This selection is from Eighteen: The Art of Being a Woman. It was written by Catherine Atkinson Miller. My copy is a discarded library book, and had the checkout card in the back of the book. In case you were wondering, it was borrowed by “McKellar” on 10/15/35 “to keep indefinitely – OK’d by Mr. D,” then renewed on 4/26/37 (“advised is using constantly outside”). Our friend McKellar renewed the book again on 3/23/38, 1/27/39, and 2/13/39. I sure hope it was put to good use.
1933: Personality Counts More Than Appearance
Nothing is more disappointing than meeting a delightful-looking young woman and discovering that her personality is no more vivid than that of a rag doll. Pretty clothes can be bought ready-made but you must make your own personality ~ that total expression of youwhich is the result of your characteristic attitudes, thoughts and actions. Some people’s attitudes toward life are so negative, their thoughts so commonplace and their actions so obvious that we may speak of them as lacking personality. We mean, actually, that they lack the kind of personality which most people like ~ vivid, attractive, wholesome personality.
You must make your own personality but you cannot do it directly, as you would make a cake, stating, ‘Now I shall make a cake,’ and then carefully following the routine of measuring, mixing, baking, frosting and so achieving a luscious result which will disappear as soon as the family discovers it. If you should declare, ‘Now I shall develop a charming personality,’ and concentrate all your attention on doing so you would become a conceited prig and repel the very persons you most desired to attract. Curiously enough, you develop personality most effectively by forgetting all about it!
Just as happiness usually comes when you are so busy doing something for someone else that you forget to look for it, so does personality develop quietly and surely as you live a busy, wholesome life filled with eager awareness of other people and of all the thrilling things which make the world, and life, so exciting. Even if you have never seen her, you are sure that Mary Carolyn Davies has a pleasing personality when you read her opinion of life:
‘The life and lure and urge and power
Of life makes joyous every hour.
Every instant is a gay
Adventure, every passing day
Is a world we may explore;
Every face an open door
Leading out to lands unknown!
There’s so much to find and be,
Give and have and seek and see,
Here and touch and taste and know,
Life, life, life! I like you so!’
The strength and charm of your personality depend upon the degree to which you are able to live fully; enjoying natural and man-made beauty, finding new ideas and dreams in books, proving yourself in stimulating work, relating yourself to the problems of your time, forgetting yourself in happy relationships with other people.
Source: Miller, Catherine Atkinson. Eighteen: The Art of Being a Woman. New York: Round Table Press,1933.
~ pp. 31-32 ~