Duchess Digest: Pretty, Ugly

prettyuglyWe’ve all heard the expression, “seek and ye shall find.” Those are five pretty powerful little words when actually applied to our vision. What we have our mind set to focus on is usually what we seek out, notice and find in our life experience.

A good example of this is what we seek to find when we look in the mirror every morning. This is one of the first things make-up artist Carmindy points out to the women in her chair as she begins her portion of their makeover process on TLC’s hit show What Not to Wear. Time after time, woman after woman, she will ask her subject before they get started on make-up, “Tell me what you see.”

Undoubtedly the woman will reply back, “A big nose,” or “bad, blotchy skin,” or “small eyes and crow’s feet,” and on and on the disparaging comments go. Carmindy’s first make-up tip before applying any product is to tell these women to start focusing on the things about their face they like! Where one woman might see red, blotchy skin, Carmindy sees the same woman’s big blue eyes or beautiful smile. Focus on what you want to see in the mirror and surely you will find it!

And who said we need perfect skin, big pouty lips or a small, button nose to be beautiful anyway? The French have a term which, if you haven’t heard it before, I would love to formally introduce you to; jolie laide. What is jolie laide? Well directly translated it means ‘pretty, ugly” (note the comma, as in two separate words!). Less literally it means ‘oddly beautiful’ or ‘unique beauty.’ This is the French term that celebrates the qualities of both the body and personality that make a woman fantastic!

If you ponder jolie laide, it doesn’t take long to think of some of the most respected, alluring, beloved and fabulous women in the world. Think women like the amazing Meryl Streep, timeless Jackie Kennedy and the cult worshipped Sarah Jessica Parker. These are magnificent women who celebrate and revel in their unique features, magnetic charisma and brilliant talents. Had these women stopped for one moment to compare themselves to the “classic” beauties of our culture, maybe they wouldn’t have risen to such great heights (and our world would be less for it). These women chose instead to look in the mirror, realize they were worth celebrating body
and soul, and go for their dreams. They set and celebrated their own worth.

I would challenge you to take Carmindy’s advice and begin looking in the mirror to seek, see and affirm the jolie laide in your own reflection; body, mind and soul!

–Jill Brown

Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based life coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: www.theduchessguide.com



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