Book: Building Self Confidence

When you’re ready to start changing your look, the experience can be a bit traumatic.  After all, your old persona was snuggly and well-worn.  The new persona feels a bit awkward.  How do you inhabit the new you?

Practice!

Put on the clothes.  The whole nine yards.  That interview outfit?  Walk through the mall or the park.   Go to the movies.   Be the dressiest woman at the grocery store or DMV.  Wear your awkward edges off somewhere the stakes are nonexistent.   Walk in those shoes.  Bend and stretch in that jacket.   Wear those clothes around town until you recognize the woman wearing the new outfit as you.

Why?

  1. Your clothes should be part of you.  Your clothes are your employees, they exist to support you, to put you in the spotlight.   If you’re conscious of a binding jacket, a too-high heel throws off your stride, the makeup makes your face itch… then you’re not putting your energy to the outer world, you’ve become the servant to your clothing.
  2. Find the odd places that want fixing.  Do the shoes need taps or pillows?  Are there odd threads loose?  Are those sleeves too long?  Poor grooming is fatal.
  3. You need to get over the psychological changes involved with showing the world the real you.   You are just as affected by your ornamentation as your audience is.

Don’t discount #3.   When you change the person you’re showing to the world, you’re going to be uncomfortable.  This happens when you’re upgrading, it happens when you downgrade (or retire).   It takes some time to feel right in your clothes, in your skin.

So take the time.  If you have the blessing of transition time away from the spotlight, use it.  If you don’t, give yourself a bit of grace and understand that all transitions are awkward.  Chin up, back straight – give it your best and don’t expect to be totally comfortable on day one.

It’s scary to put the real you out there.  Scary is okay.  Difficult is okay.   You can do this.

 

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5 thoughts on “Book: Building Self Confidence

  1. Magistra

    This is so true. I’m only now starting to feel comfortable enough in work clothes to branch out a bit and try new things. It’s taken me a couple of years to start having more confidence in my new look. The extra menopause weight didn’t help, alas. But I’m getting there. Shoes are still my hardest thing. Is there such a thing as professional, comfortable supportive shoes that are cute?!?

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    1. hearthie Post author

      Yes. But to a different definition of “cute”. And they’re not cheap. But quality goods aren’t – and when we age and need more support (whereever) the things we use to support us need to be higher quality. I can recommend some brands if you like? (BTDT, if you’re wondering).

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      1. magistratrium

        I saw your shoe suggestions. Thank you. Cute means no clogs or other heavy, old granny type shoes. I was glad to see Clarks on your list. I have a pair that I bought last year and wear a lot. I need shoes to wear to work which look professional with skirts or dress pants, with padding and support, and no more than 1-1 1/2 high because I’m on my feet a good bit. I will go explore some of the other suggestions. Thank you!

        Oh, and thanks for the suggestion to not just try out outfits but wear them first. Great idea. I hate wearing something for the first time, only to find an awkwardness I didn’t notice in the two minutes I had it on the previous day that I then must fight for the next four to eight hours. Your advice is so helpful.

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      2. hearthie Post author

        I’m going to take my own advice! Promised to take my mom shopping today, and told her I was going to pretend I was doing it professionally – which means I’m getting gussied up (including wearing my wedges – better to find out they lame me with mom than a client).

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  2. Maeve

    I’m also all for wearing your stuff “around the house” as much as possible until you feel more comfortable in your skin (akin to wearing new shoes at home before wearing them out – gets them a bit broken in and your feet used to them; AND allows you to walk more naturally, specially if you’re in something totally different from what you’re used to. Last thing we want is to scream “awkward” during the adjustment period – just leaches away confidence and pleasure.

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