Why do many French women make it seem so absolutely effortless at planning and executing a multiple course feast for dinner guests or selecting staple wardrobe pieces that can be mixed and matched in the expression of timeless yet expressive fashion? They tend to say “no” more than they say “yes” to invitations and dates if they don’t feel it’s going to benefit their well-being and time spent with another. Whether a provincial or city Madame or Mademoiselle, there is a core sense of self-worth and grace that they exude…also known as the “je ne sais quoi” which translates to “an indescribable, yet pleasant quality.” It’s been passed down from generation to generation as a young girl blossoms into a mature lady.
After making numerous trips to France, I actually bore witness to the age old “fascination” of the self-possessed French woman. There is a sense of formality and elegance that makes them so charming and refined yet they are not afraid of speaking their mind with quick wit. Based upon observations and conversations with some of the country’s most lovely individuals, you too can learn how to be perfectly imperfect and self-possessed no matter what your cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds are. Voila…here it is!
1.) Being a self-possessed woman means that you are calm, cool, collected, charming, and confident. You have no need to apologize for who and what you are because you are secure and sincere with yourself and others. Even in times of great difficulty you manage to navigate the situation with poise and grace and when it’s time to fall apart in exhaustion or a needed release, you do so in the privacy of your own home or in the company of those you trust.
2.) When committing to someone or a task, you give it your all because you hold yourself to high standards, yet are self-aware of what and what you’re not capable of doing. If you need help, you are not afraid to ask for it and will respond with appreciation. When others also rely on you, they trust your insight, level-headed point of view, and care.
3.) Internal growth is highly important to your personal development as an individual. You aren’t afraid to be alone with your thoughts and when something inside is troubling or bothersome, you take time for reflection so you can work through and resolve rather than hiding and avoiding it. No matter how difficult it may be to face your own fears, doubts, and insecurities, you know that it will only make you stronger and clearer once you’ve done the work.
4.) External appearance and a healthy level of pride is equally important to your well-being as you make conscious efforts to present yourself with personal style and aesthetic sensibility based upon your fashion and comfort level.
5.) Nourishing yourself and your loved ones with good quality food is paramount. You understand the value of consuming in moderation and respect your limits. In moderation, you treat yourself every so often to delicious desserts or savoring a glass of wine or two without guilt, but with pure pleasure.
6.) Despite a hectic schedule divided between family, children, household responsibilities, work, studies, and/or friends, you are well organized and have thoughtfully arranged your priorities based upon your needs and those who depend on you.
7.) As life reveals its beauty and its difficulty, you see the value and purpose of both parts and realize one is needed to appreciate and understand the other. No matter what comes your way, you are able to handle it because you know how special you are.
8.) You are decisive yet are not afraid to relinquish control to the universe, your significant other, or situations that aren’t in your hands, but the hands of others. This certainly doesn’t mean that you’re weak, but rather that you’re strong and able to let go without trying to force someone or something from happening in the way that “you want” but rather allowing it to happen naturally.
9.) Self-preservation, self-love, and self-worth are the cornerstones of your life. You have earned them all because you actively do the inner work that allows you to be the best version of yourself as you continuously evolve into the woman you are and want to become.
10.) You trust your intuition—when something doesn’t feel right or perhaps may even cause you and your loved ones harm, you are not afraid to say “no”. On the other hand, when something clearly resonates and you have a sense of trust in the process, you say “yes” with an open heart; not being attached to the outcome and willing to take a risk.