Tuesday, April 19, 2011
To Thine Own Self Be True...
Some time ago I purchased this lovely little book adorned in Tiffany Blue on a whim. First published in 1964, it is interesting how some of its content has stood the test of time.
My dear friend, Bliss, is in the midst of a wonderful series of life lessons originally published in 1948. And again, it is amazing how some of the ideas have endured. Even more amazing is the longing to return to a time when these lessons were the norm, not the exception.
One section I would like to share from Madame Dariaux's guidebook on elegance is Personality.
The first line states, "To be elegant is first of all to know oneself, and to know oneself well requires a certain amount of reflection and intelligence." Interesting concept. To me this translates into a true examination of self. What do we cherish? What do we hold true? Where is the line of intolerance? What do we fight for? How do we choose to entertain ourselves? What do we read? Do we read? How do we spend our solitude? Who do we spend our time with? Without possessing the answers how can we go out into the world and represent ourselves?
The next paragraph advises, "It requires a certain strength of character in order to disengage your own personality from the setting or entourage that may confine it." This gives us permission to step away from the crowd and be ourselves. This gives me permission to sing out loud in joy, to give people I adore a hug and a kiss hello, to laugh at myself and allow others to join me, to love with a heart sans boundaries or borders.
The section closes with the wisdom, "Personality means knowing everything about oneself. Once a woman has defined her personality she will find it easier to achieve not only elegance but also happiness." Boiled down, for me this means to thine own self be true. All the quirks, all the nuances, all the good as well as the bad. In retrospect, the women I have seen exuding elegance are true to themselves and have been, at their very core, happy.
I can do happy. Truth is, I'm not very good being someone else...but I'm pretty good at being me.