This morning a friend of mine was telling me a story. A lot of details were shared while telling that story, but it was the word “attractive” that caught my attention and has stuck with me all day. The word was attached to one of the female characters in the story. It dawned on me, a few minutes further into the story, that I was no longer paying attention to the story. I was listening to the voices in my head:
“Ed” (eating disorder) – They made a point to say “she was attractive”. That must be an important part of the story. Being attractive IS important. Stories with unattractive people in them are not even worth telling, are they? You’re not very attractive, Megan. You should lose some weight. Maybe if you lost some weight, people would tell stories about YOU and talk about how attractive YOU are.
Confrontational voice – Ed, what are you talking about? Your logic is totally flawed. It’s NOT important to the story that the person was attractive. That’s just something that stood out to the narrator.
Gentle voice: Megan, it also doesn’t mean that you are not attractive. What is attractive anyway? It’s WAY more than just physically appealing…it’s a characteristic that draws people in and makes them want to know you better. You have that quality. And when you draw people in, you share yourself openly with them. THAT’S attractive. So don’t focus on why the person in the story was labeled as “attractive”. She just was.
Yep, I had tuned out from the story and focused on these voices. I’m glad my gentle voice had the last word. And, it got me thinking about the definition of “attractive”. It’s an adjective that has come to mean “physically appealing”. But, read further in the dictionary and you’ll see a definition I prefer: “having the quality of attracting” or engaging or drawing in someone or something.
It’s curious to me that we are quick to point out people who are physically attractive (or physically unattractive), but we rarely talk about those whose personalities are attractive, or draw us in. There are many people in my life, people I admire, who fit this latter definition of attractive even if they don’t fit society’s extremely narrow definition of physically attractive. They are people I want to spend my time with. They are people who draw me in, engage me, make me smile or laugh, and light up a room when they enter. They are people…like ME. Yes, I have the power to attract people, to draw them in, engage them in new ways of seeing and thinking. So, I must be attractive. Even when my inner critic thinks otherwise.
Who are the people in your life that you admire, are drawn in by, and attracted to? I’ll bet that some of those people are not “beautiful” or “good-looking” by society’s standards…but they’re still attractive. Imagine if we all started focusing less on physical appearance and more on openness, sense of humor, or authenticity as attractive. Let’s start doing so today!
Peace, joy, and health,