Monica Cost

*I have to start this week’s article with a HUGE thank you to my mother. Looking back on my life,  except for when we were dressed up for a special occasion, my mother rarely harped on my sister and I being cute or pretty. However, she did often tell us how smart, capable, and resourceful we were.

I distinctly remember many of the pretty girls that I knew, growing up, who were doted on by their parents and others, and how they were always being told they were pretty, with no mention of their non-aesthetic strengths. Many of these girls became promiscuous and leveraged their “cuteness” in life, even until today. They were constantly concerned about their appearance, clothing and hair. When these girls became teenagers, they dressed in a way to ensure that they continued to receive this feedback on their outward appearance. When these girls became women, the continued in this vein.

Working in the entertainment industry, I come across many beautiful women who are incredibly insecure. Why? Because they look around and see all of the other beautiful women who are in their space. And unfortunately because their beauty has been their primary calling card, they are sometimes left with feelings of having no greater purpose or value. For instance, they could be great writers, problem solvers, marketeers, engineers, scientists, business owners, etc. However, they were never encouraged to exercise these muscles.

I’ve spoken to women who don’t believe that they are attractive or beautiful for a variety of reasons. Some were degraded by a parent, ridiculed by their peers or simply never praised, by anyone, for their looks. Some of them say that they would trade places with a “pretty girl” in a heartbeat, simply because they want to know what it feels like to have that kind of attention that the world says is important.

Well, now that I’m 40, I’m finding that the new “pretty” in my eyes is about character. Looks are fleeting, they are sure not to last, even with the most expensive plastic surgery you can find. One day, the “pretty girls” will be older and the younger “pretty girls” will reign in that world. I hope that people, and women in particular learn to value the pretty within. I’m sure you’ve seen women who you would at first glance, not consider beautiful, however after getting to know them, you can’t help but to describe them that way. In the same way, you may have come across women who are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but appear unattractive to you.

So when it’s all said and done, we all have the opportunity to build pretty in ourselves.

The pretty is within, and that’s something we can all attain.

Monica Cost is communications strategist, brand manager and respected corporate and motivational speaker. She is the President and Founder of Evidently Assured, a communications and brand management firm.  Email her at:  [email protected]. Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost.