10 Dec Day 24 The Power of a New Shirt (a note about Worthiness)
Worthiness is a topic that I end up addressing with every one of my clients. This is because one of the first areas we end up focusing on is self care. I deeply understand how difficult it is for people to practice good self care because of how hard it was for me.
Good self care is tied directly to your sense of worthiness. If I have a low sense of worthiness I will not feel comfortable taking good care of myself. Therefore I will run myself into the ground. I will work too much. I will give too much. I will form relationships with people who are takers – both friends and romantic relationships. If I have children I will sacrifice myself for them to a fault. Everyone else’s needs will matter more than my own. Eventually I will be stressed out, burned out and pretty resentful.
It sure does to me.
If I have a high sense of worthiness then I will have high standards for how I treat myself and therefore how I allow myself to be treated by others. I will value my own needs as much as or more than others needs. Not out of selfishness but because I know when my needs are taken care of I am much more capable of giving at a higher level. I will form relationships that are balanced with like minded people who give as much as they get and I allow myself to receive because that is what healthy people do in relationships. If I have children I will balance my needs with theirs because I want them to grow up valuing themselves and I do that by modeling it for them.
So what does this have to do with new shirts? Well, everything.
One of the ways we can practice self care is in the quality of the things in our lives, including what we wear. You may think what you wear is superficial but I’m hear to tell you it’s not. It’s actually quite vital. A coach that I work with recently told me a story about a client of his who bought himself a $60 Ralph Lauren Polo shirt. This was a stretch for his budget but boy was it worth it. Wearing that Polo shirt gave him a sense of confidence and personal power. It literally changed his life. He wore that shirt on a job interview and he wore it on a first date. The confidence he felt in that shirt got him a great job and the love of his life. That simple act of declaring his worthiness of a $60 shirt changed the path of his life forever.
I had a similar experience with my dad right after his cancer diagnosis. On a whim I asked him to pop in the Saks outlet. He was depressed about the cancer obviously and had gotten into a bit of a funk. As my dad has gotten older he hasn’t bought himself many new clothes. Aside from the golf shirts I give him at Christmas he’s had most of the same stuff for years. That day they were having a men’s sale and we got him a new wardrobe of beautiful, well made dress shirts and pants. Totally modern, stylish and beautiful.
What was really beautiful was to see the change in him. How great it made him feel to get dressed in sharp, quality clothes. The boost it gave him to go run errands decked out and looking handsome. He called me one day to tell me someone stopped him in the Wal-Mart parking lot to tell him how great he looked and how nice it was to see an older man dressed up. He was beaming. Those clothes literally gave him a new lease on life. They snapped him out of his funk and made him feel good about himself. It’s an experience I am privileged to have witnessed.
The way I differentiate between materialism and self care is by my intention. If I am buying a label because I think it will fill some void in my life or make me more acceptable in some way I am going to be disappointed, But if I am raising the standard of the quality of the things I allow into my life, then I am on to something.
When I buy the Polo instead of the cheaper shirt because of the way it makes me feel, I feel joy. When I buy the cashmere sweater instead of the wool because on my skin I feel enveloped and cared for, it changes me. These are outward gestures of my inner sense of worthiness and the universe is paying attention. How much joy does it add to my life to surround myself with beautiful, high quality things? Even if I have to sacrifice in other areas to do it. I can tell you there is no price I could put on my dad’s joy when he’s wearing his new shirts.
Joy is transformative. Worthiness is vital to a joyful, fulling life. A new shirt just may be the start in your journey to get there.