Confession time. I don’t have cable at home. Yes, because I’m too cheap to pay for it, but also because I don’t really want to spend hours of my time floating in a black hole of reality shows and scripted nonsense. I know myself well enough to know the danger of easy access to unlimited television options.
However, when I find myself somewhere there is cable or satellite television, I have a tendency to veg out on the Food Network or ESPN. Most recently, while visiting my family for the holidays, I stumbled upon a reality show designed to alter a person’s wardrobe. I was struck by the effect this style change had on the individual and the amount of psychological content addressed within the show.
The person featured, let’s call her Jane because I can’t remember her real name, was initially quite resistant to the process, insisting that form fitting, professional and contemporary clothing was uncomfortable, physically and in terms of how it made her feel about herself. A life long tom boy, this attractive, young woman dressed in baggy Hawaiian shirts and cargo shorts. She believed that a more feminine wardrobe would convey weakness in a professional climate dominated by men. But by the end of the show, Jane was transformed, and not just in terms of her look.
With time to adjust and process the reasons for her long standing beliefs, Jane found that her own stubbornness and close mindedness was to blame for hanging on to what was an outdated and unproductive way of thinking. She took action steps and practiced wearing things she had long rejected: dresses, sleek and stylish shirts and pants that actually fit her body properly. She focused on why she had done things a certain way for so long and then allowed change to happen as she looked into the mirror and saw the strength that is conveyed when we don’t try to hide behind an image. For me, this was the real take away. Jane was hiding her true self behind an image she didn’t believe in. What’s more, the baggy clothes and tom boy look only served to obscure her own view of herself. The people who knew her well knew there was a strong confident person inside those Hawaiian shirts. Large or small, tall or short, none of us can spend our lives in hiding and expect to be happy or find the things we want out of life. Find strength in who you are. You don’t have to be a supermodel or have bulging biceps made for Venice Beach, but all of us can feel good about ourselves by feeling good about how we portray ourselves to the world. Personally, I look great in a suit, which is why I’m always looking for an occasion to where one. Now go rummage through the closet until you find something you can put on and feel good about. It’s better than a night on the couch watching some spoiled house wife from somewhere.
Be good to yourself and be good to one another.