Would you Smile if a Post-It Note on a Public Bathroom Mirror Told you To?

Positive thinking is a pretty powerful thing. I’ve found that looking at things in a positive way—even things that are by no stretch of the imagination good—makes life easier, happier, and far more pleasant. This has been a learning curve for me, as I have a propensity toward a more sarcastic and at times even cynical outlook on things. What I’ve ultimately learned, though, is that finding humor in everything, no matter how horrible it may be, is my way of finding the positive.

Florida blogger Caitlin Boyle takes a different approach on Operation Beautiful, a blog that focuses on pick-me-ups written on Post-It notes and placed on bathroom mirrors and other places where women might need … well, a pick-me-up.

It turns out that a lot of women took Boyle’s idea to heart, and she received an outpouring of positive sticky notes from all over the world. In fact, it took off so quickly and with such velocity that she has compiled them into a book called OPERATION BEAUTIFUL: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note At a Time.

From Operation Beautiful’s Mission Statement:

The goal of the Operation Beautiful website is to end negative self-talk or “Fat Talk.” If this little blog only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Through my own experiences fighting Fat Talk, I’ve realized the power behind an anonymous act such as Operation Beautiful. When I post a note, I’m saying, “I CHOOSE to be positive!”

I began Operation Beautiful by leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms — at work, at the gym, at the grocery store. I scribble down whatever comes to mind — “You are beautiful!” or “You are amazing just the way you are!” My personal goal is to leave as many Operation Beautiful notes as I can. Maybe some people read them and just smile, but I bet some people are truly touched by the effort of a random stranger.

You know, I envy Caitlin Boyle. This is a great idea and a wonderful opportunity to make a positive difference. It’s also reminding me that maybe I’m not as positive a person as I think I am … or at least that I don’t possess the pure and simple uplifting philosophy that Boyle evidently does.

Maybe it’s because I work with teenagers all day, but I have a streak in me that would want to add to those Post-It notes if I were to see them on a public bathroom mirror. You know, something like, “You are beautiful … in your mother’s eyes” or “You are amazing just the way you are … so take it on the road—I hear Ringling Brothers is hiring” or “I CHOOSE to be positive … so does that mean you’re pro-choice?”

Perhaps the difference is that I love to laugh. I literally find humor everywhere, and I think random public Post-It notes would strike me in a far more positive way if they were funny. Humor is kind of a touchy thing, though, and it’s certainly an individual taste.

I went into in a public restroom at a gas station once, and the sign had been desecrated … which is technically vandalism, I suppose, but it had me laughing so hard I was practically crying. The sign included a sentence that went something like “we work really hard on keeping our bathrooms clean,” and some wit had circled “hard on.” They say laughter is the best medicine, and I think I must have earned a month’s worth of good health from that sign.

To me, that was far more useful than a Post-It note reading, “Smile! You look AMAZING when you do!”

I also have an inexplicable hatred of Post-It notes. I might well be the only teacher in America with this issue, although I do receive plenty of humor from those obnoxious slips of paper when my students do things like cover my desk in rainbows of sticky notes.

My bottom line is that it’s a fabulous idea and probably does in fact do a lot of good for some people … but my sense of humor is too twisted to fully appreciate the super-positive message. I do appreciate and have great respect for Boyle’s efforts to improve self-confidence in women of all ages.

What are your thoughts on this rather thought-provoking initiative? And, for kicks, your take on the things you find funny — and the things that are just cheesy?

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7 thoughts on “Would you Smile if a Post-It Note on a Public Bathroom Mirror Told you To?

  1. I’m with you. That’s just way too cutesy for my taste. On an average day, I’d probably roll my eyes. In a bad mood, it would annoy me. Compare to a friend bounding in at 0600 going “Isn’t it an incredible DAY??!”

    I’m not an adder, but I *would* smile if I saw your additions.

    I’m not a an optimist-despite-all-truth. I’m a realist who also likes to laugh about it.

  2. Separate comment in case the link gets moderated.

    My recent great bathroom laugh came from finding similar graffiti to that pictured here:

    On a hand dryer with the same diagrams, someone had neatly printed to correspond with the three diagrams:
    push button
    receive bacon
    consume bacon
    The kids I was with laughed even harder.

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