Stop Dressing for Success and Dress to Express
Express yourself. I don’t wear what other people think I should. I wear what is comfortable. I wear what I feel good in. I wear things that express who I am as a person. If you live in a situation where you are not free to express who you really are, you may need to make some different choices. Living a lie, maintaining a facade everyday also sucks a lot of energy and reinforces in your mind that you are not “O.K.”
If there is something in your life which is plaguing you, grab it by the horns and change it. I used to be horrible at managing my money. But I made some tough choices and some tough changes. My money is now in much better control and it makes me feel more mature and self confident. If there is some behavior which bothers you, i.e. procrastination, money management, being on time, being better organized, etc. tackle it. Getting a handle on something which has been handling you will increase your self esteem and make your life more manageable.
Face a Fear
I used to be terrified of guns. So I found an instructor who specialized in teaching women how to shoot. I now have a very healthy respect for the damage a gun can do, but I do not fear one, because I know how they work. I know how to disarm them and make them safe. I once knew a woman who was terrified of palmetto bugs. (If you’ve never seen one, imagine a giant cockroach, which can fly and is very aggressive.) Her fear became so bad it was running her life. She decided not to give in to it and signed up for exposure therapy (where you are slowly and carefully exposed to the thing you fear until you no longer fear it). It worked and she feels quite proud of herself for no longer being at the mercy of a bug. I had another friend who was terrified of speaking in public, so he signed up with Toastmasters. Now, giving a speech to a room of 500 people doesn’t even daunt him!
So often we are taught to run from or medicate our fears. This may work in the short term, but it doesn’t develop self esteem. Self esteem comes from overcoming something, from fighting your way through to the other side and knowing you beat it. Be sensible about the fear you choose to overcome and be reasonable in how you choose to overcome it, but try it and see if you don’t stand a little taller.