Given that the first thing you notice about a person is their appearance, it's all too easy to focus on beauty at the expense of other important qualities -- especially when discussing women.
Little girls are taught to be "seen and not heard." Tabloids consistently focus on female celebrities' cellulite and other physical "flaws," and there are entire articles dedicated to how women look without makeup on. Ads encourage women to buy products that will give them longer eyelashes, glossier hair, bigger lips, smaller waists and perkier asses.
At the same time, women are told to embrace their "natural beauty," to choose to feel beautiful inside, and to feel assured that every woman is beautiful. These are worthy sentiments -- there's nothing wrong with wanting to look good and feel confident -- but sometimes it feels like a woman's value is defined by beauty above all else. In today's society, being beautiful has a lot of benefits, but it isn't everything.
Here are 11 things a woman can be that are so much more important than “beautiful:”
1. Funny. Being funny gives you the ability to bring joy to anyone around you. Plus, research shows that funny people are more socially attractive. Why wouldn’t you want to be friends with the person cracking jokes all night? And laughter is truly the best medicine.
3. Unapologetic. Not in the way where you don’t apologize when you’ve done something wrong, but in the way where you own exactly who you are -- ***Flawless, natch -- without apology.
4. Spontaneous. Everyone needs that friend they can call about a last-minute concert, movie, ski trip, road trip and everything in-between. Saying "yes" for the sake of experience is underrated.
6. Loyal. One of the most important things in any relationship is knowing you can depend on the other person to be on your side and hold you accountable without letting you down. Studies show that people who are loyal in their romantic relationships feel more satisfied with their lives. And loyalty is just as impactful in platonic relationships as romantic ones.
7. Open-Minded. Being willing to learn more about something and potentially change your mind isn't always easy. The effort that takes is worth more than having a pretty face.
8. Thoughtful. People will remember the fact that you called them on their birthday and knew about their dairy allergy at a dinner party for much longer than they'll remember the effort you put into straightening your hair and having perfect nails all the time.
9. Empathetic. Being able to relate to people and imagine yourself in their shoes is something you should never underestimate. Being pretty doesn't help you build friendships the way having empathy does.
10. Generous. Whether it's generosity with your time, your advice, your resources, your skills -- it all matters. Being generous benefits both the receiver and the giver, because giving makes people happy.
11. Reliable. Reliable people get sh*t done. They are there when you need them. Enough said.