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It was unsettling this morning watching a Today Show report on young girls posting to YouTube asking – Am I Pretty or Am I Ugly.

First I would tell them that they are pretty, and it will NEVER matter what someone says or thinks about their looks. Pretty is much more than long, short, blonde or red hair, big or small lips, blue or brown eyes or any of those things.

Pretty is smart! It is the girl who studies science, math, English, music, history, philosophy and art and discovering those things that sparks her interests and helps her find a passion that fulfills her life in rich and rewarding ways. Smart is reading, learning, exploring, listening and sharing ideas. You will never see an option on a college or employment application, on your drivers license, passport or any other important document in your life with a box to check for pretty.

Pretty is brave! Pretty is knowing that when the someone who is being bullied for being different they speak up and speak out that bullying is wrong. Brave girls share the good and value they see in others. It is comforting those who have been wronged and hurt and showing compassion and love for others. Brave is knowing when someone bully’s another it is about them (the bully) and their own lack of self-esteem, fears and insecurity and not about the person being bullied.

Pretty is confidence! Pretty is knowing that who are is wonderful and that your presence in this world is a beautiful miracle. Confidence is knowing deep inside that you are special and wonderful and that people will always be drawn and attracted to you because your confidence and self-assurance shines through.

Pretty is making a difference! It is knowing that every girl is empowered and powerful, her body, mind, soul and heart are her very own to be cherished and that she possesses the super-girl power to change the world.  It is behaving in a way that shows girls around her that they too are pretty by simply being themselves and refusing to let other people define them. It is knowing that being different is wonderful, very cool and very fun!

Pretty is knowing that what other people think about them is none of their business. It only matters what you think about yourself and how you choose to engage in your own world.

The prettiest girls I have ever known were tall, were short, some had big noses and some had small, some were shy and some were loud, some made me laugh and some made me cry, some were skinny and some were not! What I do know is that what made them pretty is they cared about other people, they were smart, they asked lots of questions and shared great ideas and challenged me to think about my role and ability in making our world better for everyone!

You are PRETTY and you are the only one that needs to know it!!!

We have received a number of requests to share this post and we invite you to do so. Hopefully you will use this to encourage dialog and foster conversations within your own community regarding this important subject. We do ask that you provide attribution for this article to Success in the City and Cynthia de Lorenzi!