Each blogg I am faced with somewhat of a challenge in trying to provide a relatable and interesting subject for readers. I feel that I am a much better listener than a blogger. This story brought about such a very personal realisation at that time and perhaps was an Aha Moment that was an early correlation with what I find is a common thread in working with my clients today as a Personal Stylist.
I had just finished my High School Certificate and was due to start my Fashion Technology and Design Diplima 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 the course instructor asked us to, write down 10 things you like about yourself . Seems simple enough, right? Well I picked up my pen and went to write but I was stumped! My eyes darted 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 frustrated with myself for not having completed exercise.
You can imagine my relief when the coordinator said we won’t 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? My legs felt like they were made of cement, so couldn’t leave the room… so… I took a deep breath and borrowed other peoples expression of self worth, no one was the wiser to my distress. The reason I share this with you now is that I learnt someting very important that day.
To this day remember the feeling of 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 response to this event. 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!
Its not that I had low esteem or that I didn’t feel competent but I had never been shown how to have appreciation for myself. Raised by European parents, WWII survivors, sharing warm and fuzzy experiences or emotions was not taught to us. It’s a skill set they hadn’t been taught. We were loved and cared for but acknowledging self worth was never shown how to. By the time I got home, I realised we are 100% responsible for our own happiness and for appreciating our own worth.
In reflection, I strongly feel that this was an epic realisation at the age of 18, one I see all too frequently in my role today as a personal stylist. So many clients are incredibly successful and accomplished in their achievements and knowledge (be it men or women), yet will be very quick to put themselves down rather than be willing to express things they like and value about themselves. Through my own personal experiences I am able to point this out to them and help them recognise their uniqueness and 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. These beliefs (if) set from a negative implant don’t work so well for us, but it has been a pattern or belief for so long that we don’t even know that we 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 they didn’t seem to fulfil me on that deeper level, until, I began Personal Styling – it really should have a different title 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, like when you drop a pebble into the water the first circle is small but each ripple is bigger and wider and each client has this wonderful realisation and that is – to feel good about themselves. It is truly wonderful to be a part of and incredibly heartwarming. So you see, it’s not just about garments and fashion and style. It really is so, so much more. It brings about Self Realisation on a different level.
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, instead appreciate it as a journey to seeing the true value of self.
my story, Elizabeth Zielinski♥