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The Top 7 Signs that you are ready for a Career in Personal Styling

So you love all things fashion & style, and the idea of getting paid for it makes you drool with excitement. Getting to do it all the time? Dreamy. You might even follow some Stylists online and envy their job, wondering if you might be cut out for it. Wonder no more. Read on for the top 7 signs that will tell you if this career is right for you. Oh, and stick around at the end for the FREE 7-step master checklist for launching a career as a Personal Stylist!

1. Fashionista is your nickname!

Ok, maybe not literally, but admit it…you’ve been called that before. It’s obvious to others that this is a natural talent for you. You’ve clearly got a knack for it.

2. Helping others feel good about themselves gives you energy.

It’s not just all about you. Helping others feel and look good actually fuels your fire and makes your day better. You fantasize about what you would do to make over that dowdy friend who could transform and come alive with a little (or a lot of) help. Heck, you would do it for a stranger too, given the chance. Does this resonate? Keep reading, and let’s see if you’re a natural fit…

Two Women Meeting In Fashion Design Studio

3. Your look is dialed in.

When it comes to style, you are an artist with putting it all together. Or, maybe you still have a ways to go, but you clearly celebrate your style. Having a strong sense of style, and being polished with your look is key to succeeding in a styling career. That may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t forget about the cobbler who wore no shoes. It’s easy to neglect yourself, and that’s a big no-no.

4. You’re willing to talk about yourself and what you can offer.

Sure, we can all feel a bit shy when it comes to gabbing about our skills, but there’s got to be a willingness and ability to sell yourself as a personal stylist. If that’s already easy for you, you’re set! If not, don’t worry, this one can be practiced and acquired. And, if you already have the above taken care of, your own style will do a lot of the selling for you. All you will have to do after receiving the inevitable compliments is tell them what you do. Plant the seeds that you can help them too!

5. You are motivated as an entrepreneur.Lovely designer

Let’s be clear from the get-go, being a Personal Stylist is being an entrepreneur. You will create your own opportunities, get clients and build a business around doing what you love. Spoiler alert! It’s not ALL fun. As with any job, there will be parts that you don’t enjoy, but since you are a #GirlBoss you will press through the hard stuff so you can enjoy the fun stuff!

6. Multi-tasking? No problem!

Becoming a successful personal stylist doesn’t usually happen overnight. So if you are willing to hold down an extra job while you build your clientele – you’ve got what it takes. If you already work in a style related field like retail, self care, or beauty…even better. You’ll naturally be able to connect with potential clients for your Personal Styling business. Ok, so what do you think? Sound like you so far? One more to go. Last but not least…

7. You’ve got skills.

We’ve already covered natural talent, but this is different. To be a professional, you need to train with or be mentored by Experts. Don’t fret if you’re not here yet. This is just a step away. Here at The Style Core Institute, with 30+ years of training top Personal Stylists + Image Consultants around the world, we’ve got you covered. Whether you take our onsite 5-day Essential training or the 40-hour Distance learning course, gaining pro skills is totally attainable—Especially with available financing for low monthly payments on tuition.

 

So in review, here are the top 7 signs that you are ready for a career in personal styling;

  1. Fashionista is your nickname
  2. Helping others feel good about themselves gives you energy
  3. Your look is dialed in
  4. You’re willing to talk about yourself and what you can offer
  5. You are motivated as an entrepreneur (#girlboss)
  6. Multi-tasking? No problem!
  7. You’ve got skills (training with the experts)

Euphoric and surprised winner winning online

Do you match at least 6 of these? All 7? If the answer to either is YES, pay attention! You might be the perfect match for a satisfying new career as a Personal Stylist. Like any good idea, this is worth looking into further. Learn more here.

We’d love to hear from you! Please comment and tell us which of these signs are flashing the brightest for you. Which ones are the most challenging?

 “I am getting feedback that my work as a Personal Stylist is really making a positive difference for people. It is amazing to me what an impact this work can make. Women say they don’t care, but really they just don’t know what to do. Anyway, I am seeing my clients wearing new things that work for them and having fun doing it.” - Teresa, Personal Stylist trained by The Style Core

As promised, we have a FREE download for you!

