Operation Beautiful

Posted on | May 23, 2011 | 8 Comments

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About a month ago, a post-it note popped up on bathroom mirror while I was at department store trying on some True Religion jeans. In simple script it read” YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, NO MATTER WHAT SIZE YOU ARE! STAY STRONG!” This is just one of thousands such notes working to spread positivity around the world through Operation Beautiful.

The tenets of the mini-movement are simple: Post a note in a public place that will help build others up. Stop putting yourself and others down about appearances. Believe and spread the word that everyone is beautiful; no change is required.

It’s a message women around the world are craving and it’s having an impact.

The reason I find this movement so powerful is that I can’t stand that most women look in the mirror and see our flaws, all of our faults. Ask almost any women what they would change about themselves and what they hate about their body and they could come up with 10 things within 30 seconds. Ask the same women the question about what they love about themselves and their body and you might get one or two answers within four minutes of thinking really hard.

I have struggled with a positive body image all my life. When I was a dancer/model in New York, I was told that I was not skinny enough, that I didn’t get a catwalk job because my eye color was wrong, that I could get the Versace runway show if I just lost another 10 pounds (for the record, when I was a dancer I weighed 115 and I am 5’10). I was very thin, but never thin enough, always surrounded by prettier models or better dancers.

I recently went to a plastic surgeon to see about getting a small amount of lipo done. Yes, I am a Jazzercise instructor and am in good shape, but when you have kids, there are some things that diet and exercise will never get rid of. Here is the kicker- I told the plastic surgeon what I wanted done and why, he examined me and then told me to get dressed and he will be back in 10 minutes. He came back in the room with a photo album and told me to look at the before and after pictures of his lipo patients. I did and he asked, “After looking at those photos, I want to ask you again, why are you in here?” I told him again about my small amount of my body I wanted taken away. He looked at me and said, “The pictures of the women I showed you did not need lipo. No one needs lipo, but they had a huge amount of fat on their body and I did the surgery to help they feel better about themselves. You have no business being in any plastic surgeons office for this surgery. You need to look at those pictures again and then look at yourself. I can not help you. My clients would give anything to have your little problem.”

I am not telling you this story to brag AT ALL about what the surgeon said to me. I was lucky that I walked into an honest surgeons office. No, I did not need lipo. Plus, after lipo, I still wouldn’t be satisfied. I would want botox for my crow’s feet, etc. Where would it end?

That was the day the lightbulb went off in my head. I tell my Jazzercise students that we are all here for different goals and that whatever your goals are, to be proud that you are taking the time to do something good for yourself and your body. Exercise because it is needed, not to make you one day look like Angelina Jolie.

Here is one post it note I placed at the center where I teach..

The idea of Operation Beautiful stemmed from a single post-it note message Caitlin stuck on a public mirror and put on her personal blog. Her readers loved the idea. From there the movement took off.

She’s all about true positive reinforcement. Caitlin says she believes so many of the positive body image messages in magazines are still negative at their root. Ideas like you are beautiful but it would be good if you tone up. Or size doesn’t matter but you need to eat healthier to lose some weight. “The message is that you are never good enough. It is really refreshing to read you are perfect the way you are and there is nothing you need to do to fix it.”

Operation Beautiful has received notes from people in Japan, Canada, Germany, Singapore, South America, Spain, the United States and Australia. Every age group is getting behind the inspirational messages too, women from 8 to 65 have emailed Caitlin about their encounter with an uplifting message.

Post a note. Spread some positivity. As one of the participants said, “If I can make even one girl like me feel better about herself for even a moment, it is worth it.”

Operation Beautiful is simple: all you need is a pen and a piece of paper. If you want to join the mission, send an e-mail at OperationBeautiful@gmail.com with a photograph of your Operation Beautiful note or a description of your experience, and they will post it on the Operation Beautiful site for thousands of others to read and enjoy!


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8 Responses to “Operation Beautiful”

  1. AW
    May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

    This is such a brilliant idea. I admit that I count my flaws more often than I count my blessings. My new roommate asked me what my 3 strengths were and I couldn’t even answer that… Perhaps, as well as encouraging women to accept their outward appearance something should be done to encourage people to see themselves for what they are within. I spent several days thinking about this question and I struggled to formulate my answer. I got there eventually but ask me that question again and I won’t be able to give you an answer straight away.

  2. Paralegal
    May 24th, 2011 @ 12:07 am

    Thanks AW! I think it is a great idea and carry post it’s and a sharpie in purse anytime I go somewhere just in case I can stick up a positive message.
    This was a hard post to write. It was very personal, so I really appreciate you seeing the beauty of the project as well.

  3. Anni
    May 24th, 2011 @ 5:37 am

    I friggin’ love Operation Beautiful.

    There was also a photo project done along the same lines, but with words from a novel.


  4. Poonam
    May 24th, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

    I love this idea. It is really beautiful. I find it so hard having a boyfriend who appreciates me no matter what or how I look and I can not realise it.

  5. Paralegal
    May 25th, 2011 @ 1:42 am

    I totally agree. When HSF touches my stomach, I cringe and want to slap his hand away, but he states he loves everything about me.
    That is something that I do not understand. If I hate it, he should too, right? It is a very hard concept for me to grasp.

  6. Momalegal
    May 25th, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

    This is so awesome, thank you so much for posting it!  There are so many women who don’t see how beautiful and wonderful they really are.  Including me.  :) I love this idea and I can’t wait to be able to pass it along!

  7. Christy
    May 26th, 2011 @ 1:39 am

    I love this!  I am putting some post-its in my purse with messages & putting them everywhere I can.  This is great!

  8. DenPL
    May 26th, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

    Awesome!!!  And perfect timing!  I have a gorgeous friend that can’t even look in the mirror and say something nice about herself…  so – I’m gonna plaster these everywhere I think she might be :)  And, tonight is karaoke – so look out!  I think there’s a “Beautiful” song out there waiting for her too.

    You rock!

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