Honesty and Integrity are Key to Femininity

Hillary Clinton

Many of the articles on Ladies Again follow our theme on better ways to increase femininity through self-improvement. Today, however, I would like to try something different. Instead of writing about the better ways to clean or how volunteering can increase our sense of caring and femininity, I’d like today’s article to focus on one aspect of femininity that cannot be underestimated: integrity.

The dictionary Merriam-Webster defines integrity as a firm adherence to a code of moral or artistic values. You know a person with integrity when you see them. These are the people who are honest, trustworthy and down-to-earth. They are not afraid to be assertive about their values and morals during times when others either oppose them or put pressure on them to conform. Individuals with integrity understand right from wrong, and stick to their principles.

When it comes to women, individuals with integrity are respected and trusted by their peers. These women handle themselves with grace and confidence. They will admit when they do not know the answer to a question, and they will accept responsibility when they make a mistake. Can integrity be taught? It’s possible that it is taught from the family or from religion. The jury is still out if it can be taught in schools.

The subject of integrity is especially relevant today given the role it played in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Voters in rural and urban communities alike found themselves debating the trustworthiness of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The election was full of enough ethical conundrums to puzzle spectators for years: During the campaign season, Clinton faced an ethics probe over her emails, while Trump faced a lawsuit over his troubled Trump University.

The question many people asked themselves was “Who is more likely to be lying to me? Who is more likely to be telling the truth?” One woman interviewed in a New York Times article accurately summarized many of the sentiments held by voters last year:

I really wanted to have a female president. I think that’s important. But I’m not sure that’s her…I voted for Obama the last time. I don’t agree with a lot of what he said, but I felt he was honest.

Integrity is key to caring for and respecting others, and it is a quality that is key to femininity. Interestingly enough, it is also key to masculinity as well, after all, men who adhere to an ethical code are respected and appreciated.

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It’s Time You Started Volunteering

Teamwork image

How much do you volunteer each year? Would you say 10-20 days a week? If you do not volunteer regularly, consider becoming a volunteer and using your time to help others in need. I currently volunteer at a hospital so that you I can learn more about working in the medical field. There are thousands of way ways to volunteer: You could work in a hospital, build houses, pack meals or help a child learn to love reading. Why? First, it feels great to help other people. By volunteering your time, you are increasing your ability to care for other people, which will make you more feminine. After all, compassion is one of the hallmarks of femininity. In addition to the impact that volunteering has on your ability to empathize with others, volunteering also offers a number of unexpected benefits.

Thinking of Others

Volunteering will help you to think about the needs of other people in your community. Though you may be successful or live comfortably, many people in your very same community are facing serious challenges and need assistance. Perhaps, for example, you do not visit your local library that often, but that library makes a big difference for veterans trying to find jobs or local foster teens who need quiet spaces to do their homework. Volunteering helps to remind you that you are sometimes greater than you think: Your few hours of volunteer service may make the difference for a family struggling to feed their children or a homeless person trying to get back on his feet. You can also learn more about your community through volunteering.

Offers Perspective

Volunteering teaches you to be grateful for the opportunities you currently have. As a lady, you have to carry yourself with grace and humility, and one of the best ways to appreciate the life you have is to meet others who are in need of help. Volunteering gives you a perspective that you may not get at your job or hanging out with your friends.

Connecting with other Thoughtful People

Volunteering is a great way to expand your social network! Consider that by volunteering in a tutoring program or in an environmental cleanup project you are meeting others in your area who are also interested in the same activities. Maybe you might connect with environmentalists on a volunteer project that you would not have met otherwise. Many people have met friends and partners from volunteer projects.

Learning Opportunities

I always think that volunteering is one of the best ways to get hands-on experience in a new field or activity. Unlike formal internships, volunteering opportunities give you unfiltered and unstructured access to new career fields. By volunteering on a home building project, for example, you have the chance to learn directly what it is like to work as a construction worker, if that’s a career you are interested in. Similarly, a person thinking about becoming a nurse can learn about all facets of working in a medical setting by volunteering in a hospital.

