Books

What we can learn from the french

Honestly, I really liked the look of this book so when I saw it a long time ago in the garden centre I knew I had to bring it home. My copy is in Dutch, now I like to read in English most of the time but it was a good change for me. I do really like Dutch don’t get me wrong but it’s a bit easier to converse and talk about a book when it’s in English. Having said that this book is also available in English.

All that aside I want to bring you all the best tips we can learn from the French and it’s a lot. I love France I have visited many times and not only Paris. Although I adore Paris I know how important it is to go to a cities and towns that aren’t the capital of the country. I think you can only truly understand a culture when you live in the country but I think making yourself a bouquet of lavender in the middle of a small village town is getting pretty close. Anyway Parisians or the stereotypical way these four woman think of themselves and the people around them. And then my interpretation from it so I would say that you might take something else away.

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Be well dressed
Personally I think that dressing up is half the trouble. I personally belief that what you where and how you look is in a big way how you are viewed. How you present yourself is important and shouldn’t be understated. It’s funny because I used to work in a men’s clothing store and most of my colleagues would wear ‘smart’ clothes like a suit for example. At first this felt a bit weird to me because I have only come across men in suits that where a boss of some kind (apart from England but I will get into that in a bit) and these people where my direct colleagues. But after a while they are just clothes. Clothes that makes someone look well dressed but doesn’t change who someone is. It doesn’t make someone a better person because they are just clothes but it gives someone a more professional appearance. Especially in the days of online work I think appearance can do a lot because you can not rely on your non verbal communication. I personally really like men that dress ‘smart’ not necessarily a suit but just ‘smart’, I am a big fan of dress shirts and I have seen hundreds on men totally get transformed by a nice pair of chino’s and a dress shirt. These two items should be a staple in every working guys wardrobe. As for women I think it’s also important to dress professional. However us girls can get away with a lot more I feel like. Dresses and skirt can look very cute and dressed up while they take hardly any effort at all. Also a good pair of trousers and a jumper. It’s not about wearing the most expensive clothes it’s about looking put together. In England we had a very strict dress code but I didn’t mind it so much. It gave me structure to what I could wear and I loved nothing more than to come home and wear a pair of jeans. It felt as if I could truly put my mind of work. Which I think is beneficial especially for those of us who bring our work home. Don’t get me wrong hough, I am not talking about what you wear at home. I also sit at home in my pjs after nine and I fully recommend that.

You can make mistakes
A ton of them, that is what make you human. Making a mistake is not wrong but what I do believe is wrong is not admitting that you have made a mistake. Only trough admitting things you can grow and this will also make other people grow and learn. Which at the end of the day should be our goal in life. To become the person you can be. To be the best version of yourself and to inspire others to do the same.

Less is more
From jewellery to your tenth cookie. Less is more. You are not a shop nor a bin. (eat that cookie if you truly want it but don’t if you don’t really want it). And for jewellery you don’t have to have expensive jewellery if it’s all one colour and you wear it proudly it will look costly. Less is more and it will make you look more sophisticated. Now some women can wear a ton of jewellery and look cute but for the Parisian style it is not recommend.

But above all know who you want to be
You need to be yourself, you can change your mind and change it again but be proud of who you are becoming. Be proud of your choices and stand behind them. You need to be in love with yourself. This year I have taken a class that had a reflection element to it (which I didn’t know at first) but it actually was one of the most interesting papers I ever got to write. Not from an academic outlook perse but from a personal one. Which is also one of the reason universities exist so that you can grow into the professional you are. (I am not saying you should take classes only to improve yourself but there is nothing wrong with taking one of these classes or to go to lectures. Which I will talk about in the future).

Be weird, dramatic and contradictory
At the end of the day that is what it is to be a woman (or men) in this world. We as humans are contradictory, we do weird and crazy things. But we love the people around us, our families. You can be unapologetically yourself as long as you don’t harm others in the proces. You should above all have respect for the autonomy of others but apart from that, do what flows your boat. Do that one hobby you crazy about, have a walk in nature for your health just to eat ice-cream when you get back. Be passionate about what you love.

Love with all that you are
Love is the most fundamental thing you need. Love for your family, for your friends. But also for who you are and where you come from. What you see throughout this book is that these woman frame the Parisian woman as unapologetically themselves and they ought to be. I see around me that people are less and less excited to get to know their own histories. Which makes them less excited to be proud of where they come from. To know who your family is and where they come from is such a blessing and shouldn’t be underestimated. I think through learning from the mistakes from other we can make sure we do not make the same mistakes. It’s in a way like science is. You don’t have to do certain things because you know the outcome, so you can just take that outcome and work further on it.

Fall in love deeply
But know that it’s also okay if you fall out of love. This is something I sort of struggle with as I like to idea of love and of a family connection so much that I struggle with ‘dating’ but that is a quest for a different day. Love and in turn being with a partner for a long time. Getting married and maybe being blessed enough to have children. Like the book says you don’t have to be the best parent. You just have to be there. Just like a relationship, you can have fight, you can disagree but you need to work for it. You need to put it at the standard that it always was. So fall in love and fall in love again and think deeply about your relationships and know that if you and your partner have different ideas about the further even though you have been dating for a couple of years there is someone out there that wants the same things you do. That person will be worth the wait and the struggle it took to find them.

Last but not least…
For the best advice look no further than your mama. Not everyone has great parents. I know this however I think you can have parent like role models in your life. Going a bit further than that, I think you need them. You need them to challenge your ideas, your beliefs but you also need them because there is nothing better than having someone standing on the sideline urging you on to make your life the best that you can.

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Lots of love, Melissa

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