Don’t say “I can’t” say “I can”
Do you ever correct your kids when they say “I can’t do ….” and tell them that they can do it? With a little effort, or patience, experience or practise. If they work hard they can. Yet how often do you tell yourself “I’m not stylish” or “I’m too fat/old/wrinkled/have thunder thighs/etc.”? If you talk to yourself like this you will be dressing to “hide” yourself instead ofletting the world experience your light.
Language is very powerful. As we know words can hurt or help. I’ve written before about the impact negative self-talk can have on your self-esteem.
It’s toxic and bad for your mental health.
In fact I will not allow myself to communicate or spend time with people who are negative or toxic.
As a survivor of both emotional and sexual abuse I know that it’s important for my own mental and physical health that we must protect ourselves and those in our care from negative or abusive words. Sure you might not be able to see the scars of emotional abuse, but words can cut very deeply.
If someone said to you (or one of your kids):
“You are ugly, fat, old, stupid” or any of the many negative words. You would describe this as abusive, rude and hurtful.You would not want to be around that person. You wouldn’t want to spend time with them (and you wouldn’t want your kids to be around that either). So why do we do it to ourselves?
Beauty is within all of us, young and old
I see beauty everywhere. In the young and the old, in the thin and the curvaceous. There is no one way to be stylish or one expression of beauty. The most important aspect of beauty is loving and caring for yourself in a gentle way. Not berating yourself to be a different shape, size or colour, or any of the other physical aspects of self that much of is genetically programmed.
Sure the mass media will tell you that a certain look is the most desirable, but do we have to accept that as fact? I think not.
Beauty stems from the inside, so if inside you are being toxic, negative, venomous, vitrolic or vile then that will start expressing itself to the world outside. This kind of self-hatred runs much deeper than style and needs professional assistance to work through such negative feelings about the self. Until those feelings are dealt with you will never feel happy about your style.
As an image consultant, I’m super careful about the language I use with my clients as I know how much impact it can have. It’s the garment that’s wrong, not the body.
You are unique
You are not cookie cutter, you are unique, so expecting clothes, that are produced for the mass-market to “fit” as many as possible (and when they talk “fit” they mean “you can get it on your body”) is kind of ludicrous when you think about it. You may find it useful to read about thinking about your body as a room, which I wrote about here, to help give yourself a different perspective if you’re having difficulty removing some deeply ingrained perspectives on beauty and style.
Style is something that is developed from the inside out. It’s being true to yourself and it’s not put on you by others (an image consultant won’t tell you what your style is, they can help you discover it by asking lots of questions and giving you tools and information, but shouldn’t tell you what to wear), as it’s something you need to explore and discover for yourself. It has to feel right to you, and only you can tell if it really feels right for you. This is why developing your own style recipe can be so helpful as it gives you a set of self-defined parameters within to create your outfits that truly express who you are.
Be kind to yourself and others
Please be kind to both yourself and others. What you say can impact deeply on both others and yourself. If you are constantly criticising yourself or others (even if they can’t hear you) think about changing the filter through which you see the world, beauty and style, asking yourself if your ideals of beauty and style are valid.
Now it’s time to change your self-talk and say:
“I am gorgeous/fabulous/beautiful/stylish/amazing/great/strong/etc.”. Say these words to yourself repeatedly and daily, it can take time to overcome the years of negative talk that is lodged inside your brain. Seek professional help if your negative feelings run more deeply (needing professional help is not a sign of weakness).
And also say these kinds of positive words to those around you.
Be a positive influence
Lift people up, don’t tear them down. Your light will not shine more brightly by blowing out the light of others, instead others will see the darkness that lurks within you.
Dress the positive not the negative and shine!
Seeking professional help is a sign of STRENGTH.
I believe this too.
Hear hear x
Thanks for another great article! It’s always worth remembering how powerful the words are…
I hear ya Imogen. This is so true.
Growing up in an environment where it was all about criticism I am very aware of what an impact words can have.
Wow. There are so many profound truths in this post, Imogen! I was moved to tears reading this.