A charming woman… doesn’t follow the crowd. She is herself. ~Loretta Young
There is a misconception about charm I want to clear up. A lot of people think that charm is about being fake. They think people use charm to get what they want. Actually, the opposite is true.
According to Charm* (1934) author, Margery Wilson, charm is about making others feel good. Like most women, I’m guessing you want to put people at ease and make them feel like they are the most important person in the world. Unfortunately, we don’t always succeed in a world where authentic charm is no longer valued.
You Owe it to Your World to be Charming
Today’s modern world feels so emotionally violent. The political climate seems to have destroyed friendships. News coming from various media makes people want to pull the covers over their heads and never leave their beds. I have several friends who have stopped using social media completely. Even grocery shopping sometimes feels like engaging in a battle.
You may not be able to change the entire world but you can change your world by being charming. Here are some ways you can change your world:
- Be yourself–Mrs. Wilson reminds us that pretension is the death to charm. We often hear that we should “fake it til we make it.” But that advice is for us to be confident and charming, not try to be someone else and put on airs. People can always tell when someone is being fake (and, perhaps, this is where the negative connotation of charm comes from).
- Be interested in others–All too often we are so focused on ourselves that we forget to consider others around us. Some recent research suggests that social media and the culture of celebrity is contributing to a rise in self-centeredness. The next time you are feeling self-conscious or are in a situation where you aren’t sure what to do, turn your focus outward and put others at ease.
- Be fully present in the moment–It’s not just mobile phones or other devices that are distracting. It seems like every casual restaurant has televisions strategically located to distract diners from engaging in conversation. And, if you’re like me, I often get lost in my thoughts if I’m not careful and not come out until The Mister is forced to say something to get me back to the present. My older sister June, who is a spiritual director, recently wrote about Listening As An Act of Love on her blog.
- Put systems in place to create an inviting home–One of the basic tenets of mid-century home economics was using efficiency research to run an organized home and life. The systems allowed the homemaker to focus her energy on making her home inviting rather than chaotic. If you are living in chaos, you can’t be fully present with your family and guests because you’re stressed out all the time. Systems to develop include a cleaning routine, meal planning*, money management, family time, and personal care.
Blossom Into Charm Rather Than Striving After It
The most important thing Mrs. Wilson wants us to know about charm is that the process of becoming charming is really about becoming self-actualized…becoming the kind of woman we’ve always wanted to be.
And becoming charming is a process that won’t happen overnight. So, Mrs. Wilson wants us to stop beating ourselves up. Instead, we should focus on the positive things–what we are doing well–and use them as the foundation for self-actualization.
I want to close with Mrs. Wilson’s definition of charm:
…charm is an attitude of mind expressing itself in every detail of every department of life. It is a tool and a weapon with which to build and defend happiness and success.
You owe it to your world to be charming.
What are some other examples of making the world a better place through charm? Scroll down and share your thoughts!
To your Technicolor life!
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Photo credit: classic_film 1962 Cosmetics Ad, Max Factor Pure Magic Make-up, Fashionable Young Women Out for Coffee via photopin (license)
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