Connection to Your Community

Local volunteer opportunities are great because they anchor you to your community, which makes you feel happier in the long run. Being a member of a larger community makes you happy.

How do you volunteer? Share the details using the hashtag #ladiesagain

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Throw the Party of Your Life

Image of man partying

Will you host a party this summer? Back in the day, it was expected that women would host elegant parties to bring together friends and acquaintances from their various social circles. Middle- and upper-class women would compete to see who could host the most popular parties. Today, many women (and men) have issues finding time to host house parties, so home events are far less common than they used to be. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have time to read this blog post, then you have time to spare to plan a party for your social circle.

If you have never hosted a party before, start with as easy project, such as hosting a barbeque or beach bonfire. Outdoor events are much easier because you do not have to worry about securing color-decorated table settings or fine silverware. Another easy option would be to host a game night or potluck in your home. You can use recyclable dinnerware and serve food on one central table.

If you want to host an event of medium difficulty, consider hosting a brunch, creative event (i.e., painting night) or dance party in your home. With the brunch, you will have to round up dishes and seating options for your guests. As for the creative events, you will need to prepare for the party by purchasing the craft materials (check Pinterest for ideas). For the dance party, you will need to secure a DJ or a band, plus you will need to make sure that your neighbors are okay with the loud music. Prepare to spend a great deal of time cleaning up after your dance party ends (trust me).

If you are interested in hosting a high-level (top-shelf!) difficult event, consider hosting a dinner party in your home. I classify dinner parties as the hardest events to host because of the amount of pressure on the host to create a seamless and elegant event. With the dinner party, you will need to select a set of stylish table settings, cook excellent meal course options, and secure wine and other beverages. For this event, you will need to also check if your guests have food allergies or limitations.

Here’s a few tips to hosting a party that will be the talk of the town:

Scout Early

Don’t just select a date in your calendar and begin planning your party on that day. You must first ask friends in your social circle if they are interested in your party idea. Do they want to go to a Pinterest-inspired painting night in your home, or are they more excited about a summer beach bonfire? Once you decide the kind of party you will have, you must also think about when your closest friends are available for an event. You want to make sure that you select a date far in advance, usually one to two months early. After all, you do not want people to skip your event because they already made plans.

Prepare for Your Party with a List

After you select a date, begin to think about the theme for your party. Will all of the cups have one central color or pattern? Select a theme, then walk through every step of your party to determine what you need to buy or cook. When a person walks into your home, should they get a name tag? Then purchase name tags and markers for the party. When they come your bonfire, should they receive a flower lei necklace? Think about every item you will need, including paper towels and band-aids.

Get a Core Group of Friends to Help–Thereby Ensuring that they Come
Once you start planning your party, choose a few select tasks that your closest friends can help you with. I say this tip so that you can ensure that a few select people are certain to attend your event, after all, they have a responsibility to help in some way with the event! You may also benefit from their help. Have one friend bring a few bottles of white wines, and have another friend bring the plastic forks and knives. Ask one friend to take photos throughout the event. One friend can bring the pinata, if necessary.

Eat First

On the day of your party, eat as much as you can before the party so that you can prepare for all of the running around you’ll do during the party. Trust me, you will not have time to eat a full meal during the party. You’ll be too busy socializing, which is a good thing!

Have Fun and Make the Rounds

Make sure to talk to everyone at your party. Introduce your acquaintances to your friends and vice versa. You never know when new connections will be made at your party.

Do you have any party hosting tips? Share them below on online using the hashtag #ladiesagain

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Clear Skin is Important: How to Get the Skin You Deserve

Basket of products

On Ladies Again, we write about better ways to take care of yourself because we realize that self-care is important to femininity. It is for this reason that we write about our own journeys with weight loss and finding makeup and self-care routines that work effectively. Below, I’m sharing my own personal journey through one aspect of self-care.

