You know how, when you’re feeling kinda wretched about the current state of your bod, you tend to lose interest in shopping? And eventually, shopping apathy morphs into diminished interest in clothes? And sometimes THAT indifference becomes an inability to engage in basic grooming?
It’s a fun little cycle, and we’ve all been there. Usually, a girl’s gotta hit bottom to shake loose body blues this severe: A candid party photo of your unkempt self that gives you shivers, a morning weigh-in that elicits a gasp of dismay, a cutting comment from a coworker, or something equally traumatic usually throws our long-rusted self-care gears in the opposite direction.
Now, consider this: What if you forced it? What if – on those days when you looked in the mirror and saw Grendel – you made yourself slip on your favorite clothes and take a few extra steps in your grooming routine? Would it help or hurt how you felt about your body and face and overall self?
We’ve already established that the cycle of self-loathing is inextricably linked to the cycle of self-neglect: Feel bad, look bad, feel worse, look worse, and on and on. But I maintain that a cycle of self-love can be perpetuated by a cycle of self-care. If you feel awful about how you look and allow yourself to LOOK as awful as you feel, you spiral down. But if you feel awful about how you look and work against that negativity – beautifying yourself with the tools you have at hand – you spiral up.
It’s not always possible, especially if grief, illness, or depression are in the mix. There are quite a few life factors that can make switching from comforting to dressy clothes feel utterly impossible and be completely unnecessary. But sometimes it works. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes that bit of energy you put toward adorning yourself in a way that pleases your eye can make a real difference
And when you put effort into your appearance, you may be less likely to hide from mirrors and withdraw from social situations. When you put effort into your appearance, you may receive more compliments – sources of external feedback that can encourage you to CONTINUE putting effort into your appearance. When you put effort into your appearance, you don’t wallow, you move.
Caring about how you present your physical self to the world makes you more present in your body. Presence in your body feeds itself, creating more care. The cycle of self-care feeding self-love creating more self-care allows you to broadcast a profile of self-respect and power. It reminds you that – at least some of the time – you can control how you feel about yourself. And that’s powerful good stuff.
Personal style can be used as a tool to cultivate self-care and reflect self-respect. No matter how tall you are or where you carry the most jiggle, you can learn to highlight what you love about your figure. You can utilize your natural, unique beauty to reflect your undeniably amazing self outward to the observing world. And when you do, you kick-start the machinery of self-love.
You can choose your cycle. Choose up.
Originally posted 2009-03-18 06:04:00.