There’s something so simple and yet so complete about ‘beautiful.’ Many women in their youth prefer to be called pretty, but in later years, they tend to prefer being called beautiful. Why? Anyone can be pretty.. but beautiful generally requires that certain “je ne sais quoi.”
When I was in China, nearly everyone called me beautiful and it was such an amazing surprise (not to mention an enormous boost to my already substantial ego). While walking around Chinatown, my sister and I went into a corner gift shop and bought a few small items. The sales lady hung around us, asking questions, before asking if we were sisters. When I smiled and told her we were twins, she was shocked, but also mentioned “so beautiful, you both!” Now I know that this lady was trying to get us to buy merchandise, but I doubt that she tells every woman who walks into the shop that they’re beautiful. What I think truly grasped her attention was that I was wearing nice clothes with a hijab that matched what I was wearing. She kept complimenting the purple of my hijab, as well as the sparkles, and being so excited that I wasn’t wearing a while one (Chinese Muslim women tend to only wear white hijabs, as is their culture).
Let me add in a quick disclaimer. Hijab is not to protect men; rather, it is meant as an honor for women. Now as someone who’s somewhat decent looking (thanks, mom!), I’ll admit to taking my appearance for granted. It’s hard sometimes to cover up my ‘beauty’ with a veil, or a hijab, as a Muslim woman (my sister does not; it’s a choice), but getting these random compliments from strangers really brightens up my day. At the same time, it’s nice to be reminded that the hijab gives honor and respect through modesty, and that a woman’s inner beauty still shines through. Never underestimate the power of a smile 🙂
Have a lovely rest of the week!