Is Your Image Holding You Back?

Colette Werden

Style and Image Specialist

I can spot a woman who lives with the fear of not being good enough, a mile away.

She makes herself seem invisible when she walks into a room. She fiddles with her clothes and her posture defeats her.

Her handbag covers her body and when she sits down, she keeps her handbag on her lap for a little longer.

Her clothes look like they’ve been borrowed, like they’re a size or two too big for her. She doesn’t own the pieces of fabric covering her body, they own her – they’re shielding her from what she’s most afraid of.

When I look into her kind eyes, there’s a glimmer of hope that’s overshadowed by sadness, lack and even frustration – with herself.

She’s so close to opening that damn door, yet is so terrified of the brilliance behind it.

image via pinterest

Our image speaks louder than our words do. In fact, 93% of our communication is visual (including physiological), our words only make up 7% of the impression that we leave.

When our image is aligned with our inner identity – who we are, what we believe in, what our strengths are – it naturally impacts the way we feel about ourselves, the way we walk and the way we communicate.

It is then that our self-confidence sky-rockets, our presence enhances and we become a magnet to the right opportunities and people for us – clients, life partners and friends.

For the women that are ready to believe that they are “good enough”, you need to take as long as you need to self-analyse with a curious mind; a non-judgemental mind.

1. You need to stand in-front of the mirror, look at the reflection staring back at you and ask yourself this:

Who am I? What do I want to say? Is this me? All of me? Or, am I walking in my own shadow? Understand the woman you really are and dress her accordingly. And, if you know, deep down inside of you, even if you feel resistant to it, that you are not putting the best version of you forward, do something about it now. Before you exhaust yourself from all the self-comparison you do. Before you get stuck in a rut that will be even more challenging to get out of. And, before another year of self-doubt stops you from living the life you know you’re capable of.

2. Understand that what you see in the mirror is not what others are seeing in “real-life”

Studies have revealed that women generally distort what they see in the mirror by 30% to the negative. They focus in on the parts of their body that they dislike the most and walk away feeling disempowered. Women with the likes of anorexia or bulimia are distorting at a higher percentage; 70% and up. They’re standing in-front of the mirror looking frail, yet what they see in their reflection is someone who is much larger than what is true. Knowing that this distortion exists, be gentle to yourself when you’re looking in the mirror. Find one part of your body that you like – your waist, your legs, your arms, your décolletage, your eyes, your smile – and focus on this and highlight it. Praise it and be grateful for it. Tell yourself that you’re beautiful. Allow yourself to walk away from the mirror feeling empowered. Do this consistently and the energy you carry will vibrate at a magnetic level, I promise you.

3. Get rid of all your weaknesses in your wardrobe.

Your wardrobe is affecting your self-confidence more than you consciously realise. Every time you see those jeans you can’t fit into anymore, you’re reminding yourself of all the weight you’ve put on. Those garments with the tags still on them, are only triggering the annoyance that you’ve wasted your hard earned money, again. That outfit that you wore all those years ago, that you know you’re never going to wear again, is keeping you stuck in the past. What are you holding onto? I encourage you to start from scratch – remove everything out of your wardrobe and only put back in the garments that are serving you now; the ones that you look and feel great in now. That way, no matter what you’re pulling out, you’ll have the confidence that it is the authentic reflection of you. You’ll walk out of the house knowing that you’ve looked after yourself and whatever the day throws at you, you’ll conquer it.

4. Wear your “special” outfits every day.

You know those moments when you put on an outfit that you absolutely love and your confidence transforms? Your posture changes, your smile widens and there’s this subtle spring in your step. Have more of those outfits and make it your mission to create a wardrobe full of them, so you’re feeling like that every day, not just on “special occasions”.

Include your perfect pair of jeans for your body shape. It’s incredible how much a good pair of jeans can lift the most basic outfits (and your self-confidence). Opt for high waisted (good-bye muffin top) and high elastane (great stretch). Include a light pair for casual and a dark pair that you can dress up and down.

Add in a well fitted blazer. One that you can wear with jeans and a t-shirt, or dress up with a skirt or pants. A blazer can make you feel put together, even when know you could have done with a few more hours of sleep. They’ll straighten your shoulders out and polish you up.
Have that gorgeous statement dress ready to go, so you can freely say “yes” to that last minute occasion, without the worry of “having nothing to wear”.

Complement your outfits with killer shoes. You know, the ones that make you feel like you can conquer the world. It’s important to feel grounded yet powerful as soon as you slip them on. And, invest in your go-to black shoes, especially if they get a good workout.

5. Invest in lingerie that makes you feel like a woman (not a girl).

There are so many studies that have revealed that the type of lingerie a woman wears is a direct reflection of her self-esteem and apparently matching underwear and bra says, “I love my body and myself”. I actually have a client that wears a different pair of matching lingerie under her suits for work, every single day, because it makes her feel “powerful” – she calls them her “armour”.

It may sound cliché, but a quick and easy way to take your sexual self-esteem from a 2 to 10 is with some flattering new lingerie, even if no one else will see it and especially if your weight has fluctuated in the past few years.
Oh, and when was the last time you got a bra fitting? I’m talking about a proper one with a bra fitting specialist. Our breast size changes approximately every 5 years, so our bras must change with it. Your breasts will be thanking you for it and your clothes will fit even better; it’s incredible how even a little lift can elongate your torso and highlight your waist.
So, ditch the pieces that you know have seen better days and invest in new lingerie that make you feel sensual. Wear these pieces every day, even under your t-shirt and jeans. Wear them for you and get back in touch with the goddess that you are.

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