Do you ever try to change your style and immediately feel like a fraud for doing so?
Maybe you want to get a fashionable shirt, or a nice haircut but you just feel uncomfortable at the very thought.
When I was younger I used to wear black clothing from head to toe. Black pants, black shoes, black t-shirt, and a black hoodie. When I tried to wear something else I felt as if people were watching me and judging what I was wearing. I imagined that they were silently laughing behind my back at the idea that I was trying to dress up and look good.
And I hated black clothing. I felt like a weirdo. But I just couldn’t bring myself to make the change.
It was years before I discovered why I felt this way and figured out how to overcome this feeling.
The Secret Of Self-Image
Every human being out there has a secret self-image that they carry around in their deepest self. This image describes who they think they are and how they think other people see them.
Notice how I put “they think” in italics? That’s because the self-image is not necessarily a true representation of who you are, it’s just who you think you are.
Your brain uses this self-image as a guide for how you should behave. It monitors all of your actions and speech in make sure that you’re always consistent with your self-image.
When you do something that violates the self-image the brain sounds the alarm and makes you feel discomfort and anxiety. These uncomfortable feelings are generated in order to make you stop doing what you’re doing and return to acting in accordance with your self-image.
Self-Images Are Not Truth
But the self-image can be completely wrong! It can be a false image of your self that is completely out of whack with how you really are.
For example have you ever seen a very cute girl who seems shy and is always afraid to speak up? She always stays quiet and when any attention is placed on her she seems to physically shrivel up.
This girl’s self-image is that of an ugly, undesirable, girl even though in reality she is beautiful and quite a few boys in class have “crushes” on her. But because her self-image is that of an ugly girl her brain tells her to act like the ugly girl. She blushes when cute boys speak to her and she can’t ever imagine why anyone would want to be around her.
In fact when boys do speak to her she can come across as cold and distant since she believes they are only speaking to her to make fun of her!
The Black Clothing Lesson
I used to wear black clothing because I had a self-image that I was overweight and disgusting and no one wanted to look at me. Worse than that I felt that my personality was as gross as my body.
When I tried to wear nice clothing it felt like I was a fraud and was trying to “trick” people. And I just “knew” that people could see right through me.
I imagined that they saw that I was just a fat weirdo and they were laughing whenever they saw me trying to cover that up and seem normal.
Of course this wasn’t really happening. But my self-image was describing a reality where to wear anything other than black would be a violation of my “true self”.
Self-Image Of Inferiority
You have a self-image that tells you that you’re not worth other people’s attention or that other people’s attention will only expose your true undesirable self and result in scorn and laughter.
Why you have this self-image is a complicated mix of past experiences and upbringing. You can read some of the other articles on my website that talk about self-image but to be truthful it doesn’t really matter why your self-image is the way it is, what matters is that you understand that it doesn’t represent who you really are and you can change it.
How To Stop Feeling Uncomfortable In Nice Clothing In 21 Days
In order to overwrite the parts of your self-image that tell you that you don’t deserve to dress up nicely you have to give your brain new experiences where you have positive results from dressing up.
If your brain understands that nothing bad happens when you dress up and that people accept you then it will create a new self-image where dressing up is a pleasurable experience.
I couldn’t bring myself to just put away my black clothing and force myself to wear something nice. I felt too anxious.
So what I used (and what I recommend you use) is a technique called mental visualization.
Visualization is a process where you sit alone quietly and imagine something very strongly and in great detail. Studies have shown that visualization can be just as powerful as real experiences in the formation of self-images.
Think of visualization as “creating memories”. What do you do when you remember something? You visualize it. Well when you visualize a memory that never happened in great detail your brain doesn’t really know the difference from a real memory.
By flooding you brain with visualized memories of yourself dressing up and experience positive vibes from other people you will create a self-image where you’re the type of person to dress up.
Soon you’ll find yourself feeling less and less uncomfortable in nice clothes.
Here is the process I want you to try:
Step One: Find a quiet room where you will not be disturbed for at least fifteen minutes.
Step Two: Make yourself comfortable by sitting down in a soft chair, a pillow, or even lying down on a couch or bed (but don’t fall asleep!)
Step Three: Close your eyes and imagine yourself wearing the clothes you’ve always wanted to and the style you’ve always liked. Imagine yourself putting on those clothes and admiring yourself in them while standing in front of a mirror. Imagine yourself walking outside and going to work. You speak to your co-workers and they’re friendlier than usual. You find yourself smiling more often and telling a joke that makes everyone laugh. You feel extremely confident and attractive. Imagine yourself going out for lunch and flirting with the cute girl at the deli. She seems to really like you. You can end your visualization by imagining yourself confidently walking down a sidewalk with a smile your face and your shoulders held back confidently.
Do this for just 10 or 15 minutes a day for 21 days. Make sure you time yourself and don’t let yourself get distracted. That’s it. Maybe you think I’m crazy and this process sounds stupid. But it worked for me. And hey what have you got to lose? You’re not paying me anything. No one will know you did it.
And it’s just 21 days.
If it works (and it does for most people who try it) you’ll be able to dress up the way you’ve always wanted to and feel great doing it.