Raise your hand if you’ve been provided an opinion from someone about another person’s character based on the level of their beauty. I mean things like, “well, you know how she got that job” or “not sure I’d wear that in my profile picture.” Of course, women are absolute masters of tearing one another down and quite honestly, I’ve never understood where that comes from. Though make no mistake, there are plenty of men out there who do it too.
Have you ever fallen for it? Have you ever approached someone new from a place of prejudgment because of mental seeds planted by someone else, or are you able to always show up with your own curiosity and hold the space to learn something from someone new?
I’d like to believe that it’s the latter for me. Though I am certainly fallible, I cannot recall a time when I’ve judged someone I haven’t yet met or interacted with. Although I may wonder if what “they” say is true, I feel like I always have to find out for myself. What may be someone else’s truth doesn’t have to be mine. What may be someone else’s experience doesn’t have to be mine.
Let’s first explore the one about “how she got that job.” Not long after J was hired, I found out she was going to be my new manager as part of the new organizational structure and I wasn’t really happy about that. Why, you ask? Mostly because I didn’t want to get pulled into the corporate rumor mill (ah, but trying to avoid that is an exercise in futility, isn’t it?). I was one of only two people in tech support at the time and the one with the least seniority, so I was tasked with setting up J’s computer. It hadn’t yet been decided where her office would be, so someone (likely this girl) would just have to redo it all later. *sigh*
For that reason alone, I probably didn’t show up as my most chipper self. I’m sure I was wearing my RBF. That armor has served me well in certain situations.
Right away, she started chatting it up with me. I had to let my guard down a bit and give in to the interaction. She asked me ton of questions! Honestly, by the time it was over, my own assessment was that she was genuinely curious and just as smart and relationship savvy as she is beautiful.
In fact, I came to learn over the next ten years of working with her that she worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known to prove that she was in her position for her intellect. I observed how she treated others with genuine kindness, asking questions, still chatting it up, learning what our strengths were and how to leverage them, building up our skills and continuously rewarding us.
Yet I’ll never forget how I bristled one day after work very early in our relationship. We met for drinks to celebrate a very productive week. We both put in our orders: chardonnay for her and beer for me. She took a very sophisticated sip of her wine, smiled at me and said, “You know, I used to drink beer out of the bottle too.”
I’m telling you, my thoughts went crazy over that comment! All I could think was, what does that mean? Did she just judge me for drinking beer over wine? Damn, I don’t know how to drink wine! What do I pick? What do I like? Am I going to spend $8 for a glass of junk I can’t even stand? All of that! And in hindsight, I’m certain it was a very innocent comment on her part. A way to relate to what was a blue collar version of myself at the time.
We shared wine many times after that. I learned that I actually enjoy it and prefer it over beer. To be honest, I wonder if I’d have ever even tried it if it weren’t for that statement triggering me. That bit of hindsight is actually hilarious. To this day, she remains the most influential mentor I’ve ever had the privilege to know. No one else can compare.
Now let’s explore the scenario of, “not sure I’d wear that in my profile picture” which came from a new friend in the new state I’d moved to who was referring to another mom I hadn’t yet met. Yes, the mom scene is catty too, I have found. At times, there even appear to be competitions on things like decorating classrooms and such. While I do volunteer at my son’s school when it works with my schedule and it makes sense to do so, I’ll always struggle to find a reason for my contribution to be about anything other than supporting the kids.
This time, it wasn’t just about the mom being beautiful, but both parents are beautiful. Well…what does that mean?
I’ll tell you what it means, because I went on to not only meet them both, but because they live very close, they invited me and my son over for dinner one night when my husband was out of town on business. I can’t even recall how she knew about that. Maybe I relayed something in a text exchange. We had recently shared numbers for play dates as her oldest was in the same grade as mine.
I shrugged and thought it would be an easy enough way to get out of meal planning for the evening and the boy could play with friends, so win-win. Sure!
It’s true that she has perfect hair, perfect body, perfect eyelashes, and was sporting some really short shorts in one of her profile pics. I also know that she works very hard on her fitness and makes it a priority while raising three children who from what I’ve witnessed, are fantastic little humans, each with their own personality and style. It’s true that he is handsome, also fit, and a successful business owner.
Again, not only was I welcomed, they asked questions and genuinely tried to get to know me better. We had great conversation and I felt like I belonged there for a couple of hours. We learned the things we have in common and the things that make us different. They even sent me home with the rest of the white wine they had opened for me, as they prefer red (yes, chardonnay ended up being my favorite!). They could not have been more warm and welcoming. Our families had a few more opportunities to hang out together before they moved, and everything with them always felt authentic.
I’ve written before about other people’s opinions, but it was in the context of what others think of you. I think it’s also important to apply your bullshit filter to what other people think of other people! It has been my observation that the physically beautiful people are the biggest targets. It has also been my observation that many of the targets also have the biggest hearts and a level of self-confidence and authenticity that the haters don’t have. That leaves me to wonder whether it’s the outward or the internal beauty that bothers them the most.
These people are living their best lives and personally, I think that’s the only way to do it. Don’t apologize for your successes, your appearance, or your abundance. Just do you and love others along the way.
I’ve been inspired by beautiful people and I’ve learned that they live life on their own terms and it’s the authenticity that makes them most attractive. That’s why I’m finally confident to show up as who I am, without apology. I don’t have the perfect body or the C suite, but I have everything that I need. I have my own abundance and I’m following my own dreams.
That’s why I’m adding the beautiful people to my long list of teachers.
That’s also why I just might have a bottle of beer later. Rock on.