Monday Motivation: The Science Behind Dressing The Part…
So last fall I decided to enroll in a heels class because who doesn't want to walk around like Beyonce for an hour? I also really loved that this would be a class that could help me work on my physical presence and body confidence.
But I gotta tell y’all the first couple of weeks were pretty rough. I just didn't know how to get out of my head, and all of my inner self critics we're having a feast on my self-worth.
“Why does my head whip look so weird?”
“Ugh, I'll never be able to get my legs as straight as hers.”
“Who do I think I am trying to walk around like Beyonce.”
And the thoughts just went on and on and on.
And even though I still kept showing up for class, and would see marginal progress in my ability to master the moves, one of the biggest elements that I would see missing as I watched the recordings was the fact that I had absolutely no confidence.
You could see that I was getting the moves technically, but the energy and the spirit that I brought to the moves was completely dead. And I just didn't know how much more my self-esteem could take.
And then by sheer stroke of luck, I decided to start reading a book called The Charisma Myth, which talks all about the science behind personal magnetism. And the following sentence from the first few pages of the book completely hooked me:
“It was a $4 million deal, and it was nearly lost because of a black wool suit.”
In a chapter that she writes on how physical discomfort can affect your self confidence, she shares the story of how a man had been preping for months to close this $4 million deal, but on the day of the meeting he decided to wear a black wool suit that made him very physically uncomfortable, and that made his body language appear to be very tense and unwelcoming.
Later on in the book, Olivia Fox Cabane then outlines a three-step method to help people overcome the physical and mental discomfort that will hinder them from building charisma. And the first step is destigmatizing discomfort. She talks about how important it is To keep your discomfort in check by both dressing and thinking in ways that make you feel your best.
It was after reading this book that I realized that I often went to heels class in beat up leggings and old gym t-shirts, and figured that this probably wasn't helping with my self-esteem.
So using what I learned from the book, I decided to start dressing more fiercely for class.
And within a few classes I definitely saw a significant impact on the energy that I brought to the dance moves. But here's the important thing to note about embodying this tip; for some people, being in a leotard and heels might not be your comfort outfit. Maybe for you it's boyfriend jeans and a band t-shirt, or sweatpants and a crop top, or a pencil skirt and a blazer. Whatever you're comfortable it is remember that it's not about fitting into what society says is supposed to be comfortable-- it's about finding the clothing that truly makes you feel happy to be in the skin you're in.
For me personally, I love skin tight clothing, and if it were socially acceptable I would probably walk around in a latex suit all the time. Some people that could be their biggest nightmare and that's okay.So as we go forth to reimagine our Monday this week I would encourage you to be mindful about the clothes that you wear this week, and note what articles of clothing make you feel at your best, and what articles of clothing make you feel crappy. Maybe it might be time to take a trip to Goodwill? And in the future as you go shopping try to be mindful about whether or not the article of clothing you want to buy truly makes you feel like the queen that you are.