For years, I struggled with an obsession that I hid in secret. I would think about it every day, like when I showered, when I was at work, when I was in the library, when I watched television and when I read magazines. I would think about it especially when I noticed my reflection in mirrors and building windows. My obsession was my skin, which was plagued with large cystic acne.

For years, I coasted through high school and college with little to no acne. I had a few small forehead bumps occasionally, but I never had substantial pimples or breakouts on my face. My skin was so clear and smooth that I sometimes received compliments from others about the quality of my skin. All of this ended after I graduated from college and decided to stop taking hormonal birth control. Suddenly and without warning, I started getting large red blotches on my face and massive cystic pimples under the surface of my skin. Shortly after the pimples subsided, dark-colored and deep-pitted acne scars started to form on my face. My beautiful clear skin became rough, blotchy and pitted. I started to have serious anxiety about my skin. My friends and family started to notice the acne breakout happening on my face. Like it or not, your physical appearance is the first impression you make to the world, and I was cognizant of this fact more than ever before. I felt helpless and I was confused about what was going on with my skin, and I felt ashamed and embarrassed.

Makeup did not work to cover it up, and neither did over-the-counter acne facial washes and acne creams. Products that were supposed to help the acne ended up drying out my skin, which encouraged my skin to produce more oil. With the additional oil production, I ended up using more drying creams, and the cycle continued. I also spent a great deal of money on pricey dermatologists. One sinister (and highly-respected) dermatologist convinced me to take powerful antibiotics for months to keep the acne at bay. Doing so led me to have serious gastrointestinal issues as a result. Nothing worked.

Collectively, I spent hours researching acne treatments online and in libraries. I tried one quack acne method after another. I gave up peanut oil and I applied ice packs to my face every day. At one point, at my craziest point, I was sleeping every night with a few cold green teabags on my face. Crazy and desperate, right?

Image of Clear Skin Weekend bookOne day, by sheer luck, I stumbled upon a book that described the role diet plays in supporting overall health. The book, Clear Skin Weekend, specifically detailed the way that processed sugar in particular increases the production of hormones that create oil. Bacteria is attracted to excess oil, so skin infections (acne) happen when bacteria invade the oily pores. People with acne-prone skin have unique skin that is prone to trapping oil, which is why they must take additional steps to minimize the oil and subsequent harmful bacteria on their skin.

Clear Skin Weekend changed my life! The book made it is easy for me to understand the connection between diet and skin care, and gave me simple steps to take to improve my skin and overall health on a regular basis. I learned about all of the different ways that acne-prone skin is unique. Usually acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance paired with acne-prone skin. But sometimes, acne can be caused by a fungal infection or a reaction or allergy to a product.

The book also helped me to realize that sometimes conventional wisdom is wrong. For years, the medical profession has said that there is no link between diet and acne, but new research is showing that they are wrong. I now realize that the birth control impacted my hormones levels in a drastic way, which was altered when I stopped taking the birth control. Then, my hormone levels continued to spiral out of control when I began eating a diet high in refined sugars and low in fiber. Clear Skin Weekend gave me a list of steps to take to change my diet for the better and get my skin back to normal. Not only did my skin improve, but my overall health changed. I had more energy and I lost weight.

The book also discussed ways to improve the skin through select products. I learned that products, like skin exfoliants, that work for many people may be abrasive for individuals with acne-prone skin. Acne-prone skin is unique in that it needs to be exfoliated more often than other skin types to stay acne-free, but the methods and products used to exfoliate the skin must be gentle in nature. So, think gentle enzyme exfoliants, not abrasive sea salt exfoliants. The book also detailed hair and skin care products that are harmful to the skin.

If you struggle with acne, consider reading the ground-breaking guidebook Clear Skin Weekend. It’s worth the investment if it will change your overall physical health and improve your self-esteem.

