Thursday, December 30, 2010

La Bella Figura

Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.
                      -Sophia Loren

Another year has passed with lightning speed. The last few days are spent in celebration and the anticipation of new beginnings. The start of a new year sparks in many, the desire to make some positive changes in our lives. We reflect and resolve.

The exercise of committing to writing, a list of goals for the new year, is an important custom, perhaps more so that putting up (and taking down) the Christmas tree, and the multitude of other activities that make this season so special and yet so harrowing at the same time. Resolutions are a good thing and no matter what our age, it is never too late to shape and mold ourselves. We are never too old to learn, to improve, and to grow in some way.

As I make my list, I am careful not to choose words, like never or always, as I know them to be the enemy of such well intended guidelines. I am continually learning to appreciate the power of words. Words carefully chosen can motivate, stimulate, and move us forward in a positive way. Words thrown thoughtlessly about can wound and hold us back. I seek within my vocabulary just one sentence, which could serve as my foundation for this goal setting exercise.

I ponder some phrases until the perfect choice comes to mind. As a seemingly lifelong student and lover of the Italian language, I am enamored with the poetry and the magic of its phraseology. The Italian language is rich in expressions, a common one is Fare Una Bella Figura.  Literally translated this equates as “to make a beautiful figure.” The meaning of this expression, however, goes far deeper than staying in good physical shape.

La bella figura is a concept that applies to all factors of appearance, dress, manners and actions. It is difficult to define, but we know it when we see it. A person with la bella figura exudes poise, but is not arrogant, is attractive, but not vane, has impeccable manners, but remains warm and approachable. This person behaves with style, elegance and grace in all situations, yet she is accepting of others and never snobbish. She walks with confidence no matter her age, bank balance or size. She is well dressed but not overdressed. She is open to new ideas and respectful of the opinions of others, while at the same time, she remains comfortable with who she is. She knows to laugh at herself when she makes a mistake and realizes that no matter how good her intentions, that she is human and will sometimes fail. She knows that it is as important in some situations to remain silent, as it is in others to speak her mind.

La bella figura requires that a person take care of themself, both physically and emotionally, as a tired and miserable person cannot carry this off. The woman that knows this is careful to nourish her body as well as her soul. She chooses the right ingredients and does it often.

And so I have made short work of my writing exercise and I have reduced it to but one subject. For the coming year my resolution is;

Fare Una Bella Figura!!!

Happy New Year to All!


Katherine V. said...

I love that you chose Sophia Loren for the photograph! I too want to put my best foot forward into the new year. My grandmother's advice was "Always try to make a good impression, even when you don't think it matters, it might."

J Goode said...

There is an older woman in my neighborhood (meaning older than me)that I admire each time I see her. She is always so put together and carries herself with style. Something to aspire to....

Linda R. said...

Great blog and food for thought!

J Goode said...

Thank you. Words of encouragement are much appreciated. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

molto intiresno, grazie

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