How Intentional Self-Care Can Increase Your Femininity

Getting a manicure

Have you ever left the house in grungy clothes, without your hair or makeup done, because you thought you wouldn’t see anyone you know? This mindset seems common among young women. Modern-day dress codes are remarkably relaxed compared to what they were a couple of generations ago. (Don’t even get me started on leggings!) Unless you work in a traditional corporate environment, you probably don’t have to dress up regularly. And by “dressing up,” I don’t just mean wearing business clothes; I mean putting time into your hair, making sure your hands are manicured, and polishing your shoes. Think about it – when was the last time you polished a pair of shoes?!

Say No to Leggings

On top of this generational change, we feel as though we can be especially careless when no one is around. Working from home? Why not stay in your pjs! Staying in to catch up on chores? Forgo the morning routine!

These habits may seem harmless; maybe even an improvement from the rigorous appearance expectations of generations past, but they may be diminishing our femininity. Plus, what message do you communicate to others (and to yourself) when you only feel the need to look nice when you will see specific people? It seems to me that this whispers the idea that I am “less” on my own; that my value comes through being validated by others. This is clearly a degrading idea when written out on paper, so why do we behave this way? Trading self-care for convenience subtly eliminates our unique feminine aura that make us so different from men.

To remedy this problem, I suggest that we start putting more effort into our looks for the sake of ourselves. I personally struggle with this because I’m a very low-maintenance person. When left to my own devices, my appearance turns into a frizzy, wrinkled mess. I’ve even worn clothes that smelled like mildew because I was too lazy to remove my clothes them from the washing machine in time! This behavior may be suitable for a male college student, but certainly not for a feminine woman. And I definitely don’t want to bring these habits into my future marriage. If you also hope to be married, realize that marriage won’t change you into a new person with new habits. That is why we must improve ourselves now.

If you live in a cold climate, winter is the perfect time to put some self-care into practice. I’ve started to regularly exfoliating my skin by making homemade sugar scrub with three ingredients: granulated sugar, essential oil (lavender works great), and an oil, such as olive or coconut. I’m actually killing two birds with one stone because the scrub is a handy way to use up the refined sugar I’m trying to cut out of my diet. Another habit to pick up in the dead of winter when there’s nothing going on is to draw a relaxing, hot bath. Add Epsom salts and essential oils to your bath water to detoxify and relax. If you’re really feeling motivated, light some candles and put some music on. After a few nights of treating yourself to these mini spa sessions, the week won’t seem normal without them!

So what I’ve learned from this experiment in self-care for the sake of self-care is that when you treat yourself poorly when you’re alone, it really does affect your outlook. Taking time to treat yourself well can very possibly “change your life,” because even though others may not notice, you will know that you’re wearing underwear that matches your bra, that your cuticles are trimmed and moisturized, that your hair is regularly trimmed, and that you floss your teeth everyday — and consequently have excellent gum health. Even small changes can boost your confidence levels. And we all know how attractive confidence is in men and women.

Maybe you think you are too busy to add self-care to your schedule. Well, we are all busy, but after considering the changes that can happen in your life, why not make time to do things like have your nails done (or do your own manicure), keep your ends trimmed, and perhaps re-work your budget to get an occasional massage? (The benefits of massage are well-documented, by the way. We also wrote about massage techniques before.)

After implementing some new habits into your life, you may start to notice that you are becoming a softer, more gentle person. As you treat your body and mind gently, you may in-turn treat the world more gently. This has a profound effect on the way that people react to you. For example, treating
men with genuine respect may result in men, if they are worth their salt, showing appropriate affection toward you!

Speaking of the way you treat your mind, intentional self-care cannot be limited to our physical bodies. We must also care for our minds and spirits. The Bible instructs us to guard our hearts with all vigilance, for from them flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). Our brains are constantly processing information from the media, TV, movies, friendships,  relationships, and basically everything we’re exposed to.

Consider also this passage:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

We must be the guardians of our hearts, and the way we do that is by carefully choosing what we allow into our minds. In addition to the  information we consume, we also must be conscious of what we say. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Perverse speech can break the spirit. (Yes, more Bible verses – they just pop into my mind!) Dwell on what is true, and speak what is true in love. This will profit our overall health. Humans are made of mind, body, and spirit – and good health means that all three of these components work together harmoniously.

To bring all of this information to a point: femininity is about having a spirit of openness. When we “tie up the loose ends” of our personal care routine, we become more confident and open to receive from others. As our insecurities start to diminish, we can love others well through vulnerability. So slow down and introduce some tender love and care into your life. As they say, to love others you must first love yourself.

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5 Tips for Discussing Politics with Grace

Image of woman speaking

Social media has slowly eviscerated the delicacy with which we used to handle subjects like politics and religion. These controversial conversations were once held in-person and only in appropriate situations, such as with close friends or with family members. But today we see everyone’s thoughts broadcasted on social media and personal blogs.

Some would argue that increased transparency is good because now we can openly discuss the most important issues of the day. But when you’re hiding behind a screen, you tend to communicate with more callousness than the decency that in-person discourse necessitates.

A sign of a mature, confident woman is that her value is not threatened by losing an argument. So how can we remain feminine while sharing our political views? Here are five tips:

  1. Use diplomacy. In other words, show kindness! Diplomacy requires emotional intelligence and empathy, because you need to try to understand where the other person is coming from. Know that every person comes to the table with their own set of presuppositions. Try to begin the conversation with warmth, understanding, and slowness to speak. This will disarm your ideological opponents and set a great tone for a meaningful exchange, because no matter how “right” you or or how much the facts are on your side, the message won’t get through if the person feels unheard.
  2. Find common ground. Piggybacking off of diplomacy, it’s also important to find common ground with your opponent. Even if your political opinions stand polar opposite, it’s likely you both believe that your ideas will lead to the betterment of mankind; you just believe the avenues to get to that betterment are different. Finding common ground helps to humanize one another, and really helps to keep things civil.
  3. Leave emotions out of it. Both men and women tend to show emotion when debating about controversial topics, but women’s minds in particular operate in a much more fluid manner as opposed to men’s minds, which are very compartmentalized. This is why women infamously bring up “side issues” when arguing with their men. Manipulating an emotional response is a logical fallacy and has no room in the debate arena. There are many ways to practice debating based on logic. Once you’ve become familiar with fallacies, you’ll be able to recognize them in your opponent’s arguments. After you point them out, room opens up for the actual ideas to stand or fall based on merit.
  4. Don’t swear. A lady should never use foul language (something I’m trying to de-program out of my own mind, as I have picked up the ugly habit over the past year.) Much like overuse of emotion, swearing can de-legitimize your argument. A wise man once said, “Don’t raise your voice; improve your argument.” An idea that you feel 100% confident in will not need to be defended with yelling or cursing. If your opponent starts doing this, it might be a sign that their idea cannot be defended on its merit.
  5. End the conversation on a warm note. While we all want to feel that we’ve “won” an argument, it’s a fact of life that sometimes we will lose! No matter the outcome, each participant should have the humility to end cordially and with openness to future discourse.

Strong ideas presented with diplomacy are a beautiful thing to witness! It’s never easy to find the perfect balance of truth and love, but it’s worth the effort if you truly believe that your worldview is superior and know that others would benefit from adopting those ideas. In an internet age, this is something we ALL can improve.

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