As children, we get told stories of princesses, castles and dragons; of witches, magic and spells; of bogeymen, ghosts and monsters.
We learn from nursery rhymes that little girls are made of “sugar and spice, and all things nice”, and from fairy tales that we should be “good” and the perfect “homemaker”.
There are so many little things that influence the way in which we think about ourselves – and often we don’t even notice that they are affecting our self-image.
The thing that influence us the most are the “stories” we hear from our friends and family. When your mom or dad comment on the pictures of you as a baby. The feedback (solicited or otherwise!) you get when experimenting with a new dress, style or haircut. The “joke” your brother or sister always makes about your legs, butt or face (or anything, really!)...
These things all leave an imprint on our self-image.
The way we see ourselves is based on all of these memories and the feelings that they created in us at that time.
For example, for me, one of the things that I always used to hear from my brother is how big and flat is my butt. I literally spent all my teenage years covering it up and feeling worried about what others would think of me. It wasn’t until university when I started receiving positive comments from other people (boys!) that I even considered that the possibility of showing it off more. It took me years to believe that there’s nothing wrong with my butt and that many people actually appreciate it!!
We hold onto memories and feelings even if they are not serving us, and these stories often come from seemingly insignificant events or throw-away comments.
Our dearest and nearest are the ones who affect the way we see ourselves the most and consequently can give us the biggest false fears and frustrations.
As well as comments from friends and family, society puts a big pressure on us too. Commercials, magazines and movies are all trying to tell us how we “should” look - and if we don’t “live up to” current trends, it can cause a lot of overwhelm, insecurity and frustration.
There are also some old-fashioned societal “stories” that can sometimes affect the way we see ourselves and the way we approach style and fashion.
For example, women who are stylish or who follow fashion sometimes have the (negative) reputation of being shallow and overly feminine. Therefore women who want to be perceived as intellectual, practical or successful tend to think that they need to come across as masculine so that they don’t appear as an “empty-headed chick”. This influences their style, the way they take care of themselves, and also the way they behave.
These memories, and the power that we give to them (whether consciously or subconsciously), are holding us back from up-levelling our style and ultimately our lives.
You may have noticed that I don’t call myself a “Personal Stylist”. I am a Style Coach & Image Consultant. That’s because I don’t just advise women how to dress, I work with them to uncover the kind of life they really want to lead and the things that are preventing them from doing that before we go anywhere near a closet or shop!
I go through an in-depth process to help my clients find their stories and then release the ones that are no longer serving them.
As you know, it’s my mission to empower women to build wildly successful businesses & lives by creating a confident, authentic & stylish personal brand - and I believe that this is possible for any woman, regardless of height, weight or size.
Therefore, I’d like to share with you some of the practices I use with my clients to help them deal with their own personal stories.
Release Your Stories
Journal. Go through your life and recall any memories that are related to your appearance. Write them down in your journal or on a piece of paper.
Reframe your story. Rewrite each story by giving it a new (positive) meaning. Appreciate the experience and understand how it has helped you to become the woman you are today.
Decide how you want to feel. Write down your “mantras” and make sure to immerse yourself in them in every way possible. For example, “I am sexy and feminine, and I love my body right now!”, or whatever is most relevant to your personal situation.
Embrace your “flaws” and appreciate who you are. Focus on the things you love about yourself and give a positive meaning to the things you are not so happy about.
Celebrate yourself. Experiment with things that make you feel like a million bucks. Try unusual outfit combinations, heels instead of your usual sneakers, a mini skirt or a pretty dress even on an average day, a new hairstyle or even just a pampering session with a girlfriend. Anything that makes you feel good about yourself.
It might take some time to let go of all the stories that you’ve been holding on for so long. Be patient, and don’t be hard on yourself if it doesn't happen overnight. Just keep going and allow yourself to be who you really are.
If you’d like to go deeper into discovering and releasing your own personal stories, why not book a complimentary Image Evaluation with me? You’ll find out exactly what it’s like to work with me and how my expertise can help to transform your wardrobe and your life.
Veronika Nemeth is a Personal Branding & (Life)Style Coach, based in Milan, Italy. Her mission is to inspire and empower women to live their own truth and become the best version of themselves inside and outside.
She works with women who are ready to step into their power, break free of old limitations and create a life and an image that is true to them.