If you wish to earn the respect of others, your best bet is to broadcast respect for yourself. After all, you can hardly expect people to admire, trust, and esteem you if you don’t feel confident in your abilities, proud of your accomplishments, and capable of handling life’s surprises. Since feeling respected by others builds self-confidence, and appearing confident garners respect, all you’ve got to do is kick start the process and it’ll just keep feeding itself.
If you wish to broadcast respect for yourself, one of the easiest ways to do so is to dress with care. Comportment, demeanor, dress, grooming, and overall appearance constitute the first levels of information about ourselves that we offer to the observing world. They may not be the most important, but they are the first, which makes them worthy of effort and attention. You cannot control eye or skin color, but you can control behavior, cleanliness, and personal style. And while many of us already consider those channels for self-expression, they can also be used as channels for broadcasting self-respect.
Dressing with care does not mean suits or heels or flat-ironed hair. Not to everyone. Dressing with care does not mean skirts instead of jeans, slicked-back hair instead of loose waves, or designer clothes instead of thrift finds. Not to everyone. Dressing with care means finding clothing that fits and suits your unique figure, giving thought to the day’s activities and participants before choosing your ensemble, selecting garments that make you feel comfortable, powerful, proud, and truly yourself. Dressing with care will look different on every single one of us, and that is a marvelous good thing. But dressing with care means the same thing to us all; Making sartorial choices that showcase our best selves.
Although it’s dangerous to assume too much about a person based on appearance, it cannot be denied that exterior expressions reflect interior preferences. We dress to express our personalities, emotions, needs, and a few carefully-chosen bits of our inner lives. And when we dress to show respect for ourselves – when we dress with care – people around us cannot help but sense our confidence.
If you want others to respect you, you must respect yourself first. And show it.
Image courtesy absogina.