Secrets of Self Confidence, Poise and Gracefulness
“To be elegant is first of all to know oneself, and to know oneself well requires a certain amount of reflection and intelligence.”
There are two parts of becoming elegant.
The following article speaks about an inner and outer elegance, starting from inner elegance because I believe true elegance starts from within.
Everyone knows somebody who we think is elegant.
She could be a celebrity. That girl who seems to have it all together. The one with all the designer clothes and bags. The soft spoken girl who speaks eloquently.
She could be who you want to be.
We express this hope in many ways. We buy the nicest things, dress our best and carry classy designer goods. Does that mean we are elegant? Not necessarily so.
I’ve been trying to define the elegant woman for as long as I can remember. Dictionary.com defines an elegant woman is one who is pleasingly graceful and stylish in appearance and manner.
She is so much more.
For me, that woman is (but not limited to), Audrey Hepburn. She moved gracefully , never sloppy, never tired, always bright and sparkly yet pleasantly quiet, thoughtful. She is full of love, graciousness and compassion. She is always on time, works hard at whatever she finds in her hands to do, whether it was coming to the set with all her lines memorised or to give a moving speech to thousands with her work at Unicef.
Despite her influential life, her heart and values were always with her family. She also enjoys fashion and good clothes, but they were never a priority over the feelings of others. She preferred a quiet life but worked hard and saved to provide a comfortable and normal life for her children. When she felt she had enough, she stopped work and relished in her role as a full time mother, only flying in to give an interview and flying out the very next day to return to her home in Switzerland.
Her very elegant essence could not even escape the character she portrayed in movies.
In Breakfast At Tiffany’s, the character Holly Golightly was a social climber, who often used men and sometimes get compromised with her virtue for money and connections. Yet, when Audrey embodied the role, she took it to a realm where it made her audience believe she was simply a lost country farm girl, silly and innocent and very much lost, like dove and caused everyone to have compassion on her character.
She made Holly Golightly a more tasteful character. I was determined to find out the essence of elegance from the wonderful Audrey Hepburn. In my research, I constantly asked, what was “it” that made her so?
It is possible that I have read every book and documentation about her. Who was she? What was she like? In reality, I’ve stumbled upon a woman with imperfections, insecurities and yet had a resolve made of steel to remain true to herself. Her unwillingness to fake anything, from her extremely body image insecurities and publicly failed marriages. She struggled with her relationships and marriages before everyone. Yet she always remained strong and positive and gracious whenever she could. She focused on others and it became more apparent as she neared the end of her life. Whether or not she was happy and satisfied with what she done, no one really knows. She probably has no idea how much she has influenced and inspired us all, till this very day.
Nevertheless, she was the most elegant.
I think Audrey Hepburn embodies the essence of elegance. Google “elegant woman” and she comes up number one. Search any poll for the “most elegant woman” and you’ll see 40% of the people voted Audrey Hepburn.
She was well-loved and nobody had a nasty thing to say about her.
So how do we achieve a similar refinement?
Wouldn’t it great if someone told us, “Here are the seven steps to become elegant!”
As much as most ‘authorities’ have a common theme, there is a stylized element that is completely individual.
Point is, take every thing written whether on this site or not with your own judgment, mix it up with your thoughts and establish your own style.
Refinement is a lifelong process. As long as you earnestly desire to improve, I believe you naturally become refined. Of course, knowledge speeds up the process!
First Steps To Elegance
There are two parts to my response. We also start with the heart . I believe, true to what the Bible says in Matt 23:26 that we have to start with the inside and once that’s dealt with, the rest of it becomes an ease.
Despite what all the dictionaries say, I would like to define elegance as graciousness in action.
I’ve seen friends try to be elegant by wearing pearl necklaces around their neck, social-climb, become food connoisseurs, speak Prada amongst a hundred things.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. While all that is personal preference, one is not truly elegant that way. She may appear elegant, know all the lingo, but is far from elegant once put in certain situations.
There is a saying “A woman is like a tea-bag. You do not know her strength until you put her in hot water.”
An elegant woman is a gracious woman. She is gracious till the end. She never shoves others in her way in a crowded train. It doesn’t matter if she looks elegant, speaks the part but fails terribly in her everyday life. The truth eventually finds its way out.
The way to be gracious? Love others, value and esteem others. Have the thinking of any person you meet, regardless of social status, looks, speech, education etc “I am you and you are me.” Genuinely care and put others first. Talk about them and let them talk about them.
As Audrey Hepburn said , that in her childhood, her mother told her that ‘”You” is boring.’
Second part of elegance
One of the roots of the definition of “Elegant” is Authenticity.
Many women have secret struggles with self confidence and self esteem. There are many roots of this issue which are too long to discuss. While I am not a psychologist, I think its best to keep it simple.
I believe gaining self confidence has a lot to do with authenticity. It’s a matter of discovering who you are, what God has given you in talents, aptitudes and aspirations, dreams and what is in your hand.
In other words, take an inventory of yourself.
– Take some time to discover your likes and dislikes.
– What are your strengths, talents, dreams? God put them there for a reason.
– What do you think about all the time? It is your passion.
– What is in your hand? What can you do? Assess the opportunities around you.
When we work on those questions and embark on a quest for an on-going discoveries, we may reveal in them and at the same time weed out impurities. We naturally go on a journey to refine ourselves to our fullest potential.
Voila! You have no time for low self confidence. You suddenly realize you know a lot about something – your passion – you speak with pride and self respect.
To be true to ourselves is to be authentic. We become comfortable in our skin. We can stop being self-conscious and focus on others. This is the root of an elegant, gracious woman. Elegant Hairstyles, Elegant Hair, Evening Hair, How to be Elegant, Elegant appearance
The Rest Of It (Outer Part of Elegance)
The rest of it involves tweaking what you already know.
- Taking pride in your appearance.
- Having manners (not the same as etiquette).
- Knowing basic etiquette.
- Being aware of differences in culture.
- Social ease basics.
- Having a reverence of beauty
Elegance is a lot easier to fake it and ‘turn it on and off’ whenever desired. However, if it is the highest form of elegance that you want, encompassing the various definitions in dictionaries, it has to start with the heart.