I’ve been asked many times ‘How much does my appearance really matter?’
And I’ve always answered, a lot, when the occasion is important and if we are unknown because it’s the visual basis from which others will decide if they are going to interact with us or not.
BUT…Our clothes are only a clue to who we are inside.
Most of us want to be thought of as a person of merit, someone who leaves a positive mark on their family, friends, and community.
We all know the people of merit; those who stand apart from others and are the ones we can trust and count no matter what. They make us each feel important and bring security and value to our lives and to the lives of others. While they care for their appearance they are not vain, instead, their clothes reflect their inner qualities
They are a far cry from those who style themselves only for show while exhibiting little regard for other people, their feelings or occasions.
This time around I thought I’d touch on the traits that set a person apart, making them a person of value to all they come in contact with? The traits are in no particular order as each is equally important in my eyes.
Honesty is so much more than the act of being truthful. The best way to think about it is to define what dishonesty is – “any act or omission that causes or allows another to be misled“. Suddenly honesty is much more than not telling lies. Honesty is not engaging in word games, subtle distinctions, misdirection, concealment or omissions.
Honesty is about being real with yourself and others about who you are, what you want and what you need to live your most authentic life. Honesty promotes openness, empowers us and enables us to develop consistency in how we present the facts. Honesty sharpens our perception and allows us to observe everything around us with clarity.
Honesty does not give you license to hurt people with the truth by legitimizing what you’ve just said with “I’m just being honest!” Whether in your personal life or your professional one, honest opinions shouldn’t be used to destroy a person’s confidence or diminish their potential.
This is an incredibly important trait. The person who cares about others, their wants, needs, and feelings are seen as a tower of strength and believe me there will be times when we all need someone to care for or about us.
Some people make it a practice not to care about all manner of things for fear of appearing weak or being hurt but that only leads to a confined life. Caring for and about others does not guarantee we won’t be hurt or abused but it does allow us to grow and develop into a well-rounded person.
Emotional connections with others make us more fulfilled and help us lead more complete lives and our acts of caring and empathy are not only noticed by others but they shape us into happier beings. If we shut people out for fear of being hurt we also deduce the possibility of finding another person who may make us happy.
Trust is earned one deed at a time. It’s proving to people that you are a person of your word and can be relied upon to do what you have promised.
Being consistently a person of your word you’ll be rewarded with the support and loyalty of others resulting in strong relationships and leadership opportunities. In fact, without trust, there will be no relationship built or doors opened.
Trustworthy is also being a person who does not share things said to them in private, nor spreads gossip.
I could go on forever with this one…it seems to be a quality that is slipping further and further away each day as people put themselves before and above others.
Respect is a right of everyone and up until a person breaks that respect you should always show it. In fact, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat others, particularly those they have nothing to gain from.
Respect builds bridges and brings people to a place of trust and shows them they have value. From the homeless person, we pass on the street to those in power, everyone deserves our respect until they do something to lose it.
This is a trait that you can’t prove but one that people can quickly see when you display the opposite trait i.e. pridefulness, snobbery, arrogance and vain.
To have humility is to demonstrate that every person you encounter is equally valuable and you are no better or more important than anyone else.
The person who is humble is grateful for what they have, listens to other people’s views, accepts we are all fallible, asks for help when they need it (Oops, I fail at that one), is modest about their achievements and seeks feedback from others on a regular basis.
Most of us are attracted to people who are outgoing, welcoming, fun-loving and enthusiastic. Likewise, those who see the positive, lighter side of life and are kind.
Friendly people make our lives richer because they are inclusive, which includes looking people in the eye, smiling and acknowledging them to inviting others to join them be it sitting next to them or going out socially. Being friendly is a state of mind that affects not only the recipient but also the giver as it improves mental and physical well-being.
Confidence is a trait that attracts people immediately. It’s not arrogant or aggressive but rather assertive; it’s knowing you are worthy of speaking freely to express your ideas, opinions, and values. Confident people speak with assurance, are not afraid to take the lead or to show their enthusiasm for ideas and projects. They are consistent in their behavior and beliefs and portray an image of strength, be it physical, mental or both.
There are many forms that generosity can take from freely giving of one’s time, money or energy and each act is one with no expectation of return.
Generosity like confidence is a trait that when practiced improves the givers mental well-being as much as it does the receivers circumstances. To give without expectation of return is an act that improves the givers life because it causes us to focus on what we are giving rather than on what we are receiving. It creates a more outward orientation toward the world, which shifts our focus away from ourselves.
The world will be a better place for everyone if we practiced more of these thing each day. It’s not hard, it just takes a little mindfulness and practice.