30 Things I’d Rather Be Called than Pretty

by Jenny Hansen

Everyone has that one word that sets them off, for reasons that elude others. For some it’s “nice,” for others it might be “tall.” None of those words are bad, but have you considered what you’d rather be called than that word you hate? Oddysey’s post “30 Things I’d Rather Be Than ‘Pretty‘” got me thinking about this. It’s shocking how hard it was to come up with thirty.

How do I want to be perceived? How do I want my daughter to perceive herself?

Throughout her short life, I’ve worked to find other qualities to compliment my child about, rather than her looks. I tell her she’s smart, creative, responsible, grown-up, so cute. But what would I rather be called? What words make my soul light up and dance? 

Here are 30 that make me feel downright zingy.

[And yes, I alphabetized. I dream of being an organized person, you know.]

1.  Badass

Badassery is a highly underrated quality, encompassing many other qualities. I read a book on the topic I think y’all would love: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.

2.  Brave

The dictionary says this means: “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.” To me, bravery means doing things that scare you.


3.  Capable

I like to learn new things…except for those times when I don’t. You know what I mean. The things you must do and basic skills you must master to do this adulting thing. You’ve gotta do them, even when you don’t enjoy them.

4.  Competent

Competent is even better than capable. Think about how annoying incompetence is at work. Now think of the glow that comes with competence. Those are the people you want to hitch wagons with, whether it’s a scavenger hunt or something much much bigger.

5.  Confident

Who doesn’t want to be confident? To feel good about their decisions. This is a great word.

6. Cowbellish

Yup, you heard me. Full of cowbell. A person who really uses their studio space.

7.  Creative

Creative is fun. Creative ROCKS. Creativity is what most of us strive for. Why just settle for “thinking outside the box,” when you can walk all the way around the box and draw cool pictures?

8.  Disciplined

I dream of being an organized person and organization takes discipline. I’ll think, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to have a routine and a schedule?” However, my brain doesn’t work that way, so except for things like deadlines or mealtimes, my world is pretty much a free-for-all.

9. Dreamy

Daydreams are vital for creatives, as studies have proven our life satisfaction increases when we dream about those we know. For authors, that’s our characters. I get a lot of creative work done when I take time to dream.


10.  Empathetic

Everybody has a path of fire they must walk. You might not see it, you might not hear about it, but they have it. I’d like to be described as someone who understands other peoples’ point of view and has empathy for their feelings.

11. Fabulous

Isn’t this a great word? Fab-you-lous! There’s so many ways to say this. Fab-uh-luss.

12.  Flexible

If Plan A doesn’t work, it’s nice to be flexible enough to go with Plan B. It makes life simpler when you can just go with the flowThis doesn’t mean being a pushover, it means being able to adjust.

Ultimately spiritual awareness unfolds when you’re flexible, when you’re spontaneous, when you’re detached, when you’re easy on yourself and easy on others. ~ Deepak Chopra

13. Friendly

Lots of words go with this – affable, warm, affectionate, outgoing, accessible. Friendly is a badass word. And who doesn’t want to live a life filled with badassery? (see #1)

14. Funny

My blog is More Cowbell! Of course “funny” is the best word in the dictionary.


15. Groovy

I know Groovy is a Java programming language, but that’s not how I mean it. I’m thinking the traditional meaning: fashionable and exciting (she’s sporting a groovy new haircut). Groove-y.

16. Hardworking

I respect people who work their a$$es off. I just do. I might not be the most organized gal, but I can outwork just about anybody.

17. Independent

I freely admit to being afraid of heights, but do you know my deep-down-super-secret fear? Being homeless and dependent on others. I’m a huge fan of independence.

18. Interesting

Every blogger or writer wants to be interesting. To arouse curiosity or interest, to hold or catch attention with my words.

19. Inventive

In the same ballpark as “creative” or “flexible,” inventive takes things a few steps further. Instead of thinking outside the box, you have the ability to think of a new way to use the box. Perhaps an entirely new box might come into being. I love this word.

20. Kind

A few weeks back it was World Kindness Day and, after the election this country just had, I don’t think kindness can be over-emphasized. Be kind, y’all. Be kind whenever and wherever you can.


21. Loving

As Maya Angelou says, “be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Just love them. We all have enough rain clouds in our lives.

22.  Nice

I think people underestimate the power of niceness. It’s different from kindness, which often requires more thought and effort. In business, nice will win every time. There’s great books written about the Power of Nice.

23. Nurturing

To nurture is to cherish, help or encourage. Do this with your family and your friends. Do this for yourself . That’s the logical place to start. There are entire Pinterest boards on nurturing yourself. Follow them! They are amazeballs.

24. Phenomenal

Maya Angelou says this wa-a-a-ay better than I do.

25. Quirky

I love this word. Unusual. Eccentric. Unexpected. Roll those in with some fun and you’ve got quirky.

26. Restful

I’m craving restful after the election season we just had. Everyone has been hopped up for months. Quiet and soothing (restful) sound delightful right about now.

27. Sexy

Some days you’ve just got to have your hottie pants on. Celebrate yourself, and share your sexy with the world.

28. Smart

Perhaps I should have said shrewd or astute. Intelligence is grand, but the common sense to go with it is what brings people up to the level of  “smart.” I like smart.

29. Tough

Some people might call this fortitude. “Mental toughness” is what helps people cope with difficult situations. I don’t mean hard or jaded, but rather having healthy personal boundaries. That makes “tough” the highest of compliments.

“Being physically tough is measured by how many fights you win, but mental toughness is measured by how you react when all the chips are stacked against you, how fast you get back on track when life kicks you in the nuts. Any fool can win a fight, but it takes a person with true grit to never give up when all seems lost.” Benjamin Bayani, The Nation

30. Zany

I dig this word…I had to include it. Who doesn’t want to be described as “amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic.” Zany is full of awesome sauce.

How about you? What is you favorite word on this list? What are some of the words you’d like to be described with? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny @JennyHansenCA

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About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2016 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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