I’m in the dressing room of a clothing store when I overhear a girl and her mother talking about back-to-school shopping.
“That’s a beautiful dress, Samantha*, but it might be a bit much for school.”
“Mom, if I feel pretty when I’m learning, I’ll be more confident,” says the girl, who I’d guess is about 10 years old.
Her mom pauses, then says, “Ya know, you’re right. We’ll put it in the ‘maybe’ pile.”
Standing in my room, I’m smiling at their conversation. When I open the door, I see Samantha standing in front of the three-way mirror.
“Wow, you look really confident in that dress,” I say.
“I bet you’ll get really good grades wearing that.”
Her mom and I smile at each other as I leave.
I love the idea of a 10-year-old recognizing the importance of feeling good about herself, and how her mom responded. Even if they didn’t end up getting the dress, Samantha’s comment was acknowledged and honored, and not dismissed as manipulation to get what she wanted.
Obviously, feeling good about yourself involves much more than your clothes. More important are the stories and opinions you dress yourself in. Take a peek into your emotional closet. Do you speak kindly to yourself when clothes shopping? Or when you’re trying something for the first time? When you’re learning a new skill?
The words we wear have a greater impact than any dress. Sure, clothes can contribute to whether those words are uplifting or self-defeating, but your inner messages are the real first layer you put on — consider them your true undergarments. OK, maybe I’m taking this analogy a bit far, but you catch my drift.
What say you about all this? Let’s chat in the comments below.
Until next week, keep taking those small steps to Live Out Loud
*not her real name