The Woman You Praised

Cleopatra in Wiki

Cleopatra in Wiki

The one thing she wasn’t known for was a beautiful face but people – men in particular – were arrested by her presence, charisma, eloquence, and intellect. Cleopatra was captivating with a beauty only she could claim.

What is the greatest compliment you have received as a woman or paid one?

Though I have never known myself to be particularly attractive, in years past I’ve admittedly found the attention of men flattering. I don’t see that it wouldn’t be. It’s a confession that doesn’t sound politically correct against the backdrop of the many popular posts defending inner beauty and self-acceptance. I was startled by the realization this week that you also have all made me feel very beautiful. While male bloggers may enjoy affection or encouragement from their readers, they are not going to say we made them feel so lovely. Julius Caesar attracted people with the same qualities Cleopatra boasted but he wasn’t thought to be bewitching. What I’m getting at is that while the attributes that draw our admiration for both sexes will often reflect things deeper than skin, we praise men and women differently. We’ll choose language that polarizes gender. Certainly the very point of feminist contention, but I’d like you to think about – without worry over judgment – the most flattering or ennobling praise you’ve received not only as a person but as a woman. Or given to a woman, whether it’s something that affirms, emboldens, or redefines her femininity. We had fun with the posts where I swore I was a man. My husband would love it if I were softer. If I had to choose, I would rather have respect than love. Give me brains over beauty any day – a vote for myself and the female race. And more than traits, virtues like wisdom and integrity obviously merit recognition and make us really lovely. But even I can’t help but feel more womanly, and therefore more in touch with myself as a person, when I feel not only appreciated or liked but beautiful inside and out.

207 thoughts on “The Woman You Praised

  1. When you feel good, you look good is something I always say and believe it deep within. Though I’ve received many compliments on my appearance from men and women I’ve had instances where I felt a little uncomfortable and didn’t really believe it. Then there’s been times when a sincere comliment lifted my spirits and made me feel special. But, when I feel particularly good I’m so confident that it dosn’t matter how I appear because I know that what I’m feeling on the inside is apparent on the outside.

    The most memorable compliment I received was from a woman who approached me and said that I had the most beautiful face she’d ever seen. I was so taken aback because she went out of her way to come to over the car I was sitting in while waiting for someone that I couldn’t help it but I was beaming. Especially because my boyfriend at the time (a total narcissist and the idiot I was waiting for) was not good for my ego. Yes I eventually dumped him because I knew I could do better.

  2. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. You are beautiful inside and out and God gave you a gift with the mighty pen to share the beauty in the words you write. ❤

  3. I don’t think I’d like to choose between either ‘respect’ or ‘love.’ Hopefully, you if love someone, you respect them. I’ve always found it difficult to love people (even close family members) who I didn’t respect.

    Sexual love is another whole pot of soup. You can be infatuated or feel lust toward someone you don’t respect them. But love? I’m not so sure.

    Let’s see… compliment paid to me? There have been some, for sure, but the only one that stands out in my memory as a surprising one is standing in line one time with a girlfriend, waiting to purchase movie tickets. A young man stood in front of me, and he kept staring at me. At the time, I found it very annoying and finally I looked at him directly, ready to ask him if he realized staring was rude. Instead, he took the wind out of my angry sails by saying, “I’m sorry if it seems I’ve been staring at you, but you have the most beautiful eyes.”

    It wasn’t a line; he didn’t ask me out. He was just nice. (Nicer than me!)

    The memory, a trivial one, has always stayed with me.

  4. Ah, Diana, please ignore my use of the extra ‘them’ after the word respect. I’d meant to delete that and failed to do so. An edit key! An edit key! My kingdom for an edit key! (with apologies to Mr. Shakespeare)

    • Omg…I am so !@#%! tired this morning and nothing from your comment set off the alarm in my deadened brain. LOL. Please…don’t be tip-toeing here! I may edit it to make you feel better and delete this part of the exchange.

