By Alexis Wolfer

As you often hear us say, beauty is about much more than your glowing good looks. But oh how hard it is to keep that in mind when we see the stick-thin models strutting the runways at NY Fashion Week or even just flip through our favorite monthly glossies. And while we certainly don’t deny that beautifying, pampering, sweating, nourishing and lusting are good for our bodies, souls and – what can we say – even our good looks, our confidence can nevertheless suffer when inundated with unrealistic body ideals. As many of our loyal readers already know, what sets The Beauty Bean apart from other women’s lifestyle publications is our goal of promoting better body image and preventing eating disorders through our no weight loss policy and our ban on body-altering airbrushing. Someone else taking on this same cause: Caitlin Boyle of Operation Beautiful.

For many years, Caitlin (along with, I’m sure, most of us) was convinced that she needed to “fix” herself; that she needed to be thinner, smarter, funnier and more successful.  Sitting in class one night and fed up with the pressure both she and other women feel to be “perfect,” Caitlin was inspired to write “You are beautiful” on a post-it and stick it to a mirror in the bathroom. She took a picture, posted it on her personal blog and asked her readers to participate. Within a few days, her inbox was flooded with similar pictures and Operation Beautiful was born.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, and the self-confidence of many women (especially us single gals) just as quickly falling, both Operation Beautiful and The Beauty Bean encourage you to channel Caitlin’s message and give compliments and confidence as valentines this year. Post a note in a public restroom, place one anonymously on the desk of a co-worker or even just write a note of encouragement to yourself (as I did with a note I placed on my scale that read “weight doesn’t equal worth” – before, of course, throwing my scale away as suggested in “The Weight of the Scale”).

Don’t get us wrong, we’re absolutely lusting for new beauty products this Valentine’s Day (and hoping some of our secret admirers have read our articles on great gifts to give women), but we also know that confidence is the greatest gift you can give. So jot down words of encouragement, take a picture, email it to Caitlin and join the Operation Beautiful mission.

If a post-it can marry Meredith and McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy, who knows what else it can ultimately do…

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