The Powerful Influence of a Lady

The Powerful Influence of a Lady

“Have you met Chantal? She is such a lovely lady.” A casual comment like this, said in a positive tone, has the power to endear one person to another, or to create outrage. The difference lies with the person who hears the comment and how she defines what a “lady” is.

Who is a lady? The dictionary defines a lady as a well-bred woman; — the female counterpart to a gentleman; a woman who is refined, polite, and well-spoken; a woman of high social position or economic class; any woman; a female.

I recently presented the following question to various professionals globally, “What does it mean to be a ‘lady,’ or a ‘gentleman,’ in today’s society? Is it valued?” The feedback shed an interesting light on how our current society views being a lady.

While many embrace the notion of being a lady, or a gentleman, today, others find the term lady distasteful and sexist. Interestingly, they do not find the term gentleman to be distasteful or sexist. Being a lady brings to mind comments like, “Nice ladies don’t speak up, and nice ladies don’t cross their legs.” One individual noted that in Sweden they have opted to not call children “boys” and “girls” anymore and joked that Dr. Seuss may have had it correct to call them “Thing 1” and “Thing 2.”

The majority of men and women aligned their beliefs with the dictionary definition that a lady is not only who she is according to gender, but also how she behaves.

Personally, I embrace being called a lady, as I view this term to refer to my being gracious, thoughtful, kind, self-assured, poised, and female. I know who I am—my strengths and my weaknesses—and am able to move through life with an unyielding confidence rooted in my character and displayed as class. I possess clear boundaries, both personally and professionally, and respect the boundaries of others.

A lady is one who embraces her background and has mastered the art of how to dress, speak, and behave in every situation. Here are a few insights into what it is to be a modern lady.

Her Background

  • She is not required to be born into the right family or experience a silver spoon upbringing; she demonstrates instead care and consideration for self and others, which is rooted in civility.
  • She values education—both formal and self-study—and is committed to lifelong learning.
  • She develops, uses, and trusts her intuition.

Her Appearance

  • She accepts, embraces, and maximizes her physical appearance.
  • She selects clothing that suits her style and suits the occasion.
  • She understands the value of mystery and modesty.

Her Walk

  • She moves with grace, elegance, strength, and confidence.
  • She plans her day well and is not hurried.

Her Speech

  • She speaks with kindness and consideration.
  • She is thankful and tactful in her communication.
  • She gives and accepts compliments with ease.

Her actions

  • She maintains high moral character and integrity, and protects it at all cost.
  • She is generous with her time, talent, and resources.
  • She is courteous, polite, thoughtful, and loyal.
  • She honors and respects all people.

While one is born female, the art of being a lady must be developed and nurtured. For some, this skill is learned in her family as she grows up. For others, the skill is honed through observation, attending classes, reading books, and trial and error. For all, becoming a lady is a lifelong process and commitment as our society embraces reality TV, careless dress and grooming, trash talk, and increasingly shocking behavior.

Today’s lady shares equal status and responsibility in all aspects of society—whatever her life choices are personally and professionally.

Being a lady is not as much about what she does, but rather, who she is, and how she navigates herself through life. You instantly know, and never forget, when you have been in the presence of a lady. She is classy, elegant, polite, compelling, and intoxicating. Being in the presence of a true lady or gentleman is a powerful and memorable experience.

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Margaret Thatcher

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