There's TONS of pressure in our culture, particularly on women, to subscribe to some kind of an airbrushed ideal of beauty. It's everywhere and can make even the loveliest and most handsome among us wince. Although I, like many of you, want to do what I can to look my best, so much of what makes a man or woman attractive is in how they live, what they do, and how they treat other people.

I believe one of the reasons people find East Texans so charming is because this idea of inner beauty and hospitality is part of how we are raised. Occasionally people from other areas mistake this as "fakery," and in some cases it may be. However, I've found that in most cases, East Texans do their best to live by a certain standard of graciousness that many will find compelling. So yeah, I believe "pretty is as pretty does."

I've met many beautiful people who, upon speaking with them, immediately seem less attractive simply because of the way they interact with the world. The opposite holds true in my opinion, as well. You may meet someone who isn't a "10" by some manufactured societal standard, but when you get to know them you are charmed and they immediately become someone you'd like to get to know.

So, for anyone wanting a refresher or recent transplants to the area who wonder about some ways to incorporate more inner beauty or handsome, here's a few examples of how it plays out in real life.

"Pretty (or handsome) is as pretty does" means: 

Being considerate & thoughtful. Have you ever spent time with someone who has sincerely good manners? It's a charming and delightful experience. Focusing on how to make someone feel at ease, welcome, and appreciated is one of the most attractive traits you can have. Of course, don't let this turn into "people pleasing." When it goes too far in the other direction and you put yourself last, it becomes awkward. People want you to like yourself, too. But, treating others as the VIP's they are is "beautiful."

Pick up the phone and call or visit someone who is struggling. People are social creatures and we need each other. Taking a moment out of your busy day to reach out to someone, even just for a few moments, can mean the world to someone--especially in person or on the phone so they can hear your actual human voice.

Do your best to harbor friendly, positive thoughts. Now, this may sound "woo-woo" to some, but I have found this to be a universal truth. When you dwell on what is good and uplifting, it starts to show in your face--almost like a glow. You've probably interacted with people like this and I bet you found yourself drawn to them.

Greet people you encounter with a smile. How many times have we heard this? Very often, when you make it a point to smile and acknowledge someone in a friendly way, it not only helps them and makes them more open to speaking with you, I think you'll find it makes you feel better, too.

Don't gossip and speak kindly to everyone. I don't care if it's the CEO of your company or a stranger on the street selling balloons. Everyone has value. When you treat someone with courtesy, they'll definitely be more likely to treat you in the same manner. Don't expect that, though. Do it because that's a beautiful way to be. NOT because you expect something back--that's not beautiful at all.

What are some other things you could add to this list, East Texas?