After some consideration, I have decided to rerun a series that I wrote on my previous blog. It was a series based on a 1948 Home Economics book that I found during one of my vintage shopping excursions. I adore this book. Although dated in some content, it is spot on for much of today’s living as well as it’s intended 1948 audience. I hope you will enjoy this series. (click here to read my original introduction)
Now that you are all caught up, let’s continue to lesson Four.
(the following was originally written on April 1, 2011)
“LEARNING TO BE A LIKABLE PERSON”
Do people like you? I mean, do they really like you? It is hard to know sometimes, isn’t it? I think it is safe to say that most of us want to be thought of as likable people. We hope we are well-spoken of by others when we aren’t around to hear it. Obviously, how well we are liked–or disliked–has much to do with us. How do we act? How emotional are we? Do we take care of our appearance and display good manners?
Developing a Pleasing Personality: Ms. Greer opens with these words, “No one needs to be unpleasant.” Well, that IS good to know. So, one chooses to be unpleasant. A lot of people are making some bad choices from where I sit. Ms. Greer goes on to say that “it takes determination and effort to develop a pleasing personality…Personality is closely related to habits”. The habits we develop are what define our true character. Our character is what we “really are and do;personality is what we appear to be and do. To develop a pleasing personality we need to develop the qualities of fine character and also (and this is important) learn to express ourselves by behavior and speech in such a way that other persons realize we possess admirable qualities.”
Have you ever thought about your true character and personality being two different things? I really hadn’t but it makes a world of sense. For example, I had to deal with a woman for 13 years who could project a rather pleasant, fun personality at times but this was not her true character. Her true character embodied a very selfish, manipulative being who excelled in alienating people from her life. For someone to meet her casually, they would have met the “personality” but once they got to know her (and watch out!), her true character would have come to light.
Yet, there are those people who you meet and their personality is a true extension of their character. My husband is such a person. No one ever speaks ill of him; everyone truly likes him. I am not sure that the same could be said of moi. Like I mentioned earlier, I rather hope people speak well of me but I know that I can be a guarded person and that has often times been misconstrued as “difficult” or “hard to get to know”. I take solace in that fact that my close friends and family know, and understand, the real me.
External factors are discussed in this chapter that lend to a pleasing personality. First a good appearance is mentioned. “A good appearance does much to create a good impression…An untidy or unbecomingly dressed person is not a pleasant associate either in a place of business or in the home.”. Funny, just this morning on our walk I told my husband he needed to scrap the pants he was wearing because even as lounge-wear, they were looking pretty pathetic and I didn’t need to see them anymore. I will share this point with him today so he knows this in not just me being “difficult”–Ms. Greer said so!!
Of course good manners have their role as well. The following scenario is given as an example: “‘John Davis is smart, no getting around that. He has more ability than Fred. But John has one great fault. He is inclined to be rude and abrupt. One can hardly believe an intelligent man would be as ill-mannered as John.’ ‘That being the case,’ said the office manager, ‘we will promote Fred rather than John. A person lacking in courtesy would never do in that position. The success of the person filling that job depends to a great extent upon his personality. He must be agreeable.’” Isn’t that a charming little exchange? It well illustrates her point, however, that it is better to be dumb and mannerly than intelligent and rude (that was the point, right?) And which type of person rules our current business/industry world today? Tough one.
The third external factor mentioned is a pleasing voice. I have never received any instruction, coaching, constructive criticism about my voice, ever. And yet, how one speaks; her diction, her pronunciation, her elocution all play a part in how she is perceived by others. Shallow? I don’t think so. Here is a list of some of the things that turn me off to certain types of voices or speech (and some that actually make me want to scream, PLEASE SHUT UP–which in turn puts me in one of these classes): the loud cell-phone talker; the loud person at the next booth/table; the gum-chewing/talking shrew; the salesperson who yells across the store for another to check on something; the Target CB/radio floor-walking- loud- talking salespeople; the foul-mouthed screaming mother in aisle 12 who is actually more annoying than her screaming child; the “professional” medical staff person loudly talking about her previous night’s exploits or how F*&#$)! pissed she is about management; the profanity user; the excessive slang abuser…Should I go on? Because I definitely could. Pleasing voices are in extreme danger of extinction. And when did quiet and dignified go out of vogue? Why don’t we speak the way they do in classic movies? Why aren’t voice and deportment classes required in school? When did “your” business have to become “everyone’s” business? Ms. Greer encourages us to, “Listen to your voice. If it is high-pitched, flat, monotonous, or nasal, (this writer adds “loud”), you should set to work at once to overcome its poor quality.”
(would you rather have had this famous TV mom as your mother or…)
Internal Factors Affecting Personality: Emotions.–“Emotions…the way we feel influences our behavior…Hence it is highly essential that our emotions be controlled or balanced.” No room for road rage, right? She goes on to say, “Whether or not a person is master of his emotions largely determines his ability to get along with people and to earn a living. Emotional make-up has much to do with contentedness. A discontented person often lacks emotional control.”
Emotions That Should Be Educated: 1. FEAR–this is one of three emotions we have from “babyhood”. Fear can be developed in habits that are “helpful and admirable…By overcoming cowardly fear and substituting in its place caution and courage some of the qualities of fine personality are produced.”
2.ANGER–”In the first place everyone should learn to keep his temper well in hand. An angry person is not normal.” Really? Not normal in 1948 or in general? One to ponder, thank you, Ms. Greer. Anger can be controlled by 1) Turning “your thoughts from the thing which makes you angry and think about something else. 2) Do something requiring your entire attention, such as writing a letter or solving a cross-word puzzle. 3) Take a walk, play, or do some physical work by which you can work off your emotions of anger. 4) Do not make any decision, if possible, until you have controlled your anger.” Enough said.
This was interesting to me…anger can be channeled into “righteous indignation”. This is the phase of anger that may “stimulate us to do something to overcome or correct a wrong”. I like that. I get to keep my soap box around, I guess. I always applaud those who stand up for the under-dog, who challenge social injustice (in non-riotous, peaceful ways–merci.)
3. LOVE–This emotion can “do so much to make life satisfying and happy. This emotion is the basis of home life”. It is a sad thing to contemplate the lack of love in the world–how many children(and adults) never experience its beauty. Love is “the basis of friendliness” and leads to tolerance–even when people do not see eye to eye on a matter. Are you tolerant of others who share different views? Do you respect people who have differing views than you on religion, politics or other topics? If you do, it is a reflection of the love you have in your heart. I love her next quote, “It is highly essential that young people learn there are fine people in many different stations in life and that such persons should be respected.” Yes, respect and dignity go a long way in promoting peaceful relations between all people.
Well there you have it. A nice, concise lesson on how to be a likable person. Next week will continue with lesson 4B. What a way to start your week! Enjoy it.