|The eternal Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.|
This is an article that I definitely feel needs to be written because it's about graciousness, something that I feel is too often ignored in modern society.
Many women might scoff at this statement and wonder what I'm talking about because they themselves are "gracious" and not many other people who are just as "gracious." However I feel like people do not really understand the true art of graciousness and what it entails. *smile*
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (based on the Collegiate), "gracious" means "marked by kindness and courtesy." I find that to be a very sound definition. The New Oxford American Dictionary adds: "pleasantly indulgent." I like those two definitions together, don't you, my rare rose? :-)
I think that when we join these two definitions together, we get a definition along the lines of: "consideration for the feelings of others."
A gracious woman is one of charm and grace who uplifts those around her and gives them pleasure but humoring them and humoring what they do/enjoy doing -- sounds like a great companion, no? *smile*
I particularly like this passage from Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park:
"Fanny turned further into the window; and Miss Crawford had only time to say, in a pleasant manner, 'I fancy Miss Price has been more used to deserve praise than to hear it'; when being earnestly invited by the Miss Bertrams to join in a glee, she tripped off to the instrument, leaving Edmund looking after her in an ecstasy of admiration of all her many virtues, from her obliging manners down to her light and graceful tread.
'There goes good-humour, I am sure,' said he presently. 'There goes a temper which would never give pain! How well she walks! and how readily she falls in with the inclination of others! joining them the moment she is asked.'" (Austen, 99)For those who are not familiar with the novel, the character of Edmund is falling in love with the elegant Mary Crawford. He secretly loves his cousin, Fanny, as well and she returns his feelings, however they are of a different social class and he loves Mary Crawford because she's the embodiment of the values of his class during the time period.
Graciousness is about:
- An Obliging Nature
Examples of graciousness:
- Accepting a gentleman's offer to help you carry your groceries or simply smiling and thanking him if he pulls out your chair or opens your door, instead of giving him a speech about how you can do it yourself
- Spending time downstairs with the group despite your fatigue instead of retiring upstairs to sleep, especially if your hosts have suggested an activity
- Calling your most valued vase "that old thing" after a guest knocks it over and breaks it, because their feelings are more important than your disappointment
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