Since I began writing about Inner Beauty on Saturdays, I’ve been mulling over what inner beauty looks like on the outside. But I’ve also been thinking about the heart qualities that translate into gracious behavior that then manifest into physical beauty. I guess I really want to get to the root of what makes a woman beautiful from the inside out.
I’ve become a student of other women. And one common denominator that I notice in so many truly beautiful women is that they move gracefully. Today let’s talk about how to move gracefully, what that looks like and why that one lovely attribute really begins on the inside.
What does moving gracefully look like?
While there’s much more to moving gracefully than just moving slowly, I’ve noticed that graceful women do not rush. And I think that’s a good place for us to start. At least, it’s a good place for me to start.
I tend to do everything fast. I walk fast, eat fast, talk fast. No wonder I also have bruises on my legs from bumping into my bed’s footboard at least once a week.
But a woman appears more graceful and beautiful when she moves a little more slowly. Have you noticed that? I’m not talking about dawdling or being pokey. And I’m not talking about being hesitant, unsure of yourself or invisible. There’s nothing beautiful about a lack of confidence that translates into hesitance.
I first noticed slow, graceful movements observing our country’s First Ladies. In fact, most of the First Ladies I can recall have carried themselves gracefully, walking slowly with good posture, eye contact and lovely carriage. But Melania Trump, a former model, epitomizes gracefulness to me. I don’t know much about what she’s like personally, but she carries herself and moves through situations with such poise.
And that slow, graceful movement speaks to me.
How I’m Trying to Move More Gracefully
I’ve decided to develop more graceful behaviors. So I’m working diligently on simply slowing down. I think the other elements of graceful movement will follow naturally if I slow the pace a little.
If you want to join me, here’s what I’m trying to do consistently, intentionally:
- walk slower – Whether I’m going from one room in my house to another or through the mall or across the parking lot, I’m slowing my pace considerably.
- eat slower – Even if I’m eating by myself, I’m teaching myself to put my fork down, chew more, pause frequently and take my time.
- talk slower – Even when I’m talking to my husband over coffee, I’m trying to slow down. I’m trying to listen more, think before I speak and string my words together more thoughtfully.
- do things slower – I’m trying to “take care” when I wash the dishes, fold clothes, get dressed or take out my dog.
- linger with people – When I get in hurry mode, I cut conversations short and rush by people. I’m trying to slow down, look people in the eyes and really listen attentively.
But moving gracefully really starts from within
I’ve made some headway this week with my attempt to slow down. (If you see me speedily crossing the parking lot, please don’t rain on my sense of accomplishment and call me out on it! Ha! I’m making imperfect but steady progress.)
But as I’ve tried to put these physical constraints into place, I’ve realized that slowing down physically really begins with a mental shift.
Think of it this way. When you see a lady moving gracefully, slowly across the room, why do her movements appeal to you? I think her slow, poised saunter piques our curiosity because it seemingly indicates something about her attitude.
Slow, graceful behaviors are physical manifestations of a mind and heart that are at rest. When a woman appears to be in no rush, we perceive that she is prepared, on time, confident, settled, happy, peaceful.
But when a woman scurries and rushes she appears to be restless, behind, unprepared, nervous and/or fearful. Her hasty actions indicate she’s got much to do or far to go before she can be at ease. She appears fretful, not gracious.
Yes, we can teach ourselves to move, eat, talk and walk more slowly. But there’s no substitute for first settling our hearts and minds. That, among other things, is why it’s important to me to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer each morning. That time of meditation and prayer floods my mind with truth and settles my heart.
In Psalm 27, David calms his anxious, fretful heart by reminding himself that God is his “light and salvation.” Even when being pursued by a hungry enemy, David determines to slow his pace and linger in the presence of the Lord.
“Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident. One thing I have asked from the Lord, that shall I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple.” ~ Psalm 27:3-4 (Psalm 27)
David said he would dwell in God’s presence, behold His beauty and meditate. All three of those actions require time, slow diligence, focus.
After lingering in God’s presence, I can walk away from my quiet time with confidence that
- God is walking with me through the day. I need not hurry.
- God is providing for my every need. I need not scurry.
- God is at work all around me. I need not rush.
- God cares for me. I need not restlessly fidget.
- God has something to say to me. I need not speak so fast!
- God listens to me. I can take time with other people.
What are your thoughts?
When you see a woman who appears to be especially graceful, what is it about her that draws you in?
Look, I realize there are women who strike us as graceful who still move at a lightning pace. We’re all unique and certainly do not have to slow our pace to match each others. But would you agree with me about the general premise? That a slower pace communicates an enviable peace and inner confidence?
I’d love to hear from you today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!