20 Qualities That Are More Imporant Than “Pretty” – #BOAW17

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes…the place where love resides.” — Sam Levenson

A while back, I did a post on 30 Things I’d Rather Be Called than Pretty, based on a post by Oddysey Magazine on this topic. I’ve pondered it ever since. Why is pretty so important in our society? I’ve watched friends age, lose breasts, gain breasts, lose weight, gain weight…and none of it affected their beauty.

It’s changed the questions I ask about perception. 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. What qualities combine to make a soul shine from a person’s face? What strengths hold them up when the world beats them down?

20 qualities more important than beauty:

1.  Badassery

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

2.  Bravery

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.  Competence

Think about how annoying incompetence is…at work, at home, or out in the world. 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.

4.  Confidence

Who doesn’t want to be confident? To feel good about their decisions. This is a quality that will elevate you to greatness if you back it up with competence.

5. Cowbell

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

6.  Creativity

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?

7.  Discipline

I dream of being an organized person and organization takes discipline. Discipline and hard work will take you further than talent every time.

8. Dreaminess

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.


9.  Empathy

Everybody has a path of fire they must walk. You might not see it, you might not hear about it, but they have it. People who understand other peoples’ point of view and have empathy for their feelings are beautiful.

10.  Flexibility

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. People who can adjust are more peaceful, and peace shines like a beacon out of your eyes.

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

11. Friendly

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

12. Hardworking

See #7!

13. 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 people like this, and they’re the ones you want to be around.

14. Kindness

Every year I try to celebrate World Kindness Day. After the last few months this country just had, I don’t think kindness can be over-emphasized. Be kind, y’all. Be kind whenever and wherever you can. Kindness is beautiful.


15. 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.

16.  Nice

I think people underestimate the beauty and 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.

17. 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 . Nurturing will add to the beauty of your soul. That’s the logical place to start, and where most of us fail.

18. Sexy

Some days you’ve just got to wear your hottie pants. Celebrate yourself, and share your sexy with the world. Sexy is beautiful.

19. Smart

Intelligence is grand, but the common sense to go with it is what brings people up to the level of  “smart.” I like smart, and smart is way better than pretty.

20. 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

Beauty is kindness. Beauty is courage. Beauty is love.

What says “beauty” to you? Share it in the comments, and please visit the Beauty of a Woman blogfest today at August McLaughlin’s place. She has an “original” BOAW category and a GirlBoner version. This post is a tiny little part of the original category, but I encourage you to visit them all this week.

Go spread some love today, and wallow in your own beauty.

~ Jenny

Here are some BOAW entries from previous years:

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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36 Responses to 20 Qualities That Are More Imporant Than “Pretty” – #BOAW17

  1. Kelly Byrne says:

    Love this post, Jenny, and I 110% agree that every one of these qualities is far more important and impressive than being ‘pretty.’ Physical beauty is not inspiring in any way to me – it just is. We don’t have much control over it, really. Why not focus on the things that will make us truly better human beings and more inspiring and inspired in the end? Good stuff. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bren says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Jenny! You rock, girl!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Beauty is subjective and in the eye of the beholder. It also fades (or has to be regularly maintained! LOL!)

    The media and the public have been singing the beauty praises of certain females and males like hymns, and I’m sitting over here like, “What am I missing? Looks mean nothing when carpet has more character.”

    Definitely prefer someone to have strength of character and teaches me something and/or inspires me.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What an impressive post. Wise and educational to the same time. Reading this just gave me a lot! Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Such a great list! I’m a big fan of all of these. 🙂 You say “beauty” to me all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Musa Masala says:

    Yes, brave and strong are beautiful! We see much of this in Nepal.


  7. MichaelEdits says:

    This should be mandatory reading for all women and girls. And guys, too. Guys oughta be beautiful too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jenny! I’m slowly tip-toeing back to life, and I’m so glad to see you here.

    So here’s the thing. I’m done being nice. I’ll be kind, but I’ve found that nice people tend to get walked on. A lot. Soooo… I’m kind of a bitch these days. Maybe it’s a bit of a protective shell, but I don’t want to do anything that I don’t want to do anymore; I did that for 20 years – and sometimes that means saying HELL NO! So I love everything on this list, except I take issue with nice.

    Also, I need more cowbell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I absolutely understand why nice wigs you out a bit these days.

      Ponder this (and this is only my opinion): nice without good boundaries = pushover. Nice with healthy personal boundaries = warmth and peace. The boundary issues are almost always what make “nice” extraordinarily painful.


  9. shanjeniah says:

    Our cowbell’s on the table in the family room, among rhythm sticks, rocks, fossils, pinecones, and quite possibly a cat.

    I love this list. LOVE this list. I need to come see you more often!

    For my girl, about to be a teen, I often use sassy,smart, fierce, strong, bold, daring, funny, determined, ood friend, and other words of that ilk. Sometimes, too, I tell her she’s beautiful, because it matters to her how she looks. But that’s never my focus, because, to me, her beauty goes so much deeper than the surface.

    I’ll be coming back to check your links once I’ve made all the rounds!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. K.B. Owen says:

    Fab post, Jenny! On a good day – maybe – I have about half of these traits, LOL. Badassery is still a work in progress for me! *wink*

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Diana Beebe says:

    I love this (and you) so much, Jenny! It’s so important for our daughters to know that beauty comes from these wonderful qualities and not from physical appearance.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Love your list! These are so much more interesting and meaningful… love your humor!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Kimberly, your BOAW post brought me over to you and I LOVED it. Thanks so much for stopping by! We like humor over here. And there is much talk about life’s crazy and bizarre underpants. 🙂


  13. April Davila says:

    A writing teacher once told me that the worst way to describe a character is as “pretty.” What could be more forgettable? Seriously. Her advice, if you want someone to be interesting from the minute they walk into a scene? Give them a big fat scar. Because that person has a story to tell. (As real people, we may not want scars, but I think the rule of pretty being boring works well all the same.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s wonderful advice, April. Your writing teacher was obviously brilliant. As my pal Laura likes to say, “Don’t show me the soldier. Show me what’s in his pocket.” We all love a good theme, motif and symbol for this exact reason: it’s more interesting. 🙂


  14. Jenny ~ I love the thoughtful intelligence of your post. What an amazing list to inspire everyone ~ female and male. I’m sharing this and sending it to my kids and grandchildren. Thank you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’d like to add Resilience and Laughter to this Acca-awesome list. (Yes, I’m preparing for Pitch Perfect 3 to release.)

    Liked by 1 person

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