Warning: Inoculate Yourself Against Style Envy

October 26, 2011

This post was originally released on January 21, 2010.

…Is often a misnomer. Here’s the scenario…you walk into a room (meeting, networking event, social engagement). You are feeling confident, but you immediately begin assessing the other females in the room and comparing yourself to them…often by what they are wearing and judging against it to what you are wearing…sizing yourself up…guys do it with rank, money, looks while we women most often lead with looks. And, as soon as we spot ‘that’ girl with the outstanding sense of style…a style that we admire…we immediately take those actual feelings of admiration and turn them into envy – except we are not directly aiming our harm towards others, but rather towards ourselves and slowly eating away at our own self confidence. We rationalize and tell ourselves…oh, she has the perfect body…she has the money…she has the youth…she has the…blah blah blah…it is an endless futile game we play with ourselves. And so, that confidence that we began with while walking through the door begins to dwindle. Does this sound familiar?

This is the old-school competitive way of thinking that has been passed down through the generations which doesn’t benefit you or the fashionista. This destructive type of behavior usually starts in grade school and all too often continues into the boardroom, office and social scene. But don’t fret! Do you really wish ill will towards another that looks fantastic and has an amazing sense of style? Or rather, do you really appreciate her; want to know the details of how she does it, and how you can make it happen too? If so, then these are simply feelings of… “Wow, you look so beautiful…I’m jealous!”… not secret, seething and sometimes spiteful envy. Not only are bouts of style jealousy perfectly normal, they actually can be advantageous. What? Jealousy can be a good thing? Yes! It can inspire us to move forward in thought, behavior, personal and professional goals and even in terms of style. When something stirs these feelings in us; it is an opportunity to see more clearly what we want….and, glory be….consult!

Instead of overcoming those jealous feelings, let’s use them as a cue to make changes or get more information. One simple technique I use is when I walk into a room or even down the street, I have found it to be very valuable to comment and ask other style mavens specific questions…I love your hairstyle…who do you go to…you look amazing in that coat…where did you get it…the way you did your eyeliner is fantastic…how did you do that?

This has opened the door to some wonderful conversations because, let’s face it, we all marvel at others at some point in time and we all strive to reduce our self-consciousness, increase our self confidence, and whole-heartedly engage in life. Plus by asking specific questions, I get specific answers that actually help me to continue to expand my own personal style (and that of my clients). Jealousy when confused with envy has been used as a method to hold ourselves back from feeling and looking our best rather than as an emotional trigger to strive for more. The latter solely drains energy from us and our endeavors and impedes our self confidence and personal growth, whereas, the former can be used to inspire us to experience and showcase our best selves and to share that with others.

Do you still approach special situations with self-destructive envy or with a readiness to recognize a good thing when you see it, compliment it, and use your feelings of jealousy to find out how you, too, can use it? Do you think today’s women in general experience envy or do most admit to and use their jealousy as inspiration?

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