Each month I am faced with a little resistance because I am not a natural born blogger by any means. I feel that I am a much better listener than a blogger. That’s what makes this story even harder to tell because it brought about such a very personal awakening. I am raised by European parents, WWII survivors and sharing warm and fuzzy experiences was not taught as a natural process as a young girl.
I had just finished my High School Certificate and was due to start my Fashion Technology and Design Studies in the new year but an opportunity presented itself to do an Office Skills Course through TAFE and I thought it may come in handy for additional employment skills to support my future studies.
One day during the course, they asked us to do an exercise, ‘ write down 10 things you like about yourself ‘ said the coordinator. Seems simple enough, right? Well I picked up my pen and went to write but I was stumped! My eyes darting from side to side trying to recall something… I spent 15 minutes staring at that blank page, as I looked up around the room everyone else seemed to be writing away. It came time to hand in the exercise and my page was still blank, so I quickly scribbled down, ‘I am a good listener’ feeling shameful that I was handing in an incomplete exercise.
You can imagine my relief when the coordinator said we wont be handing this in, YOU WILL BE READING THEM ALOUD TO THE CLASS. She didn’t yell the words but she may as well have said them through a megaphone. I quickly counted how much time I had before it was my turn, calculating each outcome depending on which side of the room she stated from. I wanted to just jump out the window, then thought I will conveniently excuse myself for a bathroom break before it’s my turn but my legs felt like cement and I couldn’t move. When it came to me, the panic was at its peak, jumping out the window was not an option, how do you come back from that? Legs were made of cement, so couldn’t leave the room… so… I took a deep breath and borrowed other peoples expression of self worth.
To this day remember feeling so disappointed in myself, not because I couldn’t think of 9 more nice things to say about myself but because I couldn’t complete the task.
As I sat on the train ride home that afternoon, I couldn’t stop thinking about my failure. With each stop closer to home I began to question, why was that so hard? I could begin to feel my eyes well up and my throat tighten as I began to slowly realise, no one had ever told me I was good at something. I was 18 years old and I had no idea how to say something good about myself. Huh! Talk about an Aha! moment.
In reflection I strongly feel that was my initial training for my role today, to show people how to feel great about themselves.
As children and then adolescents, then adults we set thought patterns in place with each life experience we have and the people who impact our lives (both good and some not so good). Over the years, these patterns become beliefs – some good, some not so good. Until one day, these beliefs don’t work so well for us any more but it has been a pattern or belief for so long that you don’t even know that you don’t know it’s a pattern.
I have worked in the fashion and design and marketing industry for 30 odd years and as much as I love and crave the creativity and design aspects of these roles it never seemed to fulfil me on that deeper level. Until, I began Personal Styling – it really should have a different tittle because this one does not really encompass what happens through this process.
What seems apparent with each consult is a shift. It’s ever so slight at first but this shift grows and each client has this wonderful realisation and that is – how to feel good about themselves. It is truly wonderful to be a part of and incredibly heart warming. So you see, it’s not just about garments and fashion and style. It really is so, so much more. Self Realisation.
Wikipedia explains that the Western understanding of Self Realisation may be defined as the “fulfilment by oneself of the possibilities of one’s character or personality.
In the Indian understanding, Self-realization is liberating knowledge of the true Self, either as the permanent undying Atman, or as the absence (sunyata) of such a permanent Self.
Please don’t think for one moment that I preach a sermon of any kind during my consults but I do hope that this story will show people that Personal Styling is far from being a superficial experience.
my story, Elizabeth Zielinski♥