Click here to get the 7-step master checklist for launching a career as a Personal Stylist.

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Living the Dream as a Personal Stylist: My Story

Hello! My name is Katelyn Milley. Thanks to The Style Core, I am living my dream of being a Personal Stylist. This May, I celebrated my business’ three year anniversary!

Here is my story…

In June 2012, I attended The Style Core’s Essential Personal Stylist training class. Having previously taken other styling courses, I wanted to build on my personal styling education. I really enjoyed the class and learned important skills that I use in my business today – most notably color analysis and how to give a fashion consultation. 

After completing the course, I went home and mulled over the information I learned from Carla. After a few months, I began creating my business. Over the next six months, I reserved my website URL, www.katelynmilley.com, selected a website template, and had my logo designed. I carefully constructed my brand. Business cards were printed and I wrote my website’s content. Then came the biggest challenge of writing my Fashion Consultation and Beauty Consultation guides. Finally, on May 14th, 2013, everything was ready to go, and I launched Katelyn Milley, Personal Stylist. 

Today, I offer seven different services to my clients including: Fashion Consultation, Beauty Consultation, Beauty Appointment, Closet Edit, Personal Shopping, Personal Styling, and Photo Styling. I work with my clients one on one in their homes, or as you can imagine, in malls and boutiques. Over the years, my client base has grown to comprise of many women from my area (near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), as well as from Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey.

I have worked with many women I absolutely loved taking on a styling journey. Here are a couple of their stories:

Amy’s Experience

A therapist her early thirties, Amy chose the following services with me to get her best style: Fashion Consultation, Beauty Consultation, Beauty Appointment, Closet Edit, Personal Shopping, Personal Styling and Photo Styling. I loved hearing her feedback about the process, and hope you do too!

Photography by:@bluepearphoto Styling and Make-Up by:@katelynmilley Hair by: @KelseyLamarra [email protected]

K: What were your thoughts going into your styling experience?

“As a very (very) busy Mom of four girls, style had taken a back seat to the craziness of every day life. I love fashion and frequently look at blogs and spring/fall runways, enjoying the gorgeous details, colors, and artistic statements that a great wardrobe brings with it. In my closet, however, was basically a uniform of black shirts, black pants, with occasional grey thrown in. I had a jumble of clothes in piles that were unused but taking up space, and I was frustrated with the fact that I was wearing the same thing every day. I have a vibrant personality and my clothing was anything but a reflection of that. To add insult to injury, I am very petite, so finding well-fitting clothes is difficult. I would find myself frequently in the junior’s department, buying clothing that was far too young for me and still ill-fitting!”

K: Which part of the Fashion Consultation was your favorite?

“Katelyn had me choose a few paintings/photos that were inspiring/beautiful to me. I thought it was an odd exercise for a fashion consultation, but wow was it illuminating! As I described what I liked about each piece, we found that certain words kept coming up over and over again. As I thought through those words, I realized that they were reflections of my personality, and were things that I find beautiful about myself, too. And we were then able to take those words and apply them to a cohesive style sense that I found truly beautiful and reflective of what I wanted to put out into the world.” 

K: What were your thoughts and feelings after the Fashion Consultation?

“After the fashion consultation, I finally had a clear sense of what my style personality is! I was able to picture a cohesive wardrobe, instead of an ecletic mix of styles, many of which don’t work with each other (which results in buying lots of clothes that never get used).” 

K: What was your biggest takeaway from your Beauty Consultation?

“I have always been a minimalist when it comes to makeup. Which is okay, but I often found myself wanting to branch out and try some fun styles (a bold cat eye, for example), but was too afraid to actually rock it. Having Katelyn narrow down a perfect color palette for my skin, and then playing around with those colors, allowed me to branch out into a lot of different looks that I would have been too afraid to try otherwise!” 

K: What was most helpful about the Closet Edit?

