Here's what you said about feeling beautiful:

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful." -- Sophia Loren

Back in January, I wrote this blog post about how women can undermine each other when it comes to supporting each other's beauty.

Lately, I keep going back to the concept of beauty and how important it is to so many of us.  I know this, because my clients talk about it all the time.  And, it's important to me, too.

It's a big part of my work to help each woman recognize and nurture the special, unique beauty that is inside herself.  Once she makes friends with her beauty, the outside world gets a chance to see it, too.

I thought it would be fun to ask women of a certain age (some of them friends, some of them fans of The Dynamic Divorcée on Facebook, and some of them clients) what makes them feel beautiful.  Here's some of what they said:
  • An unexpected compliment.
  • Putting a smile on someone else's face.
  • Feeling confident, strong for those around me when they need it, helping animals in need and basking in the joy that is my family.
  • Finding out that I helped someone, taught a class well, and women learned a lot of new things. (I love watching the light bulbs go on over their heads!)
  • A day at the spa.
  • Getting a sincere hug from a family member (chosen or blood).
  • Wearing something new & funky & colorful and receiving positive comments.
  • When I don't care what others think of me.
  • When I let my guard down and just be me.
  • I feel beautiful when I laugh.
  • When I am able to help a friend, I feel beautiful.
  • When I paint my nails a flashy color. 
  • Getting in a good workout to strengthen my body and reset my mind.
  • When I wear nice lingerie.
  • When I feel strong, on the inside or physically.
  • I feel beautiful when I wear heels.
  • When people compliment me cause I am 43yrs old and they think I am in my early 30s.
  • I feel beautiful when I dance salsa, bachata, and flamenco.
  • Pedicure with hot rocks.
  • Night on the town with my girlfriends.
  • Dressing up on the outside makes me feel better on even the worst days.
  • Being able to be myself and having time to explore my interests.
  • A sweet compliment from a friend.
  • Keeping my grey hairs colored.
  • When I wear something (especially crafty jewelry) that has a story to it that connects me to someone, even if that someone is the person who made it.
  • Feeling the sunshine on my face.
  • Pursuing my passions and living with heart, optimism, and compassion.  What's on the inside can't help but be reflected on the outside.

I can't help but draw your attention to the fact that not one person said that a man had to be involved in order for her to feel beautiful.  It really is an inside job!

Looking for a little beauty inspiration?  Try some of the top "I feel beautiful" suggestions on this list.  All the women who contributed to this list send you their love.  Mwah!

you are beautiful, and why other women make this hard for us to believe

A few months ago, I attended a women's circle in which each woman was invited to talk about something on her mind -- in an atmosphere of support from all of the others present.

One woman shared how she had never felt feminine or beautiful, and related several incidents of slights and insults from fellow girls and women that dated all the way back to her teen years.

This woman was strikingly beautiful in my eyes, and absolutely radiant.  After feeling called out on her appearance so many times, I could imagine how innocent comments or even compliments could have been interpreted by her as slams.

For her, it would be a never-ending perception that something was wrong with her.  Unless she decided to change her own mind about herself.

Maybe, like me, you too have been dismayed by the way women can compete and jockey for position, especially when men are in the room.  Maybe you, too, have experienced how insecure women feel compelled to destroy someone else in order to feel like somebody special themselves.

I started this year by making a cute special offer on The Dynamic Divorcée Facebook page.  My Magic Mondays offer was a little pouch filled with You Are Beautiful items:  silver stickers, pinback buttons, magnets . . .

Wow, it was a popular little giveaway!

Women commented about why they wanted to win it, and so many of the comments were about how their self-confidence and sense of their own attractiveness had eroded away over the years.  Often, it was a critical husband who did the damage.  Sometimes it had started in women's families of origin.  Sometimes it was bullying at school.

But here's why lots of women wanted to win my little gift:  Everyone wanted to love and approve of themselves -- and to share with other women that they are beautiful, too.

Have you experienced a lack of support from the women in your life, or even verbal bullying or insults from women whose opinion mattered to you?   I found this article on the subject interesting.

I truly believe that there's another piece to this puzzle:  Making my opinion of myself and my inner and outer beauty more important than what anyone else has to say about it.

We can't control others' perceptions, or how their own pain and insecurities may influence how they perceive us or treat us.  We're not inside their heads (and we probably don't want to be).

I don't think the unconventionally beautiful woman at the women's circle would have shared those painful, shaming memories if she didn't know in her heart and soul that she was beautiful, she is beautiful, and that she deeply disagrees with those who say she is somehow less than they are.

There's a part inside each of us that wants the way we see ourselves to be reflected back in the gaze of others.  Especially important others.  And, it will be reflected back.  As soon as we feel our own beauty deeply enough inside ourselves.