An Open Letter to All Pretty Girls

“You’re pretty.”

Words originally meant as a compliment but instead morphed into a deeper conversation than I would ever think to have with myself, and with friends.

I don’t remember what classes I had that day, what time it was, or what I was wearing, but I do remember the response of my hallmate when I told her just how beautiful she looked that day. She told me in such a serious tone how I had made her day by complimenting her that it actually made me pause for a moment. It was in that instance I found just how seldom women compliment one another without it being thrown in passing or quickly brushed aside. I don’t think I can even remember the last time I had told a friend just how utterly gorgeous she was in an earnest and thoughtful way. So it had surprised me when my hallmate actually thanked me for something that all women should hear every day, multiple times a day, enough times that I think they should become used to hearing.

I think it’s safe to say that we can all easily get caught up in the rush of the world, how glamorous it can be, the people in it, the products. What I don’t think we realize is just how often we compliment one another when we are only glammed up. I rarely hear a compliment from one girl to another when we are all bare faced and in our sweatpants for a hall meeting. I hear more compliments about a girl’s personality when she is dressed casually, than when she is all dressed up. So my response to this revelation was to try and tell as many of my friends and hallmates how pretty they were when they were least expecting it. The criteria: no party atmosphere, no glammed up outfit, just their pure, unsuspecting self.

The first few days caught my hallmates by surprise. I couldn’t tell them what I was doing, not yet at least, and it was interesting to see the results by telling them when they were least expecting it. Moments I caught them were when they were studying in the lounge, walking to the bathroom early in the morning still in their pajamas, or having just brought back their laundry. Initially, I think they all thought I was joking, because why would someone be saying how beautiful they looked after they just rolled out of bed at 9 am and mean it seriously? But I did, and I think they understood that because I wasn’t laughing, I wasn’t trying to make a joke, I was just honestly saying how pretty they looked that morning because that was them.

Once they caught on to just how often I was complimenting them, many of the girls had asked why, and I explained it as honestly as I could do them. I wanted to do this because I didn’t think it was being done enough. I don’t think enough women compliment one another without having something to compliment, like a new outfit, fresh haircut, or spectacular makeup. Many of them agreed and soon joined in with the plan, until probably 90% of my hall had heard a compliment from another girl or from me. This only took a week before it was common to hear in the hall. We eventually added it to our hall board, which we all see before we leave every morning, and put some new messages along with it. It read: You are beautiful, you are smart, and you are successful. Pass this message along to someone today to let them know how amazing they are as well. This message stayed on our hall board for weeks before our RA had to change it for Thanksgiving procedures, but everyone was able to see the message.

My main takeaway from this was to make sure that all the girls felt pretty, not just when they were dressed up to go out, but also in their most normal attire. I wanted my hallmates to feel like they can be pretty both in and out of sweatpants. I wanted to tell them how successful they were, how smart they were, and how beautiful they were no matter what they were wearing or how much makeup they had on their face. Because it’s ok to love to be glammed up and feel gorgeous, but it’s also ok to love yourself when you’ve been wearing the same sweatpants for days and haven’t brushed your hair yet.

I am ever so grateful to my have the hallmates I do. I feel so lucky to have been placed with such an amazing group of women and I wanted to make sure they knew that. Which lead to my reasoning to write this open letter; I want all girls to feel that message every single day that they are beautiful, they are smart, and they are successful. It’s important to pass that message along to every girl because too many find fault in something on their body or their personality when in reality, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. I didn’t expect this little thought of mine to take off with my hallmates, or to have them get their friends on it either, but I’m thrilled to see the amount of positivity that has come from it.