Thanks to Dove, the epic Mom 2.0 conference and the incomparable beachside stunner that the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel is, this past week provided big lessons about what beauty for moms is. I learned about #BeautyIs, to be exact. Hashtag it on Twitter because it’s a major thing. And it’s especially powerful for this mom of two young daughters…
I got my head repositioned when it comes to thinking about what real beauty means in this age of constant online conversations, everyday family life and women’s collective sense of self. Unbeknownst to me, 4 out of 5 negative comments about women online are coming from ourselves (this according to research conducted by Dove). ?!?!? This is hard evidence that we are not being kind to ourselves online — as women, moms and just plain people. In the name of what? Don’t know. The words we use to describe ourselves matter, the words we choose to say to our kids shape who they are, the words we casually throw at others online can either punch someone in the stomach or uplift them to soaring heights. We know this, but sometimes we need a reminders.
#BeautyIs so many things. Words are powerful, so we must speak beautifully. We must remind ourselves to speak beautifully, online and in real life. Here are 8 quick ways to be beautiful…
Elevate the conversation beyond what someone looks like. In other words, tell someone specifically what you appreciate about their quality of character. “I love the way you always look people in the eye when you talk. I really appreciate how you always say ‘thank you.’ You’re so great at finishing the job…” Author and CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien told a story during the opening keynote about how her dad used to tell her (when riding a bike), “You’re the kind of kid who never gives up,” and how that phrase stuck with her and continues to positively affect her work, family life and choices she makes. (You can catch our separate, casual chat from my Facebook page about fails & resilience if you scroll below!) #BeautyIs seeing beyond our exteriors.
Say something nice about yourself, to yourself, in the mirror. Seems a bit campy, but it’s not. To paraphrase social entrepreneur and self esteem powerhouse Jess Weiner (pictured above, interviewing Soledad): “Confidence is not a tank that lasts forever when we fill it up… it’s a muscle you need to work again and again….” #BeautyIs not being afraid of acting silly in the name of self-care.
Say thank you. You know when someone compliments you and you respond with “Oh my these shoes are so old and they’re ready to fall apart and I got them for $5?” or “Oh my I feel so crusty today and my hair looks like a wet dog?” (I know because I do this constantly…) Instead, just say THANK YOU. And don’t forget to smile at that person too. #BeautyIs being grateful for those who are kind.
Take a bath. Ok, this isn’t exactly spreading kindness or beauty to anyone but yourself. But if you tap into what you might need and provide yourself with a recharge, a power-down, a restful time, then you will get closer to finding to clarity within yourself. Which makes you kinder to yourself and others. #BeautyIs knowing what you need and doing it.
Look people in the eyes when you talk to them. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then a feeling is worth ten thousand. Talking to someone while looking over their shoulder to see who else is entering in the room is not nice — we know this. We hate it when it happens to us and we make others feel unworthy when we do it to them. #BeautyIs making others feel worthy.
Take a selfie. Not for vanity, but for your self. It’s a good thing to like who you are. #BeautyIs being happy with who you are, flaws and all.
Be vulnerable. By some freak twist of fate I got a chance to talk to actress, producer and singer Rita Wilson while at Mom 2.0. Rita told a room of about 20 of us that she was scared to death to break out of her ‘actor’ persona and tackle making an album (it all started with wanting to be in a musical, specifically… more on this to come). “Making yourself vulnerable can be rewarding. I don’t believe in being too comfortable — because creativity comes at the end of your comfort zone.” Let’s do the math here: Creativity leads to happiness which leads to self-assuredness which leads to confidence. #BeautyIs taking a leap, even when you’re not sure how it might all turn out.
Think before you talk. This one’s for how we parent our kids. In an hour-long self esteem workshop with Jess Weiner, we played a game about words. “Stand up if you’ve ever said you’re fabulous,” she instructed us. I stood up, but not many others did (which made me a bit uncomfortable). “Stand up if someone’s ever told you you’re ugly,” she continued. I stood up, and so did a lot of other people. It made me sad to see so many of us standing up. Words are powerful and stick to our brains (even if they come to us in elementary and high school and are said by some random boy). Parents can’t control what’s said to their kids out in the world, so control it at home. Combat it proactively at home. Think before you blurt out “Are you stupid?” in a fit of frustration over homework. #BeautyIs knowing the power of words and how they affect small people who grow.
For a limited time this May, Dove is putting ‘soap in the mouths’ for those who might not be so nice to others and themselves online and in real life. For the first time, Dove bars will read the words Love, Kind, Care and Real in place of the iconic “Dove.” Because us ladies (and our daughters) need to see these words more often. Every day. When we get up, when we go to bed.
Because #BeautyIs… kindness, caring, love and being real. (No matter who we are.) What is it to YOU?
DISCLOSURE: This post is part of a sponsored partnership with Dove. All opinions are my own. Follow Dove and #BeautyIs on Twitter to impact the positive conversation and change our world for the better… Mom 2.0 is an annual conference that brings together over 700 mom bloggers and family lifestyle brands to meet, converse and exchange information, tips and good times in the name of growing and shaping this industry we call ‘the digital influencer space.’