Wonderful women have a way of making us feel at home, even when we’re not.
They have an easy way of “talking and being” that inspires you to be your better self, in spite of every excuse you have ever heard. They encourage us to celebrate the blues that we are sure have only kept us down.
A wonderful woman, like my late grandmother, can make you feel like you can do almost anything, and in a real and authentic way that humbles you to realize that you are good enough “just as you are”, and to simply sit still if you wish, because that it is okay sometimes to listen more than to talk.
Imagine that, no one will die if you choose to be elegant and quiet for just a moment.
It is a feeling I first discovered when I was a sweet young lass of about four, when I watched a group of women gather for late afternoon tea and conversation out on the old veranda of my grandmother’s that became “that woman”s place.”
All wide-eyed and curious, I ventured out near the too-tall chrysanthemums and fragrant lilies to hear the dialogue and chatter of ladies who gathered together for more than just comfortable company and long hot drinks.
It was just about half past three when I noticed how relaxed and funny my grandmother, whose name was Anna Lee, and originally from Oklahoma, appeared amongst the loud and nervous talk of other women, and how much they admired her confident sense of authenticity, never afraid to be herself, even if that meant being entirely vulnerable or even awkwardly truthful at times.
But most importantly, her relaxed and humorous manner inspired me to always be comfortable in whatever skin I was wearing, and in any environment. She once said, “No one will ever take you seriously if you cannot laugh at yourself. And while this may seem simple, it is simple in the most profound of ways, as a sense of humor is what can see anyone through the most seemingly tragic of experiences.
I was fortunate to have another woman in my life who inspired me to be brave even when it seemed that may be a lofty impossibility. My mother is that woman, and to this day she elicits a warm “sense of being” in everyone who she comes across. Her calm and strong sense of self only inspires others one to meet her level of serenity, and calls upon you to deepen your understanding of what it means to live gracefully, no matter what you are suffering through.
Call it courage, a stubborn personality, a spine, or just plain old-fashioned spice and sugar, but the women I have admire deeply were never afraid to speak up and speak loud, or remain quiet when silence could speak more than a thousand speeches given by the best male orators and preachers on a Baptist Sunday afternoon.
If you are fortunate enough, you may have known an incredible woman who has helped you to question everything you have ever thought was impossible, and to remain fearless in the face of all reasoned excuses of why you may not be able to pull through.
And what’s more, this woman may open herself up to you wholeheartedly each time you are around her, either with her eyes, her heart and body, and with a real warm sense of depth that cannot be described, but only felt.
That is the way a truly wonderful woman can make you feel . . . somehow in awe of her and yet entirely comfortable in her presence, because she is at ease with herself in a humble and giving manner as she wants you to be yourself as well, and with no apologies needed.
The following are Ten Qualities that I believe Wonderful Women may possess, and How they May Make You Feel, if you allow yourself the opportunity:
1. Great women do not make you feel “less than,” nor do they urge you to accomplish more so that you will feel more worthy or loved. Rather, they inspire you to be more like your best self, in whatever form that may take.
2. A wonderful woman does not ask you to defend yourself because she respects the real person who you are, flaws and all. This includes not questioning your motives or desires as you share them, with a passionate acceptance and no-nonsense gleam, no matter how far-fetched they may seem to others.
3. She often takes risks of faith that seem incredibly dangerous, and afterwards you always take for granted that her risks may have been taken just for you. Sometimes she may even seem a bit crazy, which usually means she has discovered some sort of new and wondrous epiphany that she will share with you soon, and with passion.
4. When you are in her presence, you feel as if there is no one else you would rather be around, while you become lost in her conversational and continual wonder. And at the same time, you may feel as if your heart may just leap out of your chest as you listen to her candor and seemingly effortless wisdom.
5. Once in awhile, she may completely surprise you with something that you never knew about her, which she enjoys doing not because she is trying to shock or please you, but because she is living her life in a passionate and authentic manner, the only way that she knows how.
6. When you least expect it, she may sit quietly and listen to you for hours while caught up in your every story, while at other visits she may wish to open herself up with brutally honest stories about extreme challenges she has suffered through, which she always deems as necessary in order to grow, as well as to lived a more fulfilled life.
7. A wonderful woman does not ever cause you to feel shame, embarrassment or guilt. When you are around her, she inspires the most lively part of yourself that you have probably not experienced since being a small child, if ever at all.
8. Sometimes when you are with a truly great woman, you may feel a near-religious experience, as her graceful simplicity and integrity is almost too serene and straightforward to possibly be human. Her empathy and ability to listen without a leap to judgment may inspire you at times to want to be a better person, even when no one is looking.
9. A great woman can often be unpredictable because she is honest about who she is, but this never causes pity or sadness in anyone who witnesses her ups and downs. Rather, her unpredictable behavior is refreshing as it is always met with an honest brand of thoughtful reflection, including having the ability to be honest about how you may be off-course with your own authentic being.
10. And last but not least, a wonderful woman is not afraid to admit when she is wrong, or when she perhaps may have been foolish during her youth or even in the present moment. Rather, all of her adventures in life helps you to feel more alive when you are around her, and each experience she has becomes a valuable asset to the richness of your own existence.
As a the mother of young girls, I only hope that I may inspire them to be courageous, brave, resilient, vulnerable, lovely, ambitious and yet humble, empathetic, and above all, able to live as independent and creative individuals who are never afraid to be themselves and speak up or stand down, if they so choose . . . especially when their words may seem unpopular or unheard of.
I know that it is my responsibility to show them by example what a wonderful woman looks like, in all of her glory and real-life struggles, and that I am a whole and well rounded person because of my challenges, and not in spite of them.
Like my grandmother, I hope that I will be able to laugh until I am 96-years old, while at the next moment I may say something particularly moving and thoughtful, and then downright silly and child-like, because I care enough to do so.
What I have learned most from the wonderful women around me is that there are no mistakes in life that are unworthy of having, because each experience makes us exactly who we are.
It is what we do with those experiences that makes the difference between having and living a full and meaningful life and one that is merely one of existence and simply that of pushing through.
My dream is that my daughters will one day know who they are wherever they happen to be.
This is all I can ask for them as future “wonderful women.”
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Wiki Commons