What are your experiences with acne and skin care? Talk about your experiences reading Clear Skin Weekend using the hashtag #ladiesagain.

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Five Easy Steps to a Clean and Respectable Home

Woman cleaning.

Have you ever been in a disorganized, cluttered and filthy home? You know, one that is filled with stacks of papers, crowded kitchen sinks, overflowing trash cans and grimy toilet seats? I, unfortunately, have experienced the horror of being inside filthy homes before. These of the homes of my colleagues, classmates and family members. I’ve been in homes so messy that I was not sure where to step or sit down, for fear of sitting on an item or stepping on clutter. The clutter is not just limited to the home: A messy person is messy everywhere. I’ve also had the unfortunate luck of being inside of someone’s cluttered car or messy work office.

There could be a variety of reasons that explain why a person a person could have a cluttered home. It could be that messiness is in some way related to a lack of conscientiousness, or a lack of inattentiveness to detail (messiness is common among people with Attention Deficit Disorder). Or, the person could just be busy and does not make cleaning a priority for some reason. It’s also possible that a cluttered person may have hoarding tendencies and feel an unhealthy attachment to material items. Or maybe, some messy people just feel more comfortable living in cluttered environments, similar to pigs in a muddy pigsty. I once had a roommate who, when the subject of cleanliness came up, said that she preferred her house to look “lived in,” and that too much cleanliness was overbearing. Yuck.

Cleanliness is a subject of utmost importance to feminine ladies. A clean home is a welcoming home. You should feel pride in being a responsible person who keeps their home clean and organized. Hold yourself to high standards because it is up to you to make cleaning a priority. Neglect is not sexy nor is it healthy. Additionally, a messy home communicates instability of some sort. And think about how productive you could be if you maintained a clean and organized home! I have always believed that messiness, in general, is bad, but I think it is unforgivable if a messy home belongs to a woman. I have just always imagined that our kind and compassionate nature would naturally lend itself to help us keep our homes clean. But, alas, some women struggle with cleanliness more than others.

Perhaps cleanliness is a challenge for you. You may want to keep your home cleaner, but you just do not have the time. Below, we offer a few easy ways to keep your home clean.

Get to the Problem First

If your home is frequently cluttered or unorganized, what is causing the clutter? Are you too busy? Or, if you are honest with yourself, do you dislike cleaning? Do you live alone and lack pressure to keep your house clean until guests come over? Are you unorganized in all aspects of your life? Are you busier than you should be? Take some time this week to think about what is causing the clutter in your life. Think about specific examples to get to the source of the issue. Think about your bathroom, for example. Do you empty the trash every on a schedule, or do you just dump the wastebasket when the trash overflows? If it is the latter, what is stopping you from cleaning the bathroom regularly? You need to get to the root of the problem before you can solve it.

Make a Schedule

If you wait until your home needs to be cleaned to get your home in order, it will never look clean. You should not wait until your trash piles up or there is mold growing on the shower tiles before you decide to put your gloves on and do some cleaning. You should set aside at least an hour every week to clean your home. You may need to set aside more time than that depending on the size of the home. Pick a day in the week to schedule a time clean your home, which includes doing a deep cleaning of your kitchen sink, dumping the trash, disinfecting the kitchen counters, mopping/vacuuming the floor, scrubbing the tub, washing your bathroom sink and cleaning the toilet. Set aside an additional 20 minutes to file and sort any paperwork or tools that are lying around your home.

Have a System

Do you mentally have a system for how you like to clean your home? Create a cleaning methodology. Decide, for example, that you want to prefer to clean your kitchen before you clean your bedroom and bathroom. Then, move on to cleaning your car or closets, if that is a part of your system. Make a habit to keep a certain amount of bleach and other cleaning products in your bathroom and kitchen. Create a system that works just for you.

Have Fun!

