Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Style and Focus

I’ve noticed that when I don’t focus too much on what I’m wearing and wear things I truly like, I enjoy myself and what I’m doing more. When I compare myself to other people that I think look better than me or more stylish than me, then I start wanting to buy, buy, buy and feel inadequate.

I know deep down that the textiles I drape my physical body in are not as important as the focus and attention that I have given them. It’s easy to lie to myself and make it into a bigger deal than it really is. While it is true that what you wear can give you confidence, and also can create the positive or negative impressions on other people around us- it is also true that what we wear matters much less to other people than what they wear themselves. And when we move into deeper and more meaningful things (that I should spend more time on), what we wear or how we look means nothing at all. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for ourselves or our appearances, but it does mean that we should not focus so much energy and resources (including financial) on something that doesn’t really and truly add to our quality of life. The more discontented I am, the more I buy, and the more focus I put on it the more I feel like I don’t measure up to my ‘pie in the sky’ ideal.

I will never be the prettiest or most fashionable woman in the room. And it doesn’t matter that I won’t be! What matters is that I am comfortable in my own skin, and when it comes to style I should dress in a way that makes me feel confident but not put so much focus or ask so much of clothing. Clothing won’t make me happy. Clothing alone won’t get me a promotion, friends, or make me feel anything more than what I already feel on my own because I already dress well and appropriately.

When I think about style, I think about my shortcomings. I want, in the back of my mind, every outfit to be the best, every stitch of clothing I own to be the height of my personal style. But I know that I’m setting myself up for failure and over-shopping and feeling ‘less than’ with this kind of thinking. What I own is great already, and while it’s not perfect I have improved greatly and already feel great about my style. I don’t need to continue to make this such a main focus, especially when I have so many other things in my life that could benefit from my time, focus, and finances.

My focus lately has shifted, and it has been mostly positive.  I still occasionally compare myself to others and feel that empty, less-than feeling that drives me to want to go shopping. I still enjoy clothing and style, I still have things I would like to buy- but the drive to buy is diminishing again. I've almost completely stopped browsing- in fact, it's been a few weeks since I have even looked at online stores- and I'm not 'white-knuckling it' either. Now, I've been through this cycle before- I'll stop browsing, stop wanting for about a month and then suddenly everything I see is attractive again and I go on a major binge. It'll start with a thing or two, since it's been so long since I've shopped and I've earned it. But then I buy more, and more, and more until it's out of control because I can't stop buying everything I want.

So, how do I stop the seemingly inevitable binge? I know after the several other cycles I’ve been through that this is typically the calm before the storm. Well, I think success lies back with my earlier discussion on focus. I made a ‘public’ commitment to myself to make this coming year a year of INTENTIONAL purchases, and have set item limits and budgets as the maximum ‘goal’ if you will for me to meet. I intend to continue blogging about my thoughts and experiences at least twice a week (more if I have more to say like I have lately), and of course post my monthly tracking posts to keep me from hiding reality from myself. I also intend to direct my focus not on what I’m ‘deprived’ of, but more on what I want out of life and the other parts of my life, trivial and otherwise, that have been neglected in favor of over-shopping for clothing.

I was once debt free and powerfully confident in my decisions and early successes- I intend to be there again soon.

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