There is absolutely no doubt that our society places a lot of emphasis on how we look. Take a look at the magazines in the checkout line at the grocery store. I guarantee you that at least one will have an article on losing weight, another will have an article about the latest celeb’s weight gain, weight loss, or plastic surgery, and another will have photos about all of the latest clothing trends. How we look impacts how we feel, and how we feel impacts the relationships that we have with ourselves and others. If you’re not feeling good about yourself and your esteem is sagging try taking a look at what is hanging in your closet. Seriously- take a look inside and really asses what is going on in there.
Are you wearing clothing that has rips, tears, stains, or holes in it? Are you wearing clothes that are extremely tight in hopes of losing a few pounds? Are you wearing clothing that you are holding around your waist with a shoestring, piece of rope, with safety pins clipped together? Is half of your closet filled with clothing that fit you 10, 15, 20 years ago that you only need to lose 20 or 30 lbs to fit back in to? Are your toes poking through your socks? Is the elastic shredding in your underwear? If the answer is yes- then it is time to clean your closet out!
Wearing clothing that is dirty, torn, falling apart, and that doesn’t properly fit you sends the following messages to people:
I don’t value me so you don’t have to either.
I don’t take myself seriously so you don’t have to either.
I am dressed this way because I don’t want people to get close to me- leave me alone!
I am a failure.
As I am writing this I can hear the excuses some of you are coming up with as you are challenged with the idea of getting rid of the junky stuff in your closet:
I don’t need any new clothes or shoes. My old ones are comfortable.
I don’t want anything new.
I don’t have the time to go shopping.
I don’t have the money to buy myself anything.
Behind all of those excuses is fear. Fear that people will recognize your failures. Fear of stepping out of your comfort zone. Fear of how people will treat you when you change your appearance. Fear of dealing with people who are interested in you when you are not feeling comfortable with yourself. Fear of the expectation that you keep appearances up- what if you can’t get your act together and make yourself look clean and presentable? My favorite excuse: This is the way I am- you can take it or leave it. If you present that option to people within the first 30 seconds of meeting- well guess what- 99% of the time people are going to leave it and wonder why you are carrying such a large chip on your shoulder.
Cleaning your closet (and the rest of your home) can be very therapeutic. Getting rid of things that don’t fit and that are broken- is like letting go of some of your failures. Think about it. If you walk in to your closet everyday for the past 10 years and look at those jeans that don’t fit you anymore, it’s like getting smacked in the face daily- you gained weight, you’re a slob, you’ll never lose the weight-it’s been 10 years, you are such a failure! Who wants that voice running through their head on a daily basis. Invest in some new threads that are comfortable, that make you feel good, and that make you happy.
If your budget is limited you don’t need to spend a lot of money on appearance or clothing. Many cities have clothing stores with everything under $10. Often times these stores have sales that are 3 items for $10. You can go to thrift stores or consignment shops and often find brand new clothing with the tags still on them. One of the best gifts I ever received came from a thrift shop. It was a real COACH bag that my friend had paid a whole $2.00 for. If you don’t know what looks good or don’t know how to throw an outfit together, ask one of your friends to go with you. Or, take a look at several magazines and pull out photos of the styles you like. Make a collection until you have some ideas of what might look good together.
On a final note, everyone’s self esteem dips from time to time. When that happens to you, take a look at your surroundings. The way you feel about how you look and how you live can greatly affect your level of self esteem.
Pick a weekend to go through your closet. Weed out everything that you have not worn in the past year- if there is little chance that you will wear in the next year then give it away to someone who can use it. Put everything that is worn or stained in a pile to give to a local animal shelter that uses old clothing and blankets for rags. If you have several items that need to be sewn or repaired- give yourself a deadline to get it done. If you don’t get the work done by your deadline then give the stuff away to a charitable organization so that you can get a tax deduction.
After you have done all the work, weeding out the bad from the good stuff in your closet, set aside another day to window shop and try on some new things. Afterall, you deserve to feel good!