Figure out how to make cleaning more enjoyable. When you figure out how to make it a fun activity, you’ll be more inclined to do it regularly. I love cleaning because it is the one time every week when I have downtime to myself. I can de-stress from the week’s activities when I’m mopping or cleaning my refrigerator. I also like to listen to music on full blast when I’m cleaning. I might even dance a little when I’m cleaning. Some people may listen to a television show or film while they clean. Find a way to make cleaning fun!

What’s your cleaning technique? And do you have any horror stories from visiting other people’s homes? Share in the comments below!

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Why You Need to Get a Plant Today

Image of plants

How do you show love and care to others on a regular basis? In what ways do you like to show your spouse that you care about them? How do you care for your family and friends? And if you have them, how do you show love to your children?

One of the hallmarks of being a lady is being empathetic to the needs of others. Feminine women know how to show others that they care about them, and that they are understanding and attune to the needs of others. The difference between feminine women and masculine women is in the effort made to think about how to care and support people other than themselves. They know how to listen carefully to loved ones to find ways that they can support them better. Perhaps that includes bringing soup to a friend feeling sick, baking muffins for a neighbor, or offering to drive a relative to a job interview. It might even include occasionally sending a friend a card or hand-written note to show them that you care. Feminine women are masters at recognizing ways to help others around them.

As I continue on my journey to to improve my sense of femininity, I am always looking for ways to improve myself every day. It sounds crazy, but one of the best ways to improve compassion for others is to start small and get a houseplant. I know, you’re probably thinking, how is a nonverbal, static houseplant going to help me improve my compassion for others? Plants are great way to train yourself to think about other entities on a regular basis for several reasons. First, having a plant improves your sensitivity to the needs of others. The only way to keep the plant thriving and healthy is to pay careful attention to its needs. Does your plant need new soil? Is the plant dry and limp? Does it need sunlight? As a plant owner, you will need to think carefully about what the plant needs to stay alive. Depending on the plant, some houseplants require more care than others―think orchids, not peace lilies―so you can actually train yourself to be more caring by purchasing very delicate plants.

Image of houseplants

Second, plants require regular and consistent care, and having one in your home reminds you that the world does not revolve around you all the time. Other people have needs too, and having a plant teaches you to think about things other than yourself and your needs. Much in the same way that plant owners must remind themselves to water and re-pot their plants, feminine women also might remind themselves to call a distance relative to check up on them, or to make plans to visit a long-distance friend.

If you are interested in learning how to improve your sense of femininity, start small by getting one plant, and build up to buying 10-12 plants for your home. Your home will look better as a result of your efforts. If you have enough space in your home, consider upping the ante and starting a small garden. At one point a few years ago, I had a small vegetable garden on my balcony that brought me so much joy! I could not wait to get home from work to check on my tomatoes and zucchinis. At the same time that I had my balcony garden, I spent a lot of time caring for my partner and friends, and I attribute some of that caring to my garden. If there was a barometer for care and kindness to others, my levels were off the chart that summer thanks to my garden!

How do you show love and care through plants? Take a photo of your plant and share it using the hashtag #ladiesagain.

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Relationships Are Hard, But Why?

Couple in the Park

It’s been a very busy few months for all of us at Ladies Again. I joined a salsa dance team (to learn how to be more feminine, of course) and African Femininity started a fabulous new job. We’re also in the process of bringing on new writers to Ladies Again, so that is exciting!

Sometime in the last month, through the rush of all of the things going on in my life, I set aside some time to watch a short TED Talk called “Relationships Are Hard, But Why?” While watching the video, I had an epiphany: So much about what we’ve written on Ladies Again has been about attracting the right person and learning to be more feminine for that person, that it never occurred to me that it was possible that we could be the cause for our own negative relationship issues. I never realized that early childhood attachment issues could re-emerge during adulthood. According to Dr. Stan Tatkin, the TED Talk speaker, attachment issues have the power to negatively influence our ability to maintain healthy functioning relationships.