“The most helpful thing about the Closet Edit was seeing just how many things in my closet I had overlooked! There were all these great pieces in there that I hadn’t worn in forever, or couldn’t figure out how to incorporate into my wardrobe, and Katelyn was like a magician – turning a piece that I would have given away to Goodwill, to a piece that will become a new staple in my wardrobe. On the other side of that, though, figuring out what isn’t worth holding on to was so helpful as well. I had a lot of pieces I was holding on to for who knows why, and it was time for them to leave my closet.” 

K: What did you like the most about Personal Shopping?

“The personal shopping was perhaps one of my favorite parts of the experience, and something that will forever change the way I dress myself. I was able to see, in person, how to sort through the enormous amount of choices presented by a store, and quickly decipher what will work for me and what won’t. As a woman who is very, very busy, being able to quickly see that the strap on a top will be to clunky for my small frame, or that the rise of a pair of jeans won’t flatter my proportions, will save me huge amounts of time and frustration in dressing room. When I go shopping now, it is such an amazing experience – being able to take all that knowledge that Katelyn imparted and put it to quick use is a life-saver!”

K: What have been your biggest takeaways from your styling experience?

“I think I have two biggest takeaways. The first, is that I have been able to define myself stylistically, and present myself outwardly in a way that matches how I feel inwardly. Expressing to the world who I am through the art of style is an important and wonderful skill to have!

The second is learning how to shop for clothes that fit my body. Learning how to scan for proportions on clothing has already saved me literally hours of time in a store, and much frustration. I am able to dress myself confidently in the mornings without fear that the look doesn’t work for me!”

K: Do you feel that you have become more aware of the importance of fashion and personal style in your life? If so, in what ways?

“I have definitely become more aware of the importance of style in my life. As I move forward with my career and with my life, how I present myself will be looked at and evaluated, and those evaluations with form the basis for my success. Using style to further myself and my personal brand now isn’t a huge hurdle to overcome, but a joy and a pleasure, and a tool that I can use skillfully and easily.” 

K: How would you say your styling experience has impacted your life?

“Apart from giving me the ability to confidently and easily dress myself every day, the styling experience gave me the ability to re-examine my own passions and priorities. As I learned more about how I project myself, I felt like I reaffirmed skills and gifts I have had, and uncovered new interests and ideas that had been lurking in the back of my mind, but hadn’t quite come to light. It gave me the time and space to make myself a priority, too, which had fallen by the wayside in my recent busy times. I am incredibly grateful for the experience, because I feel like I uncovered my most authentic self, both inside and out.” 

Andrea’s Experience

A pilates studio owner + instructor in her her early thirties, Andrea received a Fashion Consultation with me. She also gave me feedback about her experience…

Photo by Sarah Rachel Photography www.sarah-rachel.com

Photo by Sarah Rachel Photography www.sarah-rachel.com

K: Why did you decide to hire me as your personal stylist?

“I needed direction for style, shopping and how to dress to highlight my body and express my personal style.”

K: What were your thoughts going into your styling experience?

“This will be fun! Finally, I will be able to shop with confidence.”

K: Which part of the Fashion Consultation was your favorite?

“Choosing the best colors for me.”

K: What was your biggest takeaway from your Fashion Consultation?

“Learning how much science goes into it, much more than I thought!”

K: Do you feel that you have become more aware of the importance of fashion and personal style? If so, in what ways?

“Yes – color, proportion and ways to make myself appear thinner or taller all have been a huge benefit to me.”

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Being able to work with women like Amy and Andrea is a huge blessing. Thank you, Style Core for helping me be able to style people for a living. It truly is a dream come true!

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Blog feature photo collage (from top, counter clockwise) – # 1 &2 by Blue Pear Photography: www.bluepearphoto.com. #3 by Sarah Rachel Photography: http://www.sarah-rachel.com
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How To Describe This Thing We Do

Calling what we do “styling” misses so much of the point. Style, whether it is strong or hodgepodge, is almost always thought to be about the surface. Tweaking and preening the details to make someone or something look “of the moment” or “better” than they really are. When it works, an essential truth about the person, place or thing is revealed. Style has resonance when it supports the identity of the one being styled. This is NOT what people think of when they think of styling.

