We all recognize that someone who has that je ne sais quoi. But where did she get it? Was she just born with an air of mystery? A lucky few have it, and most others don’t?
Not at all!
Everyday elegance is not something elusive, saved for a select few, or even something stuffy and supercilious; simple elegance (or poise) is free to everyone. The difference is whether or not we choose to embrace the habits of poise.
According to the dictionary, poise is:
“easy self-possessed assurance of manner: gracious tact in coping or handling. A particular way of carrying oneself.”
Even individuals like Jordan Peterson recognize the importance of carrying yourself well:
“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitual order.”
Cultivating poise — grace, confidence, kindness, and a little bit of mystery— in our everyday life renews our minds, elevates our standard of living, and brings joy and beauty into the world.
Here are five simple things to grow in a self-possessed feminine assurance of manner, also known as poise:
For some of us, this might sound like a tall order. But ultimately, it comes down to simply knowing your worth and practicing self-respect. Who you are as a woman is good and necessary. Your life is no accident, and we can take confidence in that, and most of all, we can take confidence in Christ.
A few tips to help practice confidence would be to look people in the eye, speak clearly, and take pride in your tasks and accomplishments.
And lastly, don’t take yourself too seriously and be gentle with yourself! Confidence doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes or need to be perfect all the time. Not one bit– confidence is simply acknowledging that you are worthy of love and respect and living that out every day.
“Have patience with all things. But, first of all, with yourself.” — St. Francis de Sales
Cultivating an air of mystery sounds rather sophisticated and even complicated, but it isn’t. Acquiring mystery means you leave some things to the imagination; you avoid oversharing, gossiping, and posting every little detail, rant, inconvenience, snack, and so forth on social media.
Essentially, you recognize that some things should be private. You cherish your life and acknowledge that you don’t need to reveal every bit of your life to anyone and everyone.
First, don’t be addicted to your phone! Scrolling social media for the sake of scrolling is a waste of time. You don’t always need to respond within five seconds to each text. Relaying every detail of your personal life to whomever is not a sign of vulnerability but a disregard for boundaries.
Essentially, don’t over-share. Often, we believe we need to explain our every action away, not so!
Another issue we face is that we’ve become conditioned to believe that people are always available thanks to technology, but this isn’t healthy; it’s a mentality that lacks charity. Be respectful of your personal life and that of others.
Finally, let people wonder. You’ll find that life becomes much more liberating when the constant flow of information does not enslave you.
A massive sign of poise is the ability to put others first. This point alone truly gets at the heart of etiquette, which acknowledges the goodness of our fellow man. Here are a few ways we can practice other-centeredness:
– Listen to understand rather than respond.
– Always practice forgiveness — especially when it’s tough!
– Avoid gossiping about others.
– Pause before reacting emotionally. Sometimes, when we respond emotionally, we throw charity out the window and focus entirely on our intense feelings at the moment. This can do so much damage, so don’t be afraid to pause, regain control, and proceed in love. Our emotions are neutral things; we need to order them well!
– Be a friend.
A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
— St. Basil
Be Mindful of Your Appearance
This is an easy one, but in our ultra-casual world, it’s bizarrely rare. To cultivate poise, we need to take fundamental care of our appearance.
This doesn’t mean ball gowns and stilettos (unless you really love ball gowns and stilettos) but instead of wandering around in dirty sweats and greasy, unkempt hair, be presentable.
Our appearance communicates volumes about how we view ourselves and the world around us. When I take care of my appearance (basic hygiene, clean clothes, no PJs to the grocery store, and so forth), I reveal my self-worth. When I go to mass, I wear a dress, nice shoes, jewelry, etc., because I go before my King, and I want my manner of dress to reflect that. If I go to a friend’s house for dinner, I opt for a nice, classy outfit to show my respect and gratitude for my friend.
We ultimately reveal how self-centered we are when we adopt an “I don’t care” or “they don’t care” attitude.
Be Fully Present
Lastly, enjoy each moment of life! Savor a good meal, delight in a conversation with a friend or stranger, seek out the arts, and cultivate your mind. Accept that life is a gift and accept with a heart full of gratitude and wonder.
Are you ready to cultivate poise?