What Gets In The Way of Style Bliss
Maybe you have a closet full clothes. Perhaps you read fashion magazines or blogs and take pride in knowing current trends. You may even go so far as to regularly edit your wardrobe and organize it in a way that you can actually find things! But do you love what you see in your closet? Are these items a true reflection of you – at your best? And do your clothes put a spring in your step and inspire you to get dressed? If your answers are yes, I congratulate you and acknowledge your choices! You are confident in your style and how you “show up.” But if the answer to even one question was no, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Over the years I have worked with hundreds of women and know what a challenge “style bliss” can be.
It never ceases to amaze me how unkind/unfair we can be to ourselves and how our negative thoughts can hold us back. With my study of life coaching I have learned that the prickly thoughts, feelings and emotions that prevent us from experiencing at least satisfaction – if not pure bliss – are called “energy blocks.” And they can show up in any area of our lives, including our personal style and self-image. By definition a block is “anything that restricts us.” And while it’s true they can be external (like time or money) or internal (our thoughts about ourselves and/or the world), the internal blocks often have a stronger hold on us. From a self-image perspective, here’s what they can look like and how they can cramp your style.
Limiting beliefs hold us back from success. If we don’t believe something is a possibility, we are less likely to give it a try. Often we hold these types of beliefs as true because we’ve learned them from someone else (or the media). For example you may think you have to be rich to have great style. Or that gray hair is always aging. The good news is that, if we are open, we can easily dispel these types of thoughts by finding evidence to the contrary. For instance, with discount shopping and fast fashion we can look great at any price. And let’s face it – Jamie Lee Curtis and Helen Mirren absolutely rock gray hair!
An Assumption is the belief that, just because something may have happened to us in the past, it is certain to happen again. For instance, some of us may feel that we can never find a pair of heels that are comfortable because we’ve owned a few pairs in the past that hurt us. The key to overcoming this negative style thought is to simply challenge the idea, i.e. “Just because something happened in the past, why must it happen again.” We can also re-phrase the assumption, i.e. “How can I find heels that are comfortable?” (If you want a few resources, email me.) Or “How can I make the high heels I own more comfortable so I can more comfortably wear them?” (Moleskin and gel inserts are Godsends!)
Interpretations are formed when we create an opinion about a situation or experience. Sometimes we believe that our interpretation is the only possible explanation. So for instance if we go up a size in a certain clothing line, we may interpret that to mean that we’ve gained a lot of weight. But in reality there may be other reasons – i.e. the manufacturer may have changed their fit model and/or the grading of their sizes. Or maybe it’s just that way that particular garment is cut and you are still the same size with other pieces in the line. Rather than giving it such importance, you may instead choose to interpret as simply a means of identifying a garment that fits you best, rather than a measure of your worth. Just realizing there are other ways to look at a situation paves the way for other possibilities and can diffuse any bad feelings that may crop up.
Last but not least, gremlins act as our inner critic. Though this block has a cute name, it often manifests itself as the negative “stories” we tell ourselves. This is the voice inside us that may tell us not to take a fashion risk or we are not “enough” (slim enough, tall enough, young enough and so on). One of the ways I have helped my clients move past their gremlins is to help them re-record a more loving, gentle message over this negative ‘tape.’ When a client recently told me that she was “too old to wear the current trends,” I asked her to consider that this thought might be a gremlin and that it could be preventing her from trying a new style that she might potentially love. I then asked her to substitute the negative thought with the idea that she would be open to those clothing options that best served her and honored where she was in her life. Long story short, she looked absolutely fab in this season’s off the shoulder blouse and midi-length skirt. Mission accomplished!
Suffice to say, recognizing these energy blocks is a great first step in moving past them. But we must also embrace the possibility that we can refine our wardrobe and enhance our style in a way that makes us deliriously happy! Not sure what brings you bliss?
Take an hour and grab a few magazines. Begin to cut out pictures of things that inspire you. Don’t overthink it or limit yourself to the number of pictures. After you’ve clipped out more than a healthy handful, spread out the pictures and take a good look. This is your visual benchmark. What thoughts, feelings and emotions do you experience when you look at your collage? Is there a common thread? Are there any pictures that stand out? Take a picture of your collage with your phone and refer back to it often – especially in stores or standing in front of your closet. With each choice ask yourself how close the item under consideration comes to the feeling or visual vibe of your pictures. If it’s not close, leave it on the rack or in your closet and make another selection.
The key here is to be discerning. Remember, you deserve to love what you wear and experience pure joy every time you get dressed! So try to move past any blocks, open yourself to new possibilities and don’t settle for “good enough” when style bliss is there for the taking!