Getting dressed each day is a pretty standard activity. For some of us it can be done with very little care and effort at all, whilst for others getting ready for the day can bring about great distress. The conundrum of what to wear!
Quite often in choosing an outfit, I will refer to my plans and ask a lot of questions of myself: what appointments do I have? Who am I meeting with? Will I be working in the laboratories, public speaking, running an event or doing administrative work in my office? And, of course, what about the weather?
One morning I was drawn to a halt as I was preparing to get ready for work. Flicking through the clothes in my dressing room, I asked myself a new question:
Who are you dressing for?
Such a simple question but with so much for me to consider.
I realised that I was dressing either to impress others or to display an image of myself that I wanted others to see. I wanted to fit in and be accepted.
With this as my motivation, it meant that I started each day already feeling imposed upon by the pressure of what the world wanted me to be, rather than accepting myself and bringing all of me to the world.
It felt uncomfortable and unsettling to start the day like this, and I was forever looking for confirmation from others that I was OK. It meant that I was coming from a “I’m not enough” mentality as I tried so hard to make myself be what I felt others wanted me to be.
So, I started again on this day and asked:
What do you feel to wear today for you?
I chose my outfit and noticed how different I felt in it. It felt lovely just being me for the whole day and so much more supported working in an intense environment. It was like an added level of self-acceptance had been applied to my body, just by dressing for myself. The clothes were the same clothes that I had worn on other days, even in the same combinations and with the same accessories, but how I felt wearing the clothes I had chosen for myself was vastly different.
I had fallen for the embedded ideals and beliefs that are imposed upon us as men and women: that it is all about our looks and our image. I felt how hard I had tried to reach those standards but never got to feel that I was ever enough.
We are constantly fed messages that our hair needs to be luscious like models and movie stars, our makeup must boldly enhance our eyes, our skin flawless with a soft, powdery glow like in magazines, our lips glossy and full and our body curvaceous in just the right spots. We need to dress sexy for some occasions, casual for others, and professional too – and these all have a very different look.
It isn’t about whether to wear make-up or not, or whether to wear this outfit or that outfit – it is about preparing and dressing ourselves for a day, deeply honouring how beautiful we are from the inside out. From here, we do not allow ourselves to be jostled around by the expectations and pressures that this world wants to place upon us, forever telling us that we are not enough, that we must strive to be more, and that we are somehow terribly flawed.
There is a freedom that comes with you being you.
By dressing for yourself, you are already enough; in fact, you are gorgeous just as you are by being your sweet, tender and sensitive self. By feeling good in your own skin, your eyes will sparkle and show a depth like never before, your body will move in a way which is naturally elegant, graceful and even sexy, without any trying whatsoever, your complexion will change as the muscles in your face release from the holding on that comes with trying to be something for others, and you’ll have a confidence to wear your hair in whatever style you wish it to be on that day.
This simple change to how I start my day has brought about a profound change to my life. I now allow myself to accept more of who I am and to deepen the Love that I have for myself to a level that was not there before. Dressing to impress others is loaded with so many beliefs of how we are meant to be, that its outward focus leaves an emptiness and a longing for acceptance that is never fulfilled, and which isn’t at all honouring of all that we are.
So only one question remains… What do you feel to wear today, for you?
By Maree Savins, Australia