"How Can I Become Beautiful?"

"Dear Aunt Traci,

I feel a little weird asking this because it sounds really superficial, but how can I become beautiful? I mean, I'm above average looking, have a few pounds to lose, and do my best to look put together when I go out, but I don't think I'm what is considered 'beautiful.' I want to know what that feels like! Sometimes I just stare at pictures of celebrities or other beautiful people and think, "I wonder what it would feel like to see that face looking back at me in the mirror?"

I'm not saying I want plastic surgery or anything. But do you have any tips on how a person can be more physically attractive?"

Signed,

Average Looking and Tired of It"

Dear Average,

Boy can I relate to your question! I am the daughter of a woman whom society thought was incredibly beautiful. She always had men swooning over her, women envied her, and she was always described as "beautiful." I, on the other hand, was the one who was known as "cute," "sweet," and "pretty." I joked that it was like having Christie Brinkley as your mother but you look like Billy Joel. Must be a little intimidating. So, this is a question I have asked myself literally my whole life.

The question actually begs a deeper question. WHY do you want to be beautiful? Is it so that you can be more sexually attractive? If so, let's challenge that thinking. It's not hard to get sex. Really, it's not. We can look at people with fame or power who are decidedly unattractive and can hear them bragging about how they get all the sex they want. This goes for men and women. I remember Amy Schumer accepting a women's award with the comment that she can "catch a dick" whenever she wants. And, she's right! If all you want is sex, you can go to the nearest dive bar and let it be known that you want some action, and you'll get it.

But, my guess is that you're not looking to be beautiful so that you can get sex. So, then, what it is? My bet is that you don't want to LOOK beautiful, you want to FEEL beautiful.

We all have those days where we feel beautiful or handsome. Maybe it's a good hair day or you slept well. You feel good about yourself, look in the mirror and say, "Lookin' good today!" And, on those days, the world responds to you differently, right? People smile and compliment you. Someone upgrades your coffee. It's just one of those magical days.

Here's the secret, Average. The world responds TO you. If you want to be more beautiful, BE more beautiful. Smile. Engage with other people. Observe beauty around you. "What a great necklace!" "Oh look at how the light comes through the trees like that!" "That is the most beautiful dog you have!" If you start to observe more beauty in the world, you will feel more beautiful.

Now, lets bring it back down to earth. What does that mean in your actual life. It means that you dress in a way that makes you feel good. I lived in stained, torn, huge USC sweatshirts for about five years. I finally realized they were making me feel depressed and fat. Now I wear jeggings and other clothes that fit and make me feel good.

Keep your living environment as clean as you can. The more beauty you see, the more beauty you'll feel.

And, if there is a day where you don't like what you're wearing or your hair looks bad or something, OWN it. I tell my kids this all the time. You spill something on your shirt right before class? Own it. "Yes, I had a burrito for lunch, and I liked it so much I wanted to show everyone." Laugh at yourself!

Trust me. Beauty has NOTHING to do with how you look on the outside. It's about feeling beautiful and you have the power to do that right now.

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.

Audrey Hepburn


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