Toned portrait of Father and daughter holding hand in hand at sunset
Image: Shutterstock/Katya Shut

When I had school dances and fancy balls to dress up for, I would get my hair done, pick out the perfect dress, carefully do my makeup and choose the right jewelry. Once I was ready I’d walk down the hall and zip past my brother and my mom—knowing that my mom would no doubt say I look stunning and ask me to pose for five photos on the spot. I would waltz straight to my dad and do a little twirl and wait for his response. My dad has always been a man of few, but always wise, words, and it was his approval I always sought most. This Father’s Day I want all girls to learn the wisdom that comes from an exceptional dad’s take on beauty. And most importantly, I want us to remember to bring this wisdom with us as adults instead of leaving it behind in our childhood, like so many of us are guilty of doing.

Imperfection is beautiful

The first lesson I learned from my dad happened after countless messy ponytails he tried to put together when my mom was out of town or running late. Every girl knows the struggle of perfecting a ponytail, but we’d be better off simply not caring about perfection when it comes to hair and makeup. Even when I looked a mess as a child, I was proud to wear the ponytail my dad had done. I was proud to wear the jewelry that was broken and then glued back together by my dad. Imperfection carries a story. It’s authentic. Perfection is boring.

You don’t need validation to be beautiful

As I grew up my worries became greater and my carefree spirit became more difficult to maintain. I learned that I can feel insecure, unlovable, jealous, and hurt. Whether it was from disappointments in relationships or failures in school and sports, I discovered that life is tough and that it is tempting to seek validation from others to replenish a dwindling self-confidence. When I first got my heart broken, it was my dad who reminded me of my worth and inner beauty. He reminded me I don’t need a boyfriend to live the best life—rather, I had everything I needed inside myself. Similarly, no amount of makeup, clothes or products can fix insecurity. Self-confidence begins and ends with how you love and care for yourself and your heart.

Beautiful women respect themselves

When I graduated college I learned there are far more things out there ready to break you—money, career choices, and toxic friendships to name a few. When I would ask my dad about the difficult questions in my life he would never steer me toward making more money or anything easy that would ultimately make me unhappy, but he would always give me the difficult answers. These were the answers that required the most personal strength, but gave me the greatest reward. It was my dad who gave me the courage to respect myself enough to make the right choices in my life. Beautiful women don’t coast through life, they own their lives.

Happy girls really are prettiest

Audrey Hepburn said it best, but my dad continued to remind me that being happy is more important than worrying about looks. From the rain ponchos we’d wear fishing in the rain to wind burns we’d have for hours after snow skiing, nothing could amount to the joy I felt doing something that truly made me happy. When you’re self-doubting, immerse yourself in an activity that will have you laughing and you’ll realize how small and meaningless your worries truly are.