30 Things I’d Rather Be Called than Pretty

We all have that one word that sets us off, for reasons that elude others. For some it’s “nice,” for others it might be “tall.” None of those words are bad, but have you considered what you’d rather be called than that word you hate? Oddysey’s post “30 Things I’d Rather Be Than ‘Pretty‘” got me thinking about this. It’s shocking how hard it was to come up with thirty.

How do I want to be perceived? How do I want my daughter to perceive herself?

Throughout her short life, I’ve worked to find other qualities to compliment my child about, rather than her looks. I tell her she’s smart, creative, responsible, grown-up, so cute…and yes, sometimes a girl just needs to hear that she looks awesome and pretty.

What would I rather be called? What words make my soul light up and dance? Here are 30 that make me feel downright zingy:

[And yes, I alphabetized. I dream of being an organized person, you know.]

1.  Badass

Badassery is a highly underrated quality, in my opinion. It encompasses many other qualities. I read a book on the topic I think y’all would love: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.

2.  Brave

The dictionary says this means: “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.” To me, bravery means doing things that scare you.


3.  Capable

I like to learn new things…except for those times when I don’t. You know what I mean. The things you must do and basic skills you must master to do this adulting thing. You’ve gotta do them, even when you don’t enjoy them. To me, it’s a great compliment when someone says, “That chick is capable. She gets things done.”

4.  Competent

Competent is even better than capable. Think about how annoying incompetence is at work. Now think of the glow that comes with competence. Those are the people you want to hitch wagons with, whether it’s a scavenger hunt or something much much bigger.

5.  Confident

Who doesn’t want to be confident? To feel good about their decisions. This is a great word.

6. Cowbellish

Yup, you heard me. Full of cowbell. A person who really uses their studio space.

7.  Creative

Creative is fun. Creative ROCKS. Creativity is what most of us strive for. Why just settle for “thinking outside the box,” when you can walk all the way around the box and draw cool pictures?

8.  Disciplined

I dream of being an organized person and organization takes discipline. I’ll think, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to have a routine and a schedule?” However, my brain doesn’t work that way, so except for external things like deadlines and training classes, or internal things like mealtimes, my world is pretty much a free-for-all.

9. Dreamy

Daydreams are vital for creatives, as studies have proven our life satisfaction increases when we dream about those we know. For authors, that’s our characters. I get a lot of creative work done when I take time to dream.


10.  Empathetic

Everybody has a path of fire they must walk. You might not see it, you might not hear about it, but they have it. I’d like to be described as someone who could understand other peoples’ point of view and have empathy for their feelings.

11. Fabulous

Isn’t this a great word? Fab-you-lous! There’s so many ways to say this. Fab-uh-luss.

12.  Flexible

If Plan A doesn’t work, it’s nice to be flexible enough to go with Plan B. It makes life simpler when you can just go with the flowThis doesn’t mean being a pushover, it means being able to adjust.

Ultimately spiritual awareness unfolds when you’re flexible, when you’re spontaneous, when you’re detached, when you’re easy on yourself and easy on others. ~ Deepak Chopra

13. Friendly

Lots of words go with this – affable, warm, affectionate, outgoing, accessible. Friendly is a badass word. And who doesn’t want to live a life filled with badassery? (see #1)

14. Funny

You’re at More Cowbell! Of course “funny” is the best word in the dictionary.


15. Groovy

I know Groovy is a Java programming language, but that’s not how I mean it. I’m thinking the traditional meaning: fashionable and exciting (she’s sporting a groovy new haircut) or enjoyable and excellent (she grew all the groovy plants herself). Groove-y.

16. Hardworking

I respect people who work their a$$es off. I just do. I might not be the most organized gal, but I can outwork just about anybody.

17. Independent

I freely admit to being afraid of heights, but do you know my deep-down-super-secret fear? Being homeless and dependent on others. I’m a huge fan of independence.

18. Interesting

Every blogger or writer wants to be interesting. To arouse curiosity or interest, to hold or catch attention with my words.

19. Inventive

In the same ballpark as “creative” or “flexible,” inventive takes things a few steps further. Instead of thinking outside the box, you have the ability to think of a new way to use the box. Perhaps an entirely new box might come into being. I love this word.

20. Kind

Yesterday was World Kindness Day and, after the week this country just had, I don’t think kindness can be over-emphasized. Be kind, y’all. Be kind whenever and wherever you can.


21. Loving

As Maya Angelou says, “be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Just love them. We all have enough rain clouds in our lives.

22.  Nice

I think people underestimate the power of niceness. It’s different from kindness, which often requires more thought and effort. In business, nice will win every time. There’s great books written about the Power of Nice.

23. Nurturing

To nurture is to cherish, help or encourage. Do this with your family and your friends. Believe me, they will pass it on. Do this for yourself . That’s the logical place to start, and typically where I fail. There are entire Pinterest boards on nurturing yourself. I’ve followed them!

24. Phenomenal

Maya Angelou says this wa-a-a-ay better than I do.

