Operation Beautiful with Caitlyn Boyle
Earlier this year, I discovered Operation Beautiful and blogged about it here. Earlier this summer, Operation Beautiful went from being a global project to also being a book. Now, people everywhere can enjoy what the web-site has to offer and more in book size! I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to meet Caitlyn Boyle, the author of Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note at a Time, when she so graciously came to speak to students in my body image class. Caitlin is just as you imagine her– sunny, bright, refreshing– and so, knowing that y’all would love to know about Operation Beautiful and Caitlyn, I invited her to share some of her experience here.
How did the Operation Beautiful project begin?
I was having a very stressful day and wanted to do something nice for a stranger to lift my own spirits. I wrote, “You are beautiful” on a Post-It and put it on a public bathroom mirror. Then, I took a picture of the note and blogged about the experience at my personal blog, www.HealthyTippingPoint.com. The concept quickly went viral, and the rest is beautiful history!
When and why did you decide to translate that project into a book?
The site was noticed by a literary agent two months after it was launched (the site started in June 2009). I never thought one post-it would become a website and a book. I think it’s the natural progression of the site though because the book gives more details on how to lead a truly positive and healthy life – the Operation Beautiful lifestyle, if you will!
What was your favorite part of writing Operation Beautiful?
It feels amazing to know that I am part of something so much bigger than myself. The site wouldn’t exist without all these wonderful people who want to make the world a better place. It’s awesome to be the one who gets to write about it everyday.
What would you say to encourage someone to try and live with more greater self-compassion?
There is more goodness in the world than you know, and one small act can have a HUGE impact on another person. There is no limit to the impact that your greatness can have.
Some issues we discuss on a regular basis on this blog are self-awareness and community engagement. Given that, what community issues most speak to you? There is a lot of negative messaging in our society. The biggest mistake we make is beating ourselves up for not looking like models or celebrities. 99% of images in magazines are photoshopped in some way. It’s time we stop emulating or striving for a type of perfection that doesn’t even exist in the real world. It’s OK to look like a human! If you have a negative thought, replace it with a positive, realistic thought. Consciously correct yourself if you engage in “Fat Talk.” Posting Operation Beautiful notes can also lift your spirits!
And what do you most appreciate about yourself? I really surprise myself with my drive and ambition. I never knew I had this in me! Running the site and writing the book has made me a more gracious, accepting person. There are so many different, wonderful, and amazing women out there with great stories. There is truly beauty in all of us.
What do you wish all women knew? I wish all women realized how infinitely powerful, wonderful, and beautiful they really are – inside and out.