I’ve been busy reading Dale Carnegie’s book, How to win friends and influence people, a recommendation from a recent workplace course I’ve been taking. I never realised that this book was actually published back in 1936 and when I discussed it with others, most people I spoke to had already read it. The first principle it mentioned is ‘Don’t criticise, condemn or complain’. Although this referred to how we relate to others, when you think about it, we can often fall into the trap of criticising ourselves and our appearance. Our clothing is often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves or how we feel about the day ahead and, in a way, we can let it become a vehicle to criticise ourselves. Do we look too fat in this outfit? Is the colour draining our faces? Can I really get away with wearing a short skirt? Every time we put on an outfit and look in the mirror, we are critiquing ourselves in some way. We are our worst critics.
It also seems that the more choices we have and the more complex our lives are, the more critical we become. How many pairs of black trousers do you own? What about jeans? T-shirts? Dresses? Shoes? Some days everything falls into place. Other days, you mix and match your usual outfits, but still nothing seems to work or meet your expectations. Compare that to when you travel and you only take one pair of black trousers and one pair of jeans etc. You make it work and it’s simple and easy. I think it’s good to remember that although we may not look our best on a particular day, those are the days that we need to be kindest to ourselves. Simplifying our lifestyle and keeping only those items that give us ‘joy’ is a step towards helping us support a positive outlook.