One of our biggest motivators as slaves - our driving force, if you will - is being pleasing. Whether or not we are currently serving a Master or Mistress, we want to be pleasing in all that we do and represent our Master (if we are collared) or ourselves (uncollared) in a manner that instills pride. And believe me, when you carry yourself with grace and poise, you are noticed... and only in good ways! :)
What are Grace and Poise anyway?
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines this beautiful characteristic as “graceful and elegant bearing in a person;“ “composure and dignity of manner;” and the last definition is “balance.“
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines poise as an "easy self-possessed assurance of manner" and a "gracious tact in coping and handling," cuing you in on the fact that poise isn't something vague or elusive. It's concrete knowledge rooted in confidence.
Why is confidence so important to poise and grace?
Confidence is reflected in our outward appearance all the time. If we are having a bad hair day, aren't feeling well physically, or are just feeling "off," there is a pretty good chance it can be perceived on the outside. This is why, often when we aren't feeling confident, others may ask "what's wrong?" or "Are you ok?"
The reciprocal can also be true: if we are feeling good on the outside, it can encourage our feeling more confident in our hearts and minds. This is why, when we are feeling down or "off," a good manicure, spa day, new outfit, etc. can lift our spirits and have us feeling more confident about ourselves... or maybe it's just me who loves a good mani!!!! :)
One thing that always works to help me correct my posture and maintain it is to imagine a helium balloon attached to my head, lifting it, which makes me elongate my neck, push my shoulders back and create a nice posture.
Some of the behavior tendencies that show a lack of poise are that a woman:
What are some ways you can enhance your physical grace and poise?
- Can't stand still.
- Paces the floor.
- Sways back and forth.
- Chatters nervously, using rapid and/or muffled speech.
- Makes nervous gestures with her hands.
- Fiddles with some gadget on her clothes.
- Scratches her head.
- Twists her skirt.
- Marks aimlessly with a pencil.
Some women are the opposite of this. They're so self-conscious that they're TENSE. These women seem like frozen statues, blank and expressionless.
What are some ways you can enhance your physical grace and poise?
- Breathe Deeply
Deep BREATHING, as an exercise and requisite to developing poise,
has a remarkable effect on a woman's emotions. A woman who takes
a good deep breath actually breathes in confidence and poise.
The woman who has to speak to a group will do much better if she
first fills her lungs with air. This technique gives both confidence and
- Take Good Care of Your Appearance
Physical appearance acts as a stimulant to any woman's poise and self-assurance. If a woman knows that her clothes, hair, complexion and hands have all been well cared for, she's then free to forget her appearance completely.
Good grooming is essential for developing poise and self-confidence.
When you are self-conscious about how you look or don’t feel comfortable in your clothes or with your appearance, you cannot be poised as these things detract from your confidence. Dress your best to boost your self-confidence. The rule of thumb (professionally) is to dress as if you were employed in one position higher than your present position. When you feel that you look great, those thoughts and feelings translate to confidence that is seen in your physical body as you move throughout your day.
- Follow Etiquette
For developing poise, a mental attitude of self-confidence in regard to matters of ETIQUETTE is essential. A woman must know the proper etiquette of every situation - so well, that she's never in a quandary as to what's correct or expected.
She should know the correct responses to every situation so well. that correct behavior's automatic.
- Be (or act) confident - FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT!
Every SHY woman should be mentally objective enough to realize that every other woman is also worried about what people are thinking of her!
Self-confidence may often be secured by thorough PREPARATION for an occasion. A girl who knows her lesson, and knows that she knows it well, will have at least a degree of poise when she recites.
Most of our digital cameras or cell phones have that handy little function these days. Have someone videotape your walk, the way you sit, stand, talk, laugh, eat, drink. It is throught this awareness that gives us a better understanding. That understanding will help us edit both consciously and subconsciously.
Study the Way that You Walk
There is a misconception that girls think they have to strut like a model for a beautiful walk. Get rid of the supermodel walk. It is reserved for very few occasions, definitely not in your everyday walk.