  5. I am not sure when was the greatest compliment I received….but I need to remember it’s my partner who accepts my own beauty for who I am even now.

  6. Paradoxically, this is piercing while this piece comes across to me as a balm, a soothing balm. Cleopatra as a metaphor (?) or better yet an example brings something sacred to the blog and elusive. More to say, but enough has been said. Peace.

  7. I told this girl I appreciate her support she was giving me. I’m in a reggae band & she kept screaming my name. Long story short; she makes me feel like I’m on cocaine & I’ve never taken it & I don’t ever plan to. I feel like her inner & outter beauty are perfectly the same & that she’s one of the coolest girls I’ve ever met & to be around. I would never dream of telling her these things because she has a boyfriend & I don’t ever want to come between them & I think they suit eachother well. We’re studying together & I try to avoid her just to stay focused but my heart screams & my brain dreams & I’d feel ashamed if she ever found this out LOL

  8. I guess, depite which gender one is, or identifies with, the Fact of LIfe that a friend joked to me, is that as one gets older, the naughty bits rot of first. I guess my point it is kinda silly to be vain. If one lives a long, long life it seems to me that the body is not as attractive as it once was. I am beginning to understand what my grandma meant when she told me that “youth” is a state of mind. She said she was young at age 91. I finally understood, when I rememebered how I played , joyously creatively played at the age of 4. That I still remember and can go there and harness that playfulness..before I lived terrible things, and cleared that past away, and I remember the joy of youth..and now I can go there whenever I want to..(that is my contribution to the discussion..thank)

    • I really appreciate the three cents, Ted. You touch on something big, actually. I marvel watching my boy PLAY. And play and laugh and imagine so freely with his friend. It is sad how we let go of this capacity for free joy and lightness with age. Thank you for the follow. Welcome to A Holistic Journey. =)


  9. What a fantastic question! I too used to shun any attention that was not intellectually based, as I considered it somehow diminished me or shifted focus away from “what matters”. Now I’ve done a complete about face. I used to strive for complete equality in all things, but hidden in that goal was the foundational misunderstanding (that I had) that men and women were innately the same – or perhaps they should be – and if there was any evidence of being different (particularly on the part of the woman), then it should be moulded back into a more masculine ideal. Now I’ve swung around to the idea of the many delightful innate differences between the genders and I actively try and celebrate those. One of those things is female beauty – and now I cherish it in myself and others, as well as appreciate immensely when it is recognised by men. I think this needs to be done with an abundance mentality and not one of scarcity. The only danger I see in praising for beauty is if it is done at the expense of praising for other things. I think there can’t be enough praise for either gender and one of the delights of being a woman is our ability to beautify our surroundings and ourself. I think we should revel in it and allow others the joy of revelling in it to! 🙂 Thanks for the wonderful thought provoking post!

    • I love not only appreciate your reflections, Laura, but how you came into them (so slowly). “Equal” does not (have to) mean same. “Different” is not a value judgmt!

      “I think there can’t be enough praise for either gender” Excellent. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree with your take on the particular gift women have for embodying and nurturing beauty. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback.

      Thanks so much for the follow. Welcome!


  10. Reblogged this on Debbie Cerrito and commented:
    The post by this author says it all. Everyone wants to be appreciated, but sometimes, as a woman it’s difficult to be considered a deep thinker. We must remember to aim high and forge ahead anyhow.

      • I meant how woman are perceived by men and how woman perceive themselves. How we feel we have to look a certain way to make someone else happy.
        I think it is a good thing to stay fit and healthy, and looking good is nice, but not every woman is so lucky.

      • Wonderful and insightful. Thank you! You raise a question. Given that most men are simply more visual by design (and simpler!) and sustain their affections according to what they see, is it wrong (or is it not…wise?) to keep yourself from letting go? (This from a woman who tends to let it go!)

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