Last week, while I was visiting Dwight-Englewood school, I was faced with a comment that I’ve certainly heard before.
“It’s all well and good to say that the way that our body looks shouldn’t matter, but it’s not true. It’s lip service. It does matter. I realize it matters every time I have to leave the house,” a woman in the audience insisted.
And she is right, it does matter. To her. To each one of us individually. But rarely does the way we look, whether or not we have on the right outfit, matter to those we interact with when we’re out in the world.
Case in point, I can spend an hour in the closet, frustrated, until I finally find something I am comfortable wearing and then I get to where I am headed and, really, the least important thing going on at the event is critique of my wardrobe. Somebody might mention that she likes my necklace or my shoes or my lip color, but is she consumed by it the way that I was in that closet? Absolutely not. No one cares as much as I do. They just don’t. If they care about anything at all that has to do with appearance, it’s probably their own appearance that is consuming them. Not mine.
And so that is my mental trick when I am paralyzed in front of the mirror and just need to get out of the house. I remind myself that no one cares as much as I do- no one is looking me up and down the way that I do. No one knows that I changed mascaras, foundation, blush, hair brushes, because no one studies me the way that I study me. Not even my mom. Most definitely not my husband. I might think that my outfit is not right, my hair’s not right, etc., but no one else- wherever I am going- is going to be as consumed with how I look as I am. You know what they are going to notice? How I make them feel. And while I may not have control over a bad hair day or whether or not I can afford a new outfit, I always have control over how I make someone else feel. And you know what? What always touches me after I leave an event, experience, meeting, play date is the conversations I’ve had, the connections that were made, the hope that was offered.
So, the next time you are stalled in front of that mirror, the next time you think, Oh I just can’t go. I want you to push that paralysis out of your mind and remind yourself of this truth instead: the only thing anyone is going to remember is how you made them feel, the connection you made, the way you carried yourself.
Go out and enjoy; get out of your own way; live with the awareness that it is what you offer and are willing to receive that matters.
From March 2, 2011