My dance teacher once told me that for graceful posture, imagine a string in the middle of your chest putting upwards (gently) without over arching your back.
To be honest with you, after so many years, I'm still working on my walk! I have made progress in correcting some bad habits. So be patient with yourself.
About half a century ago, girls were taught how to walk. These lessons existed in schools, not specialty or finishing schools, but everywhere. I wonder why it is not longer a requirement to learn how to walk. Learning to walk is important. It teaches us how to breathe, sit and use our bodies ergonomically. It is for good health, helps our self confidence and esteem. It definitely projects elegance.
Exercise For Poise and Posture
I've noticed that people who exercise regularly do not seem to have problems of attaining good posture. With good posture, half the battle is won to achieve an elegant poise. Dancing helps too. Especially ballet and ballroom dancing.
Keep Your Arms To Your Sides
Another tip of how to develop poise is to keep your arms close to your sides as much as you can, in a relaxed way. When I took posture lessons, my instructor told us to constrict movements from your elbows as much as possible. Obviously don't stick your arms like glue to your slides. If your shoulders are hunched upwards, that's too close.
Never Ever Rush Or Be In A Hurry
To be poised to never seem like you're in a hurry, no matter what calls for it. Never walk too quickly, strut making loud sounds of your heels clicking against the boardwalk. Do not eat in a hurry, no matter how hungry or zip up your purse in a fast way. Be as quiet as possible and unhurried. No slamming of car doors, house doors, fridge door.
Obviously, this is harder than it looks especially in the fast paced society that we live in. If you find yourself hurrying everywhere, it is either due to poor time management or you could be simply doing too much. Slow down, select (root word of elegance is select) - elegance is afterall, a way of life.
There is a certain kind of chic gentleness in being poised. Gentle and elegant gesturesincreases our beauty. Clothes are not the only 'covering' we wear.
It is much easier to be gentle when you are kind and tender. Gentle is an all emcompassing word. If you're gentle to little animals, you'll be gentle towards someone's feelings. You'll also probably not slam things around.
Smile Much, Laugh Softly
Similarly as gentleness is concurrent with devloping poise, being poised means having a gentle smile (ready and often) as well as soft harmonious laughter. Knee-slapping, hand-clapping, back slapping or laughter with mouth wide open does not contribute to poise. Laughing very loudly especially in a restaurant is not acceptable as well.
Watch Your Hands - Do Not Touch Or Fidget
Some of us have problems keeping our hands to ourselves. The problem of fidgety hands and wanting to touch everything, do something with our hands could be attributed to the problem of being 'unable to relax'. If you want to develop poise, train yourself to keep them relaxed and do yourself.
Don't be digging into your purse, looking at your iphone every 30 seconds, touching your face, hair. It is good to practice restraint. See also Elegant Gestures.
Have A Deep Respect Of Others and Things Around You
I've observed that women with elegant poise seem to have a deep respect of others and things around them. For instance, they tend to leave a place the way it was when they entered. They are not ones to touch things in another person's house. If they borrowed something, it would be in the exact condition (or better sometimes) when they received it.
They'll never be one of those that leave the hotel rooms in a complete mess just because they don't have to clean up. They won't drive a rented a car in a way they won't drive their own. You'll never catch them saying, "who cares? It is rented." They'll also never steal blankets from airplanes etc. See also How to be Classy: http://www.elegantwoman.org/be-classy.html.
A poised young woman will never have attacks of nerves or be obviously angry or irritated. Like a modern geisha, she keeps herself SERENE, composed and unhurried!
The Practical “How-To’s”
Entering a Room
A poised woman will use a “pause” procedure when entering a room. She'll pause in the doorway, take a deep breath, as she looks over the room, then go directly to her destination.
If she attends a tea or a reception, she'll locate her hostess as she pauses in the doorway, then go directly to her.
