ann@feminineproject.com

Week 1: Fabulously Feminine

Written by Ann Burns

January 31, 2023

When the Villains are Beautiful

As we start off the month of February we will be honing in on the topic of poise, and what do we mean by poise? A dictionary definition will tell you that a poised individual is “balanced” or “elegant.”  When we encounter someone poised we recognize a touch of je ne sais quoi. There’s just that little something extra— a dash of mystery— that sets a poised individual apart from the crowd.  

 

Some people who I consider “poised” 

 

Grace Kelly

Peter O’Toole

Audrey Hepburn 

Kate Middleton

Cary Grant  

 

Who would you add? 

 

When I was reflecting on the word, I kept coming back to the same conclusion: cultivating poise is cultivating a spirit of gratitude. When we live elegantly — when we choose harmony and beauty — we are doing something radical.  We are asserting that life is a gift and life is absolutely, undeniably worth living.  In affirming the dignity and beauty of life, we choose to live with intention.  Why save our best plates only for “special” guests?  Why save that silk blouse only for a photographed occasion?  Celebrating the gift of life heralds in the positive energy that life — in all aspects and all seasons— is worthy of celebrating and cherishing.  So, pull out that blouse and set the table! Your life is worth celebrating. 

 

What Does it Mean to Be Poised?

 

Weekly Video:

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/Qg3vUe-FiuyhfHHosImgftyDu0Pu_K5JbUQ_N6ZFBoIQ46IYO2rEVC9WIwN-L0zh.7M4MLgEtdBc7L8-6

 

Password: h^nza7E3

 

The Five Components of a Poised Woman:

 

Confident 

  • True confidence has nothing to do with egotism, but rather humility.  It recognizes our dependence on God, and in that is freed from being overly self-conscious or self-absorbed.  
  • True confidence is always gracious and genuine. It is responsible and not willing to shy away from the task at hand. 
  • Try focusing on your posture.  Do you stand up tall ready to take on responsibility or do you slouch and hide?

 

Discreet 

  • Discretion is a bit of a lost art. It is the ability to discern what should be said and what should be kept private. 
  • Discretion allows one to choose the right thing. The poised woman is discreet.  She does not air out her dirty laundry and she doesn’t gossip.  She maintains an air of mystery and practices discernment in her discussions. 
  • Are you discreet?  Do you mistake oversharing with vulnerability?  Are you a gossip?  Pay attention to these things as we move through the month. 

 

Other-Centered

  • The poised woman possesses the virtue of charity. 
  • She is kind, forgiving, and she also avoids listening to gossip. 
  • If you are around people who gossip, make a point to change the topic or remove yourself from the conversation. 

 

Classy 

  • Confident, discreet, and other centered — we are clearly dealing with a classy lady.  But one more thing…
  • She takes care of her appearance (no lounging in pjs all day and skipping her shower).  
  • She manages her time well. She doesn’t neglect herself, but she also doesn’t over-indulge and spend hours upon hours on herself. 
  • She knows how to dress for each occasion.  And if you were to look through her wardrobe, you would know a classy woman owns it. 
  • Look through your wardrobe and see if there is anything you might need to pitch.  Maybe there’s an item that, instead of being classy, is a bit risqué.  Do you really need it?  Pitch it.  Or maybe there’s an item that doesn’t fit you properly, and just makes you look dowdy, give it to someone who could benefit from it. 

 

Present

  • The poised woman lives life with intention; she recognizes that life is a gift. 
  • She is an active listener and is not distracted by her phone, TVs, etc…
  • Do you let the people in your life know you care by putting your phone away when you are with them? 

 

Spiritual Component:

 

Part of confidence is recognizing our own littleness and complete dependence on God.

 

Confidence has little to do with ego, and more to do with humility.  In genuine confidence, we aren’t worrying away, consumed with ourselves, but rather we can recognize our talents and live graciously by focusing more on our loved ones, and of course, our primary beloved is Christ. 

 

When we place too much “confidence” in our own abilities, we are guaranteed to stumble.  Our egos will run wild.  And ultimately, our pride will oscillate between wanting to praise ourselves for being the best or condemn us for being the worst. Not a healthy place to be.  

 

Here are two prayers that may help you cultivate confidence in God and live graciously. 

 

Act of Confidence in God by St. Claude 

 

My God, I believe most firmly that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing when we rely upon Thee in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon Thee.

People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moment of my life, and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.

 

Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope. “For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope.” This confidence can never be in vain. “No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded.”

 

I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness, for I firmly hope for it, and all my hope is in Thee. “In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped; let me never be confounded.”

 

I know, alas! I know but too well that I am frail and changable; I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue. I have seen stars fall from heaven, and pillars of firmament totter; but these things alarm me not. While I hope in Thee I am sheltered from all misfortune, and I am sure that my trust shall endure, for I rely upon Thee to sustain this unfailing hope.

 

Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty, and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee. Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations; that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assults of the evil one, and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies. I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me, and that I shall love Thee unceasingly. “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.”



Litany of Humility 

 

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

 

From the desire of being esteemed, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the desire of being loved, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the desire of being extolled, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the desire of being honored, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the desire of being praised, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the desire of being preferred to others, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the desire of being consulted, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the desire of being approved, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being humiliated, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being despised, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of suffering rebukes, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being calumated, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being forgotten, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being ridiculed, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being wronged, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being suspected, 

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

That others may be loved more than I, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

 

That others may be esteemed more than I, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

 

That, in the opinion of the world, others may be loved more than I, others may increase and I may decrease, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

 

That others may be chosen and I set aside, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

 

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

 

That others may be preferred to me in everything, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

 

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, 

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

 

Amen.

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