Rather than trying to redefine or expand the definition of styling, it might be more meaningful to hear from clients who have experienced the work. This serves two purposes; it toots our horn and personalizes the description.

“My tDavid_faves3ime with Carla was a transformational experience. Through a series of simple exercises, she helped me accurately identify and define my authentic self and gave me the tools to visually project my true self in the world.

I did not realize that things like color, clothing, “the stuff” in my home have such a huge impact on my behavior and how others perceive me. I never would have guessed that being intentional about what I choose to wear and surround myself with would be so empowering. It is.

With this small shift in my thinking, I have experienced profound and positive change in my daily life. Suddenly people know what to expect from me. They have a better understanding of who I am because they see it first. I am more confident, at ease with myself and a more effective communicator.”

- David, Durham, NC

You can see in David’s writing and hear in his voice the newfound clarity and confidence he is talking about. This personal confidence is more important to David than any new look. This begins to touch the essence of the work we do. Yes, its about clothes and the styles of clothes & accessories we wear, but its all in the service of revealing who we are.

“I wanted to thank you for yesterday! It was really eye opening not just for my style, but my heart! It is crazy actually, seeing on paper who I am. I recently have started rebranding my photography studio and was going to make it into this LA hip idea…But in all honesty, that is just not me! I’m a nature, and clean air and waterfalls kinda gal. It made me realize that I was trying to fit in here, but in that, somewhat loosing myself. It opened my eyes to why I shoot photography the way I do. Why when I look at people in LA who are wearing black clothing, why it makes me feel uncomfortable. Seriously, yesterday opened my eyes to so many things!!!! So thank you!!! It was a pivotal point in my life to have this done for me! I never would have seen all of this if it wasn’t for you.”

- Yvonne, Los Angeles, CA

Ok, the integration Yvonne is talking about is why we love doing what we do. She was about to make life decisions that were going to take her farther from her true self. She was rebranding her studio to look like what’s trendy and culturally hip now, at the loss of authenticity. We’ve all been in studios like this, where you can feel that the true identity, the real personality of the person doing the work is submerged. They’re doing what they think will appeal to the largest number of potential clients, rather than seeing the world the way they see it and offering this unique perspective to everybody whose interested.

Becoming integrated is a beautiful thing.

I’ll finish with a Yelp review from a recent client. She’s a graphic designer who lives in Los Angeles. She saw a local review and took a chance.

“Carla has an amazing gift. Her styling sessions/consultations are really a service to empower a person to visually express who they honestly are. The Style Core has connected different disciplines and has developed a way to create an individual style that is truly an extension of who one is.

I had the fortunate experience to give myself a full consultation. Wow! What a great experience! And what an education! The awareness!!!

To start, the office is a peaceful and lovely creative space near Sunset Blvd., in Silver Lake. Carla is very friendly and puts one at ease immediately. It’s a very safe, and oh so creative environment.

We started with a review of the online worksheet I filled out. This included submitting visual images I love, along with answering a few questions.

We went through some exercises where I picked out visuals that spoke to me. From this Carla distilled what it was about the imagery I was attracted to and how to bring those elements into my own wardrobe. And it resonated, because those were the exact elements in my 2 favorite “go to” outfits that NEVER EVER let me down.

Then we chose colors. Mind opening to see the subtle differences between tints, shades and hues of similar colors against my skin. The awareness of what works for me is huge!

And that leads to the next part of our session. Carla analyzed my coloring and the shape & proportion of my body and features. She showed me clothing styles, shapes, lengths, etc. that complimented my body shape. Clothing shapes/drape that helped visually relate my body measurements to body proportions identified in the art world as visually attractive to the human eye.

The exercises, color exploration, and body shape analysis gave me a vocabulary of why I liked somethings and permission to not like others. It gave me an elemental rock to stand on and hold fast to when tempted by magazine articles to try a fashion trend not meant for my coloring/body shape. And it stopped me from blaming my body for not looking good in something. It’s the fashion, or non-fashion that’s to blame!! Everyone’s body is perfect.

