How do you define beauty?

What comes to mind when you’re asked to define a woman’s beauty? When I think of the most beautiful women in my life, these are the descriptive words I would use:

Character * Wisdom * Caring Smile * Strength * Confidence * Sincerity * Compassionate * Determined * Genuine

Some of the moments I have felt most beautiful are when I’ve accomplished something challenging:  in school, in my work as a social worker fighting for those without a voice, or in sports and running.  The most recent experiences were my first marathon a year ago, and my first triathlon this summer.

Both took discipline, training, and hard work.  Both left me feeling strong, determined, and confident.

The things that have made me feel strong, confident, and determined this week are mostly physical:

  • the amazing feeling post-run, coming in the door sweaty and happy
  • connecting with the participants in my spin class
  • running 800 repeats last night with a new running group
  • connecting with friends, my husband, my daughter through a shared meal or special family activity

Research shows that an active lifestyle boosts a young girl’s confidence and self esteem, making her more likely to be successful in school and to be content with herself.  Now as a mom of a little girl, I want that for my daughter! Whether or not she plays sports, I want her to find her strength and know her worth and her beauty comes from within.

It’s certainly true that not every woman will find her strength and confidence through a physical outlet, but I think it’s safe to say that those who do pursue a physical goal will also find a new-found appreciation of self.

Have you seen the What’s Beautiful campaign at Under Armour? I love that they are challenging women to redefine beauty, and to realize how physically strong they are.  Anyone can join- you simply set a personal goal and document your journey with videos or photos along the way.

Each week, Under Armour is giving out swag bags of gear to women who are crushing their goals.  On November 6, they will select the top 20 women and choose the final ten a few weeks later to win a trip to Florida to work with elite trainers and nutrition experts and to be pampered with spa treatments!

Even if you are not interested in signing up, it’s inspiring to follow these women on their journeys and consider your own goals.

Personally, I’m getting excited (and nervous) about a ten mile race one week from Sunday!  And beyond that, I am considering working my way back up to another full marathon in January.  I still want to smash my last time and qualify for Boston.  And I plan to feel beautiful and strong in the process!

What words would you use to define beauty?

Does physical activity make you feel strong and confident and beautiful?

 Fitfluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. All opinions are my own.


63 thoughts on “How do you define beauty?

  1. I agree – exercise and an active lifestyle can boost so much self-esteem and confidence in a young girl (and boys)! As I have been going to my daughter’s Taekwondo classes over the last couple of weeks, I’ve thought about that even more. Some of the kids are better than others at it, some are more naturals, but they all seem to walk away at the end of each session feeling good about themselves. Good luck going for that Boston qualifier!
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  2. Excellent! I love what UA is doing with this. All of us, kids especially, are so full of potential but often lack the confidence to reach it. To me beauty is strength, passion, compassion, perseverance and grace.
    Marcia recently posted..What Not to Wear?My Profile

    • Thank you, Joann! That’s so great your daughter is already involved in so many physical activities. I didn’t really start sports until middle school, but I think I could have benefited from something else before that.
      Laura recently posted..How do you define beauty?My Profile

  3. Love your post too! I love the words you used to describe beautiful!

    Beauty to me i my family, my happiness I spread to others, and just life!

  4. This is so true! I feel so confident when I am active, especially when I am running. Something about pushing my body further than I ever thought it could go is beautiful:) The Under Armour campaign sounds awesome!
    hikermom recently posted..Three Things ThursdayMy Profile

  5. Love this post. I know I feel beautiful and happy when I focus on what I can do with my body, as opposed to what it looks like. I hope that will come through for my daughter through osmosis and modeling! I wish I had stuck with sports more as a teenager, I’m sure it would have helped get me through those years.

    Good luck with your ten mile race! I miss speed work with a running club…what’s more fun than that?

    • I definitely think the sports I participated in got me through the teenage years. 🙂 Yes! Speed work with them was so fun- I’m hoping I can go more regularly. I need that accountability. It’s pretty miserable doing speed work alone!
      Laura recently posted..How do you define beauty?My Profile

  6. As a coach, I totally agree with you about sports building self esteem in girls and boys. I see it every day, especially in the girls as they go from shy freshmen to confident young women in a few years.

    As for the definition of beautiful, beauty really does come from within. It sounds cliche, but as I was reading your post, I thought of people I’ve known over the years and how they become either more or less beautiful in my mind based on what kind of people they really are.

    I love the Under Armour campaign. I love companies that “get it” about supporting women and their goals.
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    • I love that you get to see that confidence grow in young girls through your job… how cool is that?
      Yes- the beauty from within is definitely cliche but true… so much of beauty comes from our character. Which is great, because we can change and grow in that area much more than we can change our physical appearance!
      Laura recently posted..How do you define beauty?My Profile

  7. This is such a great post Laura. I totally agree how active lifestyles can boost confidence and self-esteem. I know that I definitely felt that when I was younger. I love this Under Armour campaign and how it’s brought female athletes together to really strong their strong. For me, beauty is strength, wisdom, love, intention, grace, compassion…
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    • I’m glad you threw your son in there, we can’t completely leave boys out of this cultural battle of beauty and whether or not looks matter. I know you’re setting an awesome example for them. Just having a strong, confident mom goes a long way for a child’s self esteem as well. Have a great weekend, Angela!
      Laura recently posted..How do you define beauty?My Profile

  8. Great post, Laura! I love that you want to do what’s best for your daughter, that’s great!

    I definitely think that physical activity makes me feel strong, confident and beautiful (although sometimes the beautiful part happens after haha). I love how I feel because of swimming, biking and running, it is my way of life!
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  9. I love this post, Laura! Even though I don’t have a daughter, I think it is important and I do talk about things like this with my boys. I want them to learn it not only for themselves but also for what they see and look for in others.
    I too feel my most beautiful when I accomplish something difficult, often times it involves physical challenges.
    Such a great campaign.

    • Thank you! And I love that you talk about this with your boys, too. It’s so important to talk about beauty with them as well… they are just as susceptible to the skinny = beautiful message when they look at women, and can be advocates for healthy, genuine, strong woman in a unique way.
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  10. Beauty is *compassion*unconditional love*strength*courage

    Great Post Laura!!

    Physcial Activity does make me feel strong and beautiful as well as content. I will agree sports help keep young girls out of trouble. I played sports majority of high school and it helped keep me confident and content. When I quit basketball before my junior year I did start to get in some more “trouble” since my focus changed from sports to friends and then “partying”.

    I really like the new ads for Under Armour they are very inspiring! 🙂
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  11. I definitely feel like I’m at my best when I’m out on the road, cruising along : ) I haven’t seen that Under Armour campaign, but it sounds great!
    Michelle recently posted..TeachersMy Profile

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