(Does nobody like me? How can I make them love me?)
To be attractive is to possess a charm which attracts us to the hearts of others, and a knot which binds these hearts to ours.
This gives birth to friendship – that sweet virtue which unites the strength of two souls, making them more courageous, more constant, less sensitive to contradictions, and more active in seeking and practising virtue.
Is it beauty? No, a person who is only pretty or only handsome would be attractive certainly, but only for a short time; and however faint the indication may be, yet when I discover under the charming exterior a cold heart, a deceitful mind, an irritable or vain soul, I am repelle . Something else is necessary to attract the heart.
Is it an elegant toilet? No; though that may charm the eye, if it be fresh, simple, and in good taste; yet if I perceive merely a desire to please for the sake of winning flattery and praise, the charm does not last. Something else is necessary to attract the heart.
KNOWLEDGE AND INTELLECT
Is it knowledge? No, if that exist alone, and especially in a proud, pedantic, or disdainful mind, it repels instead of attracting… compelling us to feel ashamed of our own ignorance. Something more than knowledge is necessary to attract the heart.
IT’S NOT MORAL SUPERIORITY, EITHER
Is it virtue in general? No, particularly if it has not learned, as St Paul recommends, to make itself all things to men. Of course without virtue it is impossible, for any length of time, to be perfectly attractive; but we must not assume from this, that virtue, under whatever form it may present itself, is amiable. If the person with whom I live causes me to say every moment: “Do not be so harsh, have a little more compassion in your heart; be more gentle, more tolerant towards the faults, which I try hard to correct, but which are always rising in rebellion; do not be so quick in discovering what I do wrong, and do not make me feel that I am less virtuous than you are,” she would never attract me to her or God. Something else is necessary to attach the heart.
AS IT IS NONE OF THE ABOVE; WHAT, THEN, IS THE RECIPE FOR ATTRACTING AND RETAINING HEARTS?
Behold the amiable person whom I wish to resemble:
- She seeks to anticipate my tastes, my intentions, my desires, my repugnances, and in a measure identify herself with me.
- If I am unreasonable, she smiles sweetly and calmly, waits for a second idea of mine, which is always modified under her sweet influence.
- She never speaks sharply to me, her tone is never imperious, her words never wound, her reply is never in a cross tone of voice.
- She never directly contradicts me, and never by a satirical smile gives me to understand that I have said something foolish or committed a blunder.
- She seeks to please me by devotion in actions more than in words; she protects me, without my knowledge, from the consequences of my negligence and want of thought.
- She makes order everywhere; she is to all that surround her what spring is to nature; she is to my heart what perfume and sunshine are to the senses.
- She bears with me without letting me know it; she makes me believe, not that I am perfect, but that I am becoming so.
How can I help loving such a person? Not only does she enrich my existence, but she improves my character, forms my heart, and aids the divine grace in sanctifying my life. – And if, in the depths of my soul, I try to discover in what her attractiveness consists, I find: “True kindness, which makes her thoughtful for others.” – “Love of duty, which makes her devoted.” – “Piety, which sustains and gives her tact.” – “The charity of Jesus Christ, which tells her to love always.”
– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889