What about, um, now? Why not this moment, this minute, this second to take a small step in the direction you know you've been wanting to go in for some time now?
That's the point of this Ultimate Closet Consciousness post, to get you thinking, and in this case, thinking about all of the things on that 'list' of yours that have been on there for years.
Ok, remembering them now? Fabulous. Remembering is so fun, going down the list in your mind, also enjoyable, but it doesn't even come close to what it feels like to cross them off one-by-one, and even THAT experience completely pales in comparison to what it feels like when you are actually living them.
You can ask any friend of mine about my obsession with The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo's book that has circled around the globe so many times it would make your head spin. There's a reason that book resonates with people all over this planet, and there's a reason I read it every year. It's my annual tradition, my once-a-year reminder to keep my eyes open for little signs pointing me in the right direction. But this quote isn't really about signs, seeing them or opening up to them. This quote is about the steps you take after you see them, it's about the moment you decide to act.
We dream the big dreams and forget to take the small steps. Or, we dream the big dreams and get swept up in the small steps because hey, we're really busy and have stuff to do and wait, what was the big dream again? Oh wait, I have to go get the new iPhone, brb, 'squirrel!' Our dreams go to the wayside for any number of reasons. The reason I'll be addressing here is, lack of belief that our dreams can become reality. Or more importantly, lack of belief that WE can make our dreams become our reality.
It boils down to knowing what you're capable of, and believing that you're capable of more than you ever thought imaginable. Answering that call inside of you that has been nagging you for years now. It will keep nagging you by the way, it's just a persistent little bugger.
It helps to have a support system if you want to believe in yourself. Growing up, I was always told to dream big and that the greatest achievements always began with impossible dreams. I was and continue to be very lucky, as I know not everyone was raised in such a supportive environment.
But let's be real here, no one's life, whether it looks like it or not, is perfect. All of us struggle on different levels. We all have different 'stories' and it is up to us to decide how we want those stories to play out. At some point, believing in yourself becomes a solo act. Yes, it helps to have the backup of a wonderful childhood, a supportive family, health, etc. That will give you a leg up, but it is in no way a guarantee that you will believe in yourself enough to pursue what you're here to do. That, lies within you. So how do we believe in ourselves? How does this happen?
You hear it all the time, believe in yourself, but no one shows you HOW. I believe (pun intended) that it's a work in progress. I also believe it starts with taking the Eleanor Roosevelt approach to life:
Do one thing everyday that scares you.
Start small. Take the step. Whatever it is, just try it. Then keep doing it daily. Seriously, it is THAT simple. It's not easy, nothing worth fighting for ever is, but it is simple. It takes discipline to do it. This is not a one-and-done kind of thing, so if you go strong for two days and stop, that's on you, and no, it's not the end of the world. Be kind when you lose your footing, no need to beat yourself up. You're human and stuff happens. When you lighten up on yourself you'll make it easier to get back on track. But make no mistake, you are responsible for finding the silver linings in those setbacks and for celebrating those small successes. It doesn't have to be all gloom and doom. Speaking of setbacks...
So let's say you gather up enough strength to start walking towards the things that have been on your list for all those years. Let's say you take a small step today and you move closer to living the life you want. And let's say tomorrow, something happens, and you're completely derailed again, thrown off the 'high' of yesterday, distracted from the course and feeling a little Debbie downer.
This is when your 'Stop Sign' Steps come into play. You're about to create a coping mechanism for when those 'down' times come so you don't downward spiral (it helps to have a friend or family member to go to as well, you don't always have to go it alone and asking for help is a good thing; I'm personally still learning that).
Create 3 Stop Sign Steps that you will rely on when you hit these lows because they WILL come. But this time, you'll be prepared. I can't tell you all three steps (it may be a 10 minute break listening to music, it may be going to a shelter and donating your time helping others, it may be a walk on the beach, think 'basic' and think about what made you smile as a ten-year-old here), but I can tell you one step I personally use to get back on the horse after I've fallen off. I turn my clothing into my capes...yep, I play dress up (and you wonder why I'm in fashion...).
Have you ever noticed how the 'right' jacket can give you a few more inches in height? How the perfect heel can change the way you walk (and not because you can't walk in them; that is not your perfect heel, it's different for everyone, but you know the feeling you get when you find that Cinderella fit). Or maybe it's the dress that fits you like a glove and leaves you feeling invincible...
What you wear can supercharge you to go for what you want in life, or should I say, what you've always wanted in your life but have never had the courage to take small steps towards.
Sometimes we just need a boost. A red lip, a power blazer, the perfect heel, or whatever it may be. It's just clothing, but there's power in it, whether you believe it or not (I'm going to suggest you start believing it).
I'm not saying you need MORE clothing. In fact I'm saying the opposite. You need the clothing/accessories that make you feel amazing. Drop the rest (I got into how to do this in Week 1 of the book; step-by-baby step). If you shop your closet and try a few things on, whatever leaves you feeling all 'Wonder Woman' inside, stays. Whatever leaves you feeling, 'frump-girl' get rid of.
Your closet is filled with your very own superhero capes. Use them for good. Use them to bounce back when you start veering away from going after what you REALLY want out of life. Boost your self-confidence, boost your belief in yourself, and put that left foot in front of that right foot.
It's not about what could go wrong, it's about what could go gloriously right. You'll have the 3 Stop Sign Steps for when you falter, be kind to yourself when you do, and then get back up. Try something that scares you, celebrate that you did it, and try again tomorrow.
Oh and one more thing to note: This shift in your life/style, you taking those steps towards your big dreams, may have nothing to do with you. Whoa, I know. Weird right? Superhero status tends to develop this altruistic mindset (you are a full-fledged clothing-cape wearer now so it's time to think like one).
Maybe you coming into your own is going to inspire someone else to do the same? Maybe you doing 'you' will bring someone else joy in the process. Crazy right?
Saving the world, one wardrobe at a time.
Just like all other #UCC (Ultimate Closet Consciousness) posts, I'll leave you on a mush-moment high, should you choose to accept the challenge, and it is two-fold:
Look in the mirror and find one thing you love about yourself. Ok cool, got it?
Noooooo, go back. You didn't do it. Go ahead, look in the mirror. What do you see that you like? This is not optional, this is required. Find the one thing (or maybe you find hundreds, go you) and make a mental note. Smiling? Feeling like a crazy person? Perfect, on to the next part...
Now, when you're in line for coffee/groceries/yoga, whatever, and you see someone nearby wearing something you love/with a haircut you love, etc., and you're able to make quick eye contact without looking like a creeper (hopefully they look up from whatever is really important on their smartphones; no judging, they may be reading this post and I'm all for that) give them a compliment. This is also a great 'Stop Sign Step' I've found. Making someone else smile tends to make you feel pretty good.