You’ll never catch a classy person having a screaming match in the street.
In fact, one of the most striking things about a person with class is how composed they manage to stay in any given situation.
It’s what helps them ooze sophistication and maturity.
It’s also far easier said than done to keep your cool and remain classy.
Here are 10 things we can all do to always make sure we carry ourselves with class and composure…
1) Don’t take things personally
There are always going to be things in life that push our buttons.
Keeping it together when we feel like we’re close to breaking point is tough.
So clearly it would be far easier if we managed to avoid getting to that stage in the first place.
Trying to take things less personally is one of the ways we can try to do so.
Here’s the thing:
We can quickly feel offended.
When someone behaves badly towards us or says something out of line, we feel like it’s a personal affront.
But if we try to reframe how others behave as a reflection of them, and not us, it’s easier to shrug it off.
Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements pointed out:
“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
If you can distance yourself from the words and actions of others, you can better dodge the impact they will have on you.
2) Try to keep your emotions in check
I’m the last person to recommend stifling and repressing your feelings.
It’s not healthy. We need to express ourselves and find outlets for whatever we’re feeling.
But it’s more about how you do that, and when you do it. Because there’s a time and place.
Classy people manage to keep their composure because they don’t let strong emotions get the better of them.
To a certain extent, that means not wearing your heart on your sleeves.
When you feel strong emotions taking hold, simply naming what you are feeling has been shown to help minimize their effect on yo
So too can taking some deep breaths, which helps to calm your nervous system.
Even starting a so-called mood journal may help you to better understand strong feelings that arise.
Basically, the more understanding we can create around our own emotions, the easier it is to control them.
3) Adopt a positive mental attitude
I like to think of a positive mental attitude as happy armor.
It acts as a form of protection against other people’s bullsh*t.
Think of it this way:
When you wake up in a great mood isn’t it far easier to deal with other people’s grumpiness and rudeness?
We seem to have the capacity for a whole lot more patience.
It’s like our own positive energy has given us a boost. And this offsets some of the negativity we’re facing.
Positive people tend to be happier and less prone to stress and anxiety.
So is it any wonder that research has found they even live longer?
Check out this Hack Spirit article on how to be more positive for some extra tips on keeping a P.M.A.
4) Face your fears
Here’s the funny thing about life:
We can be our own worst enemies at times.
We all live with fears that silently pull our strings, turning us into a puppet.
Sure, sometimes fear is very useful. It warns us when we are in real danger and tries to keep us safe.
But other times it has a tendency to overreact. It interprets situations as life or death when they’re not such a big deal.
When our flight or flight response kicks in, often so too does our ego. And it prompts us to lose our composure.
Recognizing fear when it arises and actively questioning it can help.
I’ve heard it said before that there are only really two primary emotions:
Love and fear.
Because when we strip it all away, all negative emotions— whether it be anger or sadness —spring from fear.
The next time you are about to lose your cool, be sure to check in and ask whether you might be feeling threatened.
Perhaps someone does something or says something that hurts your feelings.
Look beyond the surface emotions that arise and acknowledge the fear you could be feeling.
It might not change how you feel in the moment, but that self-awareness is the key to making different decisions.
5) Respond decisively
The quicker you nip trouble in the bud, the less likely it is to get out of hand.
If someone oversteps the mark, be quick to do something about it.
Of course, what exactly is going to depend on the scenario.
It might be to remove yourself from the situation.
You could decide to calmly communicate how you’re feeling.
You might want to make your boundaries crystal clear and let someone know they’ve overstepped the line.
But whatever you do, it’s better to respond decisively.
Maybe you’ve noticed that the more you stew on something, the worse it tends to feel.
We can build something up in our heads, so when we finally get around to confronting it — it’s far bigger.
The longer we wait before action the more likely we are to feel the pressure and let our emotions get the better of us.
So if you feel a problem brewing, act swiftly.
But importantly, act fairly too.
6) Question yourself and consider if you’re being reasonable
Sometimes in the heat of the moment, it’s really challenging to know if we’re being fair.
Our emotions can quickly cloud our judgment.
That’s why it can be really useful to take a step back and ask yourself:
Am I being reasonable?
Try to notice that instinctive voice that wants to jump in with justifications. Don’t be so quick to side with it.
Instead, try to step outside of yourself and see it from a different perspective.
If a third person who wasn’t involved were observing— what would they think?
Would they recognize that you were making efforts to stay reasonable? Would they say that you were behaving fairly?
Think of yourself as being on a jury.
It’s your job to remain objective, no matter what your own personal feelings may be about something.
Classy people often have this detached quality about them.
It’s not that they are frosty or anything. But it’s almost like they can keep their cool because they remain unbiased.
7) Take responsibility
The more accountability we take for ourselves, the easier it is to stay composed.
We should all look at our own emotions and behavior before we start policing other people.
Rather than invest your energy in judging others, you put that attention back on yourself.
After an argument, you might hear someone say “He made me so mad”.
But think about what that means.
It means that your behavior and feelings are completely down to someone else, and not you.
The bottom line is that nobody can steal your peace of mind.
Because the irony is that it’s something we end up giving away.
When we fall into the trap of blaming other people for how we are feeling or how we react, we’re on a very slippery slope.
Because we’re essentially giving our power away.
We’re saying that anyone can come along and take our happiness from us in the blink of an eye.
And when we do that it means we’re forever at the mercy of others.
From that moment on we rely on every single person we ever encounter in life to be polite, respectful, fair, and kind to us.
Unfortunately, I’m sure we can all agree that’s not going to happen.
And not because people are assholes, but because people are human.
There’s not one of us who acts perfectly 24-7. We’re all fallible.
This is exactly why a little bit of understanding is going to go a long way.
8) Show compassion
When I’m having a bad day, I like to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can.
And that’s an approach we can all extend to everyone — both strangers and loved ones.
The jerk who cuts you off in traffic, the surly gas attendant, the less-than-helpful customer service rep.
Your mom who snaps at you for no real reason or your boyfriend who is being a real grump.
If we try to remember that we all have bad days, we can try to extend more compassion for what someone might be going through.
And compassion has a really de-escalating effect.
We all get it wrong from time to time.
It’s super classy when we are able to extend the kindness to others we’d like to receive ourselves.
9) Boost your zen
Ok, so in an ideal world, we’d all be endlessly patient and quit to forgive everybody’s errs.
But here in the real world that’s not so easy.
That’s why the more we can lean on calming techniques the better.
Think of these practices as a rehearsal for the main event.
When we do things to destress, boost our feel-good hormones, and increase our awareness we’re more prepared.
You can boost your zen with methods like:
The point is that keeping your composure extends beyond the moment itself. It’s everything you do in the run-up too.
10) Love yourself
I’m not trying to end on a cheesy note, I promise.
It’s just that self-love really is the secret weapon that helps you to carry yourself with class and composure.
Not only does it boost your confidence and happiness — both things you need in a sticky situation.
It has also been shown to build resilience.
As one the research study puts it:
“High self-esteem has been regarded as a protective factor for resilience, at the same time, resilience is seen as a promoting factor for self-esteem.”
The stronger you feel, the more likely you’ll carry that quiet confidence with you when you most need it.