What I came away with makes me so happy. The Style Core system is like Human Centered Design, except the product is you. I whole heartedly recommend The Style Core. Their service is very empowering. It makes me so happy just thinking about my consultation and what I’ve discovered from it.”

Ann, Los Angeles, CA

There we go! The joy Ann is feeling, the empowerment, the clarity she now has about herself is what our work is all about.

Styling is about the surface, yes, AND its about what lies beneath the surface. We are integrated beings; body, soul and spirit. Seeing the connections between Who We Are on the inside and How We Look on the outside can be life-changing.

Show your story! Don’t hide it behind clothes that tell the story of some hot brand or ‘of the moment’ look. Integrate. Share who you are with us, we want to celebrate you.

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To learn how to see yourself in this new way. Book your own Complete Consultation.

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Reflections of Self

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we have it not.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).

When you are ready to go out the door, and check the mirror for that last-moment look, you might say, “Wow, this is good.” If you can say this and mean it, you are one of a small percentage of women who likes her reflection. If, however, you give a sigh or a groan it’s important to know what prompted that sigh or groan. Is it your body? You might wonder why you were born the way you are, and would like to change things about your body. What would you change if you had a magic wand? What is your list? Whatever it’s, there are ways to dress in a way for you and your friends,and everyone you meet to say, “Wow, she’s beautiful!”

The form, shapes, proportions of your body are what make you distinctive and memorable. It’s critical to the health of your soul that you begin to honor your body and speak encouraging words about yourself. Rather than saying you have thunder thighs, or saddle bags, you might say you have a full womanly curve in your thigh that is asking for skirts that gracefully flow over the thigh and continue on out in the form of an A-line skirt or bell-bottom pants. As you begin to speak positive messages to yourself you begin to see possibility for your individual beauty and style.

It could be that you think your body is fine but you still don’t like your reflection. Trust that something is wrong with the picture in the mirror. Your clothes might be too bright or too dull. Your accessories too flashy, or you need to accessorize your outfit. Maybe you don’t know how to apply makeup, or you need a new hairdo. It could be that you simply want to make the most of how you look. The reality is: You don’t have to change your body, you probably need to change your clothing…. Or your makeup, or your hairstyle.

Diana’s story

Diana came to me having no idea how to dress her size fourteen, five foot eleven inch body. She had a large head for her short waisted, long legged body that looked even larger because of her short permed hair and old-fashioned owl-eyed glasses. She did not wear makeup, and felt hopeless in the beauty department. In her words, her mouth was too big, her eyes too tiny, her bust too small, and her hips too big. Not only that; she was too tall, and her legs were bowed! She was shy and unsure of her social skills so hid herself on the night shift of a large hospital.

After working together for the few months it took for her to believe she had a beautiful body it was as though a magic wand had been waved. She stopped perming her hair, and had grown it to shoulder length, bought new glasses, gone on a major shopping excursion, taken a trip to the tailor, and booked a session with a makeup artist who taught her ‘natural’ makeup techniques. Her self-esteem catapulted, heads of friends and strangers alike turned when she came into a room, and she had the confidence to pursue her hidden dream of becoming a graphic designer.

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Choices

What size mirror do you have at home? Do you have a full length one or a small mirror to use when putting on makeup? If you want to do what it takes to see and celebrate your beauty, get a full length mirror!

Whatever your body…. if you feel you can’t possibly be beautiful because you are too plain, too heavy, too thin, too hippy, too flat or some other “too,” know your perception is not true. You have three more choices:

  1. You can continue to see yourself as ‘less than’. In which case you can keep reading these blogs to explore the possibility you might be wrong.
  2. You can deny that one’s looks make a difference, in which case, keep on reading these blogs to discover that this statement is false. How one looks does make a difference, in both how others perceive you and how you feel about yourself.
  3. Learn to showcase your features as beautifully unique.

Whether you choose one, two, or three, we will start at the beginning in the upcoming blogs to answer three fundamental questions:

What is beauty? Why is beauty important?, and… How do I begin?

