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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

‘Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.’ ~Kahlil Gibran

Why is image important?

Strictly speaking, it’s because we are a visual species. As I’m fond of pointing out, within the first seven seconds of meeting you others make several possibly erroneous, subconscious assumptions about you- how smart you are, how much money you have, your background, level of trustworthiness, etc. Sad and superficial, I know- but I believe there’s a reason for it, and that our survival once depended on it.

It seems logical to me that this is hardwired in us from the days when the fight or flight response was called upon on a daily basis for survival- is this person friend or foe? It also seems logical that this was to ensure the continuance of our species- most often we find healthy looking people attractive, right?  Healthy people are probably more likely to have healthy offspring.

Ok, so that’s my theory on why we are the way we are.  Only problem is that on a deeper level it’s tragically faulty.  

You’ve probably had the experience of getting to know someone and then finding over time they seem to get more or less attractive than you initially thought them.  This is because external beauty- though dazzling – is not enough.  There’s no substance to it.  It’s important initially if one wants to be noticed, it’s a pleasure to gaze at, but it doesn’t have what it takes to hold interest.  What does hold interest, what does have substance and meaning is that which is intangible; the heart.  Courage, integrity, compassion, authenticity.

But of course that doesn’t change the fact that initially at least, we are a visual species and that if you don’t put yourself ‘out there’ in the most favorable light possible you risk not being noticed and missing out on opportunities of every kind.  Not only do you risk shortchanging yourself and your entire life, you also potentially cheat the world of what you have to offer.  All because ‘appearance shouldn’t be important.’ Yes, technically it shouldn’t.  But do you want to be happy, grab at everything life has to offer, or right?  

When you dress in colors and design lines that are flattering you look healthier- which automatically makes you more attractive. That’s a great start.  If you then add to that your own personal aesthetic, not only will you enjoy yourself, you’ll also give a glimpse of ‘who you are’ which is always visually interesting.  It’s also important to remember that your image is the first indication to others of how you view yourself and can send a signal as to how you expect to be treated.   In other words, if you dress like a slob you risk others seeing you as having less ‘value.’  I can’t think of a single advantage to that.

So put your best self forward, make sure to let the light in your heart shine, and get on with life.

And that, my friends, is why the superficial image is indeed important.

Happy dressing.