25. Quirky

I love this word. Unusual. Eccentric. Unexpected. Roll this in with some fun and you’ve got quirky.

26. Restful

I’m craving restful after the election season we just had. Everyone has been hopped up for days. Quiet and soothing (restful) sound delightful right about now.

27. Sexy

Some days you’ve just got to have your hottie pants on. Celebrate yourself, and share your sexy with the world.

28. Smart

Perhaps I should have said shrewd or astute. Intelligence is grand, but the common sense to go with it is what brings people up to the level of  “smart.” I like smart.

29. Tough

Some people might call this fortitude. “Mental toughness” is what helps people cope with difficult situations. I don’t mean hard or jaded, but rather having healthy personal boundaries. That makes “tough” the highest of compliments.

“Being physically tough is measured by how many fights you win, but mental toughness is measured by how you react when all the chips are stacked against you, how fast you get back on track when life kicks you in the nuts. Any fool can win a fight, but it takes a person with true grit to never give up when all seems lost.” Benjamin Bayani, The Nation

30. Zany

I dig this word…I had to include it. Who doesn’t want to be described as “amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic.” Zany is full of awesome sauce.

How about you? What is you favorite word on this list? What are some of the words you’d like to be described with? Enquiring minds love to hear about these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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33 Responses to 30 Things I’d Rather Be Called than Pretty

  1. You are badass! Hear you rawr!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love your list! And thank you, thank you, thank you for NOT including ‘feisty’ or ‘sassy’!!! Those two words send me into Hulk-mode! 😄

    Yep, you are badass! 👍😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You just may be all those things, Jenny.


  4. markbialczak says:

    Add for you, a No. 31. Witty. That springs to my mind when I read your posts, Jenny, to go along with the rest of your list.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you are indeed badass. Most of my friends are badass. My fav? “Some days you’ve just got to have your hottie pants on.” Right? BAM!

    I pronounce you all of the 30 words you listed above. Keep on rocking on with your groovy, badass self. However, I might give you a run for your money on that outworking anybody statement. Watch yourself. Them’s fighting words.

    Have a super, duper, peaceful, fantastic week.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I love a good BAM, if you know what I mean. LOLOL. (Sorry, it had to be said.)

      I see what you are up to with that inn, and yes, you more than give me a run for my money. I must bow before the owner of the Baer House. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My new mantra is to “put your hottie pants on.” Many thanks my underwear-panty-obsessed girlfriend! You rock all 30 of these.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Guat says:

    This is so freaking awesome! I love it! I am constantly praising people with stuff other than their looks. Yes … every once in a while people want to hear that they look pretty, or beautiful, GQ Magazine worthy, I know. But man! I definitely go with something of substance Badass, Cowbellish, Phenomenal, Tough, Funny, Empathetic … Dude those are amazing qualities and love this list and everything it represents. I totally try to tell my daughter she’s all these things and more. I’m glad there are other women out there sharing these lessons making sure the future knows that character outweighs looks every time. DUUUUUUUUUUUDE AWESOME POST!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Guat! I believe that – that the only way to make sure they know that character is more important is to praise it. I love when parents praise kindness, compassion, good decisions, responsible behavior. It’s the only way kids learn to value more than those looks that will fade with time or illness.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Quirky. I am definitely a fan of quirky. Because, you know, why be normal? Quirky is waaaay better! #EmbraceYourWeird!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That is an awesome list! Way to empower girls, Jenny!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. yvettecarol says:

    Excellent post! Have you ever read the article that was going round Twitter for a while about “JK. Rowling’s badassery” Jenny? It perfectly demonstrates the very qualities I’m sure you’d admire. And anyone who can coin the term, “Hottie Pants” gets my vote. Jenny for President! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      No!! But now I’ll have to go look – thanks, Yvette. LOL…we haven’t had tons of great candidates for Prez in many years. I still want to vote for Bayard/Lamb on every ticket. Perhaps if they ran as the Hottie Pants duo, they’d finally have a shot. 🙂


      • Piper Bayard says:

        The Hottie Pants Duo! Nothing sexist there, right? . . . Still Foxie with Moxie, though, and Blonde is the New Black. Thank you for your vote! I will continue doing everything I’ve been doing for the past four years to earn it. . . . Will maybe even crochet a pair of Hottie Pants. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jenny Hansen says:

          Haven’t we learned yet how sexist this country is? I’m not a huge Hillary fan, but she was definitely held to a different standard, as was Sarah Palin. I say, do whatever works to get some common sense into the Oval Office. It’s sadly lacking in there of late.


  11. Kelly Byrne says:

    You’re a total badass, Jenny. I love this post. The one from your list I would like most to be described as would be brave (that sentence gives me the fits, but I’m not fixin’ it ;)). On my best days I have been brave. As I’ve moved through different stages of my life I feel like I’ve become less so and I’d like to get back to being brave as much as possible. Thanks for the gentle reminder. Oh and zany – because right? Who doesn’t want to be? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: 20 Qualities That Are More Imporant Than “Pretty” – #BOAW16 | Jenny Hansen's Blog

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