A few days ago I wrote about being an emotional dresser and how important the creativity of getting dressed is for me. A part of the reason why I love clothes is that wearing them can make you feel so many different things, from unattractive and totally out of place to gorgeous, sexy and ready to take on the world.
As a tall woman who frequently feels like a giant among smurfs, I’m sometimes in desperate need of feeling pretty and feminine. Unfortunately, these are not adjectives popularly used in Norway, the country of the Jante law. This crazy giving-people-bad-self-esteem law says that you should never feel better than anyone else and you should definitely not be superfluous and care about what you look like.
Growing up in the 1980s, when fashion was about disguising your body and looking like a tomboy, added further to my fright of feeling feminine and pretty. A third source of fuel to my bonfire of insecurities was Norway’s strong focus on feminism and emancipation. It took me years to understand that I can be both independent and care about my looks at the same time — I thought I had to choose one or the other, and as a strong woman, I chose independence.
It wasn’t until I reached my 30s that I was completely comfortable with being all 183 cm/six feet of me and actually felt OK about making the extra effort to improve my looks and feeling attractive. This was also when I started wearing a handbag when going out, not only when going to work — previously, I felt really self-conscious whenever I carried a handbag, as I felt it was too feminine for me and everyone would see that I was pretending to be a grown-up woman.
Now I make a point of looking at myself properly in the mirror every day and telling myself that I look good. My focus is on the parts of me that I like and I try to dress these up as well as I can. The less impressive parts of my body don’t receive any negative attention — I simply try to make them work to my advantage or hide them away. Out of sight, out of mind always works like a charm!
When I make an effort and feel good about how I look and what I’m wearing, I also feel prettier on the inside. This improves my self image and makes me feel happy and self-confident, which in turn makes me feel comfortable interacting with other people, whether they are close friends or complete strangers.
We all need to feel happy about ourselves and thrive on the self-confidence and positive self image this creates — with a strong self image we can achieve the goals that we have set for our lives, which is an integral part of living a happy and fulfilling life. And if we love ourselves, we have opened the door to love someone else and allowed them love us back.
Did you go through similar issues when growing up? Was there a particular turning point that made you accept your body (and mind) just the way you are and start loving yourself? Please share in the comments section, as I’d really love to know.