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Self-Confidence vs. Self-Consciousness

So, I've come to realize over the last several years that the main difference between whether a woman feels self-confident in how she looks vs. self-conscious about it is almost entirely dependant upon comfort. I don't just mean physical comfort - though that is often a factor - but rather mental and emotional comfort.


Physical comfort is easy to define. If something pinches, it's not comfortable. If it doesn't breathe, it's not comfortable. If it's too tight, it's not comfortable. This applies to shirts, shorts, pants, shoes, and even eyeglasses, as well as pretty much everything else. Physical comfort is, usually, the first thing someone notices about something they put on, and if they find physical discomfort in what they're wearing, that is an easy catalyst toward feeling mental and emotional discomfort as well.


Mental discomfort is largely an internal sensation. It's the feeling a woman - or anyone, for that matter - gets when they look in a mirror and pick out the things about what they are wearing that they don't like. Usually because it emphasizes some aspect of their body that they don't like. "This shirt makes me look fat" "This dress is too short" "These pants make my butt look lumpy". Whatever it is, mental comfort is a big factor in whether or not someone can stand tall and walk through Walmart without wondering whether someone is taking a picture to upload onto one of those "I saw this at Walmart" sites.


Emotional discomfort, despite sounding internal, is usually caused by external stimuli. Wavering confidence regarding emotional discomfort can come about when someone feels both physically and mentally comfortable in their clothes but then meets outside disapproval. This disapproval could be familial, societal, or cultural and can have the biggest impact on self-confidence because most people care - at least to a small degree - about how they are perceived by the world at large. It's why someone might spend twenty dollars on a black t-shirt from Arapostle rather than buy the $5 t-shirt from Walmart, even though they are exactly the same.


For people with low emotional comfort, brand names are often a cocoon in which they wrap themselves to appear more confident than they actually are. That isn't to say that brands are bad - not at all. Most brand-name items are, in fact, of a higher quality than more generic brands. They often last longer or take more abuse or are designed for a specific purpose that lesser quality material can't get to. It's when someone goes doggedly after the brand and the brand only that things become unhealthy. The brand Supreme makes a huge profit off of emotional self-consciousness (also known as "hype"), and Netflix host Hassan Minhaj did an excellent job of explaining how and why in season one of his show, The Patriot Act.


Disclaimer: I am not here to tell you how to dress. It is not my responsibility to tell you how and in what you are allowed to feel comfortable. I have my own perimeters of comfort, and they may not necessarily conform to yours, and that's okay. That said, you also can't stop someone from mentally applying their standards to you (in all directions), regardless of how uncomfortable that someone may make you feel about how you're dressed.


But that is a soapbox for another time.


My point in this post is to find the place where you feel most comfortable in who you are and ride that train without worrying about whether the other passengers are looking at you funny. I do.


About the Look


This outfit is largely Walmart Chic. The shorts, purple leggings, tennis shoes, and even my glasses (which are also purple, even though it's hard to tell in the picture) all came from Walmart at various seasons. The T-shirt was a gift from my brother Jordan. My main "theme" for this lounge outfit is to coordinate the purples, but in the winter, I usually wear black leggings instead of purple because my black ones are fleece-lined.


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