How do you begin? First learn to see the beauty of your body as it’s now. Every form and shape, shadow and contour has the potential for creative expression in clothes you choose to wear. You can train your eye to see your beauty potential regardless of your size and shape. Second, learn to choose clothes and accessories that highlight your personality, Third, develop skills to use makeup and choose hairstyles that enhance your features and relate to your clothes and lifestyle. A beautiful reflection in the mirror depends on the total picture.

Virginia

Overweight by 150 pounds, Virginia had no clothes that fit her softly curved oval- silhouetted body.

She so hated her reflection that she dreaded going into a fitting room. Mirrors were her enemy. The only clothes that fit over her tummy were huge through the shoulder and hip, making her look like a shapeless lump with a tiny head on top. Once she began to see her body as an artistic shape very much like a bouquet of large peonies, she began the radical process of changing her self-hating talk and thought patterns. She started practicing self-encouragement thinking, which allowed her to the stop being a victim of available clothing. She took control of the way she looked. After buying the tent shaped clothing that fit over her tummy, she would march down to the alternations department and have the tops re-cut through the shoulders and the skirts and trousers tapered below her thigh and tummy. She changed the jewel necklines to large scoop necklines in order to frame her full rounded face. She shortened long sleeves to three-quarter length and made vents at the bottom of the side seams of her tunic-length overtops to give room for her thighs. She chose colors that repeated her blue green eyes and chocolate-rose skin. Shoes were a challenge until she found a catalog that carried an extra-wide a simple flat in a smoky taupe that related to her smoky deep brown hair. A long, soft rectangular chiffon scarf and pearl earrings that related to the whites of her delicate almond-shaped eyes finished her creative ensemble. Taking control of the possibility for beauty, resulted in self-confidence and self-acceptance. Her weight might be important for her health, but it’s not for her beauty.

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Beauty, Nature, and You

“Every soul yearns for the Beautiful”
Beauty —John O’Donohue

Nature holds the key to Beauty. How do you feel when you come across some scene in nature or a magnificent-to-you flower? Whether grand in scale, or dainty in detail, beauty brings joy and a sense of wellbeing. There’s not one definition of beauty. Look at the thousands of different types of flowers: some are big, some small; some have frilly petals, others pointed ones; some have many petals, others few, yet, we don’t say one flower is more beautiful than another because it’s different. Some are fragrant, others merely beautiful to see. We don’t try to make a rose less a rose or an orchid less an orchid.

You can look at differences in women in the same way. Some of us are large-scale with large features; others have small-scale delicate ones. Some of us are curved and others straight. As there is beauty in every flower, there is potential for beauty in every body and every face.

 Start at the beginning

What distinctive body features do you feel keep you from being beautiful? What would you change if you could? Divide a paper into three columns and list what you would change.

 In the first column write down what you would like to change:

– Is it your shape? (Surely, God could not have intended your hips to be so big, so small; so rounded, or so flat!)

– Your hair… (Couldn’t it be straighter, or have some curl; be thicker, thinner?)

– Your eyes… (Couldn’t they be larger, smaller, not so slanted, or less ordinary?)

– Perhaps your body is crooked or your breasts too small, too big, too high, too low, too close together, too far apart.

– What about your freckles or the acne scars, the hair on your arms, the size of your hands, the turn up or down of your nose, your tummy, your thighs?

You might be thinking that there had to have been a cosmic mistake! Surely, you would be beautiful if some things on your body-list changed! The radical truth here is that there has not been a mistake. For whatever reason, no one taught you to see the beautiful truth of your body as it’s right now. You have not learned to dress and to choose hairstyles and makeup that showcase your unique expression and posibility of beauty.

 In the second column opposite each item you listed in column one, identify where your negative body attitude originated. Was it your brother, mother, father, aunt? How we think of ourselves is based on our life experience, and especially on comments of friends, relatives, and acquaintances—well meant or otherwise. An off hand comment like, “Too bad you have thighs like Aunt Velma,” gives a clear message that you are less than, and not quite good enough to beautiful. What were the comments you took into your heart? When did you start to feel dissatisfied with your body?

