I don’t mean that a man’s isn’t. I just mean that both need to be treated with the utmost care. Maybe some day I'll endeavor to explore a man's heart. But today, I just want to call your attention to what happens when you build up the feminine heart. And it starts by calling her beautiful.

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