Dr. Tatkin defines people as anchors, waves and islands. Those individuals who are waves and islands experienced insecure attachment relationships during their formative first years. He defines the three groups in the following ways (summarized by Clinton Power):

Characteristics of Islands

People who are islands tend to:

  • like to be alone, enjoy their own space
  • have been raised to be self-sufficient and tend to avoid people
  • learn early on not to depend on people
  • often feel crowded in intimate relationships
  • be in a world of their own
  • self-soothe and self-stimulate
  • not turn to others for soothing or stimulation
  • find it hard to shift from being alone to interacting
  • under express their thoughts and feelings
  • process a lot internally

Characteristics of Waves

People who are waves tend to:

  • feel a great deal with their emotions
  • have strong attachments in childhood, but they were inconsistent
  • have helped soothe a parent or both parents who were overwhelmed
  • have felt rejected or turned away by one or both parents
  • focus on external regulation: asking others to help them soothe them
  • find it hard to shift from interacting to being alone
  • over-express and like to talk about all the details
  • stay in close physical contact to others
  • often think they are too much and nobody can tolerate them

Characteristics of Anchors

People who are anchors tend to:

  • come from a family where there was an emphasis on relationships
  • have experienced justice, fairness and sensitivity in their family
  • love to collaborate and work with others
  • read faces, voices and deal with difficult people well

Do any of these descriptions sound familiar? Read more in Tatkin’s illuminating book “Wired for Dating.”

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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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Are You a Traditional Woman? Take the Test

Women showing underwear

You know ladylike behavior on a visceral level when you see it. You recognize when a woman has poise, patience, virtue and femininity. But what exactly makes a woman ladylike or traditional? And a better question: What can you do to make yourself more ladylike? Use the pictures below to determine your level of feminine behavior.

You do not allow small things affect your manner and disposition.

THIS

Classy elegant woman

 

NOT THAT

Women yelling at men

You practice good manners and are grateful for the people who help you. You are humble, and when you communicate, you say “Thank You,” Please,” and “Excuse Me” regularly.

THIS

Woman bowing

NOT THAT

Middle Finger
Photo by the Frisky.

You accept responsibility for your actions, and do not blame other people for all of your problems. You do not sulk and whine publicly when something goes awry. Instead, you find ways to reflect and figure out how to make sure that the same incident does not happen again in the future.

THIS

Women talking on a couch.

 

NOT THAT

Angry Child with Parent

 

You are aware that the friends and spouses you associate with are a reflection of yourself. You know that it is not wise to associate yourself with drug users, or promiscuous and immoral individuals, no matter how interesting or entertaining they may be as friends.

THIS

Ladies lunching

NOT THAT

Women showing underwear

You never show too much leg or too much cleavage. You recognize that your body is a temple and you carry yourself with pride.

THIS

Woman in Blue Dress

NOT THAT

Redneck woman

You do not nag, pester, chastise or otherwise undermine the maturity, agency and authority of any adult, man or woman.

THIS

Woman and man flirting.

NOT THAT

Jon and Kate

You do not get sloppily drunk in public.

THIS

Group of women in photo

NOT THAT

Drunk young woman resting head on bar counter

You listen carefully when others speak. You do not dominate conversations with your elders.

THIS

Young women and their elders

NOT THAT

Woman screaming

 You take care of yourself and your appearance, inside and out. You eat healthy and try to look as best as you can by dressing appropriately, exercising and applying makeup. You recognize when your body is changing for the worst, and makes proactive and effective steps to improve your appearance. You practice good hygiene habits.

THIS

Woman exercising

NOT THAT

Moribly obese woman

You are a good hostess with a clean and neat home. You make your living space comfortable, welcoming, and pleasing to the eye. You know how to set people at ease.

THIS

Woman in the kitchen
There’s a simple way to keep your home spring-clean fresh all year through.

NOT THAT

Messy home

 

What are other qualities of feminine women that we missed? Add yours in the comments below.

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