I remember being told when I was at school that first impressions count, and I needed to be aware that people would make an instant judgement about me when they met me. (I was told this because I was not behaving ‘properly enough’ for a Queen’s School girl, as far as the headmistress was concerned, and would let the school’s reputation down!)
We all know we do that instant judgement: how someone is dressed, their manner towards us, the way they speak – these things all do give us an instant impression of the person, and we tend to react to them on the basis of this information.
As the object of such assessment on an everyday basis, what message are you giving about yourself? We can choose how we present ourselves to the world, although if we try to be something that doesn’t fit us, it is hard work for us and unconvincing for others.
However there is one person whom you are telling about who you are all the time, and that’s you! You are most influenced by how you choose to present yourself, and this is a gift, because it gives us an opportunity to easily help ourselves to be who we really want to be, in a way that fits us.
Every day you tell yourself who you are by what you choose to wear, what possessions you have in your home, how you treat yourself, how you treat others, what you give your attention to.
None of us are really a set personality, despite what those personality tests tell us! We are a mixture of characteristics, some obvious, some latent, and none of it is set in stone. I know – I was one of the shyest girls in my class at school, until the headmistress insisted that I read in assembly, because I was good at reading out loud. I got used to doing this, and found that big audiences didn’t hold any fear for me any more, and also that others in my school were so grateful that I did this job that they became more friendly towards me – it was the beginning of becoming the bold extrovert I am now!! (And clearly that headmistress did me some favours, as well as telling me off frequently for not being ‘proper’ enough!)
We can develop that mixture of who we are however we want to. And an easy way to break out of the spell of how we’ve been brought up to be is to represent a ‘hidden’ part of ourselves in how we dress, or what we decide to buy for our living room, or through an activity we experiment with.
Do you wish you could be more light-hearted? Buy a quirky tie to go with that grey suit, or an outrageous pair of earrings to wear for work! Do you wish you could be more outgoing? Smile at everyone you pass in the street for a day – actually catch their eye when possible and smile. Do you wish you could be more at peace? Find colours, music, objects, that help you to calm down, and fill your living room with such things.
Every time we put something on, do something, look at something in our immediate surroundings that we have put there, we are telling ourselves who we are. If we want to grow into our full beautiful selves, we can help the process by surrounding ourselves with the richest possible expression of who we are.
Don’t limit who you think you are to the version you thought you ought to be or were told you were. You are a wonderful rich tapestry of characteristics – be who you really are in all its glory!