Perhaps it was not been safe to be beautiful, or some adult told you it was not important to be beautiful, or you compared yourself to some picture in a magazine, or a sibling or classmate teased you, (all in fun that was not fun to you). Each of us has a story to tell around this second column.

Your challenge is to replace the negative attitudes about your body with positive ones.

Column three. Leave this column blank until you discover a positive attitude replacement.

[Illustrate the following example ]

Column 1: overlarge derriere

Column 2: older brother teased me about this

Column 3: Sensuous, feminine derriere that is sassy like a Rodin beauty. I can wear clothes to show it off: Form-fitting dress with interesting detail at the back, or a swinging skirt that sways when I walk, and sassy high heels.

Somewhere along the way to complete attitude adjustment, physically get rid of your old negative ones. On a slip of paper, copy each negative attitude you listed in column one. Place the slips in a box; close the lid tightly, and put the box on a shelf you rarely use, never be opened again—we hope. You can physically do this exercise, or imagine yourself doing it. Once you put all those slips of paper in your box, you can choose to bury the box in the yard, throw it in the garbage, or burn it. Your goal is to one-by-one get rid of the first column attitudes and start living with third column positive, soul-nourishing messages about you.

Next, on another sheet of paper make a list of what you like about your body and your personality. Do you like your eyes, your smile, your ankles, your shoulders, or your waist? Remember when someone complimented you about some aspect of your personality. Are you friendly, helpful, kind? Do your eyes sparkle? Do you have a quick smile? As you start focusing on these aspects of you it will become easier to see the gift of each of the items you listed in column one of the first sheet.

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Whispers of the Soul

Why is it harder to create a list of what we like about ourselves than what we don’t? In our soul, each of us yearns to be special—and beautiful. At some point as children we knew we were. Why is it, then, that most of us as grown-ups don’t believe it?

My Story

I knew I was beautiful until I was nine when the first whisper of dissatisfaction with myself crept into my awareness. One particular outfit stands out in my memory. I was young enough to have time to ponder my reflection in the full-length mirror behind my closet door. Dripping wet from the bath, barefoot, with slicked-back hair, I would step into the brand new back-to-school pale pink and white tiny-striped dress with its soft white collar that touched the edge of my shoulder. I would smell the brand new smells that only a new dress can have, and sigh in wonder at the reflection that happened to be me. Throughout the day, holding pretty me in my memory, I would count the days to the time I could wear my dress, knowing that I was just right.

Imagine how disappointed I was when on the long-awaited day—hair dried with curls brushed into a shoulder length halo around my face, bright white new shoes and socks—the reflection in the mirror was not as pretty as I had remembered. I was puzzled. What was the difference? Where did the pretty reflection go? The dress was the same, but something was different. I couldn’t figure out why. There must be something wrong with me. I became aware of myself in a self-conscious rather than self-accepting way. At that age I had no qualms about my body, and yet I began to suspect that I was not a pretty little girl after all.

Reflecting on that pivotal memory years later it came to me that the dress was lovely for me but that the accessories and hair style competed for attention, thereby spoiling the overall effect. My shoulder-length curly hair visually got in the way of the large dress collar—better to have pulled my hair back into a ponytail or pigtail. And the new-white shoes and socks were much too bright compared to the soft white in the dress. Their brightness held one’s attention making it difficult to look up to my face and enjoy the dress. It would have been better if I had chosen to wear soft pink socks, and shoes the brown color of my hair. The dress fit and style were appropriate for my schoolgirl self, but the choice of hairstyle and shoes were out of balance with both the dress and my sweet, rather shy personality.

When did you forget your specialness? When did life change your perceptions? Often our grown-up eyes can’t see the beauty even if others tell us so. It’s as though that deep place in our heart of hearts—the place that knows our gift of being—has a locked door that is waiting to be opened. What happened between your child-knowing joy in being beautiful and the critical thoughts you now have about yourself? It is possible to rediscover the special place in your heart that knows you are beautiful.