This past weekend I had the opportunity to go shopping with Michelle Phillips to re-evaluate my personal style. She was pushing me to look at clothes that were outside my comfort zone and I was feeling really triggered. All sorts of fears were running through my head – what if she does all this work and I still can’t get myself together? What if there’s nothing that’s going to look any better than what I’ve got now? I was driving myself nuts!
Finally, I’d had as much clothing-inspired craziness as I could take. We figured a change of venue was in order, so we went into a shop that has funky, inexpensive jewelry. As Michelle pulled out necklaces for me to look at, I turned each of them down in turn. I finally said to her, “I don’t like costume jewelry, it doesn’t look classy or elegant enough for me.” As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I realized they didn’t feel exactly right. Is it true that I don’t like these cool, funky necklaces? I admire them on other people and wish that I had things like that to wear. So why, when presented with the opportunity to purchase a few pieces at a really great price, did I turn them all down?
Is it true that I don’t like costume jewelry? No.
Is it true that it’s not classy or elegant enough for me? No.
So what IS true? My mother doesn’t like costume jewelry! It’s not classy or elegant enough for her! And I’ve soaked that idea in so totally that I didn’t even realize it wasn’t my own idea! I’ve spent the last 15 years admiring something (my own thoughts) and reviling it (someone else’s thoughts) at the same time. Talk about making me nuts!
My mother’s way has been to find one good piece, save for it, and then wear it every day. Which is absolutely fine – FOR HER! I, on the other hand, like more variety, which is absolutely fine – FOR ME! The issue was that I was making my decisions based on someone else’s rules. As soon as I realized and verbalized the issue, it disappeared. I was free to purchase a really fun necklace, and I put it on right away…and I’m sure that I’ll enjoy wearing it for a long time to come.
So who’s making your decisions? Next time you say you don’t want to do something, or that you don’t like something, ask yourself – is that really me? You might be surprised what you find!
Leah Carey is the creator and facilitator of the Live. Write. Share.workshops that help people strengthen resilience through writing, sharing, and performance. For more info go to www.leahcarey.com. You can read her blog at www.TheMiracleJournal.com.