"You're pretty."

This sentence is nothing more than three simple words: you, are, and pretty. Even though these words may not mean a great deal on their own, when they are put together, the sentence magically takes on a far greater meaning in today's society. Being told that you are pretty is a compliment, a validation, and a confidence booster. Hearing these three simple words is vital for young women to hear who are trying to gain self-confidence while finding their place in this world full of diversity and infinite possibilities or experiences.

In a world where there is so much diversity, it seems like such a shame that people try to fit into society's narrowly defined idea of what "pretty" is. Regardless of what society's definition is, everyone is unique and has their own personality, talents, and quirks that make them individually beautiful. For that reason, it's sad to think that the most meaningful compliment people think that they can receive is to be told that they are pretty. Hearing this compliment only reflects qualities that are only skin-deep, instead of hearing a compliment that is more meaningful and a better reflection of the person that they are.

As a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl I have heard those words countless times. Each time, I've taken those words as a compliment. Well, until I realized the other day that I am so much more than "just another pretty girl" and want to be seen by others as such. (Note: I'm not trying to sound condescending, I'm just trying to make a point). What I am trying to say is that when people first meet me, they seem to get lost in the fact that I am blonde and blue-eyed rather than getting to know the real me. Most people don't get past my facial features to realize that I am a girl who isn't a "dumb blonde," a girl who loves to be outdoors, a girl who loves to make people laugh, and a girl who loves to smile. Or a girl who has a passion for agriculture, a girl who has confidence in her self, a girl who is proud of the things that she accomplishes through hard-work, and a girl who falls in love with every puppy that she scrolls past on her Instagram feed.

I want people to know me as more than just the "pretty girl." I want to be the smart girl, the hard-working girl, the compassionate girl, or the optimistic girl. I want to be someone that has qualities that will be everlasting rather than those that are defined by a quality that will change by the time I'm seventy or even thirty-five for that matter. Please, don't misunderstand, being called pretty is not a bad thing by any means; however, making it be the most important characteristic you can possess is.

If being told pretty is what you want to hear, then go somewhere else, I'm not telling you that here. I want you to realize that being pretty is nice but it is a compliment that should come second to a compliment that defines who you are as a person because it is so much more meaningful.

So, I will tell you that you are a plethora of other qualities such as: caring, confident, creative, driven, honest, independent, intelligent, resourceful, strong-willed, thoughtful and trustworthy. Those are qualities that should make you feel worthwhile. Those are the qualities that you should strive to have and be complimented on because they are far more fulfilling than being told you are pretty could ever be.

In a world where people are judged for their appearance and only feel worthy if they are told that they are "pretty," please know two things. I hope people realize that there are other compliments that people can give to one other that are more meaningful. Furthermore, I hope everyone realizes that telling someone that they are pretty as a consolation for not be good as something else isn't a compliment. Someone's physical appearance has nothing to do with their intelligence or capabilities and for that reason, the two should never be compared. Next time you receive a compliment, I hope that the compliment is about your unique talents or attributes because you are so much more than just another pretty face.