'The pause' will do two things for her;
1. It will allow her to enter the room as if she were perfectly composed, for it has given her time to get a breath and to know exactly where she, and others, are.
2. The pause gives an ideal effect.
A poised woman will dress well for a social occasion, and always make sure to create an attractive picture - framed by the doorway. After she meets and greets the hostess, the poised woman will select a chair near some of the guests whom she has just met.
She'll then sit still in a natural, easy and relaxed manner while she talks.
She's not only poised, but well put together and charming.
Place a hand on the banister either for support or just for the awareness. Turn your foot and place it down sideways, almost parallel to the step. Avoid pointing your feet forward, unless the steps are very broad. Let the ball of your foot land first and then your heel — the opposite of how you'd walk in heels. Your body will automatically turn sideways in the direction of your feet. For an elegant effect, twist your torso and slightly angle your shoulders to face forward.
Stand with your body erect, shoulder squared, and head held upright. Try to keep your body weight evenly distributed on both feet, with your legs together (or slightly apart for balance). You could have your hands falling loosely by your side. Another comfortable position for your hands, especially in formal or semi-formal wear, is when you're holding something in one hand — a bag, mobile phone or a drink. Use what's in your hand as a grounding object. If holding a glass, you could gently fold that hand at the elbow and let it rest alongside your stomach. Let the other hand fall beside you.
Tip: Correcting a stoop
Hold a pool cue stick at the back of your neck or tuck it in the small of your back under the arms. Says Hayden, "The first time I did this, my back immediately straightened up."
How to sit right
Sitting in a straight, elegant posture takes a lot of knee-kissing. But it's worth the effort since it won't just emphasise your presence, it will lend you an air of confidence. Once your physical presence is registered, your words will find a more receptive audience. Sit with your shoulders in a straight line, directly above your hips. While seated, lift your body from the waist upward. Stretch your spine as if it were held by an invisible thread at the top of your head. Keep your knees and ankles together. You could rest your feet on the floor or, better still, turn them slightly, together, to one side pointing away from you. Place your hands in your lap or the armrest.
Tips & tricks
- Avoid crossing and uncrossing your legs frequently, shaking your leg, tapping your foot or rocking your body while seated; it could make you look nervous, uncomfortable or self-conscious.
- Avoid sliding into a chair sideways. If need be, gently pull it towards you and position yourself in front of it.
Exiting a car
To step out of a car without flashing, especially in a short dress, first smooth out your outfit. With the hand that's on the inside, hold the edge of the seat or the dashboard for support. With your knees and ankles kissing each other, swing your legs out of the car and place them on the ground, swivelling your body along with your legs so that by the time your feet touch the ground your body's facing forward. Bending your head to avoid hitting it, raise yourself out of the car seat and stand up straight.
Cheat's guide to looking taller
Standing straight might seem like the normal thing to do when you're just walking around, but when it's picture time, it really doesn't do anything flattering for the frame. Take a hint from socialite diva Paris Hilton. When it's time for a picture, lean so that your body is curved, with an arc in your back. With your shoulders back and hips curved inward slightly, you instantly lose pounds off your body, appearing slimmer and upto three inches taller!
Posing for the camera
Even when taking frontal shots, angle your face slightly such that your best profile is facing the camera. If it's a professional photo shoot, look away at intervals, relax your facial muscles, collect yourself and turn back to the camera, refreshed.
The best way to smile for the camera, where the smile reaches your eyes, is to look directly into the lens and to think of someone or something that makes you feel happy. If you feel your smile is looking forced, take a minute's break and do some relaxing jaw exercises, then start again.
Imitate grace. One of the most fulfilling ways to learn the art of poised conversation is to find someone who has mastered it. Study her/him and watch how s/he guides conversation, responds to rudeness and carries her/himself. Then seek to imitate that grace in your own life.
Shout out to my gay brothers, Femmes, drag queens and transgender fabulous women:
Resources for this post, as well as some additional reading: