Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Graceful Gestures

A beautiful gesture is really a very rare thing – Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

I fear our society has evolved into an extremely self-centered one. In these days of online networks and reality TV, everyone can claim celebrity. Oftentimes with celebrity comes an inflated ego, which can ultimately lead to forgetting everything Mama said about good manners.

Graciousness, perhaps, is becoming a thing of the past, and that’s truly a shame.

What many people don’t recognize is that exuding grace really sets us apart from the herd today. The gal who asks polite questions is far more interesting than the one who constantly runs her mouth, repeating the words me and I at lightning speed.

The winds may be changing, however; I’ve encountered several women recently who are tired of all the noise and rudeness, and want to know what they can do to make a difference, to perhaps go back to an era when wearing phrases across one’s backside was unacceptable.

They ask, so I offer two bits of advice:

1. Drop your ego at the door
It mustn’t always be about you, dear (and even if you feel it should, at least pretend that it’s not). Ask questions. Learn people’s names. Don’t prattle on incessantly (when the person you’re prattling on to becomes glassy-eyed, you know you’ve gone too far), and for heaven’s sakes, don’t make your conversation sound like a resume. If you’ve nothing pertinent or intelligent to add to the conversation, it’s far better to say nothing. No one will assume you’re an idiot; if anything, you’ll develop a bit of mystique. Remember that old saying about still waters……

2. Never, ever become an Interchangeable Woman (a phrase I snagged from writers Shelly Branch and Sue Callaway)
I’ve mused elegantly before about the IW. In case you’ve forgotten, she’s the gal who looks like every other gal these days: a trend-follower who perhaps has adopted the porno-chic look that so many have adopted these days. She might like to refer to herself as a diva. Some IW’s may even realize their outrageous behavior and assume others find it endearing. Trust me – they don’t.

Adopting a more graceful way of life isn’t that hard, really. It’s about enjoying life simply yet fully (so sorry to disappoint, but there is no ‘big bang’ that happens in life that will make one happy – one has to discover happiness on her own). It’s about following that old, clichéd, Golden Rule. It’s about treating ourselves, and others, with respect, and there's no greater gesture than that.

Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

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