by Courtney Carver, author of Project 333
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
— Hans Hofmann
Because I wrote a book about a fashion challenge, you might think I want to tell you what to wear. I don’t.
Most of us have spent so much time, energy and money on what we wear and how we look that the last thing anyone needs is more fashion advice.
I will however tell you what not to wear if you want more peace and ease in your life.
1. You never again have to wear the guilt of your past.
Guilt and regret about the past aren’t serving your present. In fact, because of that guilt, you aren’t fully enjoying your current life. Whether it is guilt about letting go of something in your closet that you spent too much on, or guilt about a past relationship or anything in between, you have paid enough. You’ve paid with your money, time, attention and emotion. You can stop paying now. Let go, apologize, forgive and choose to live free of guilt and regret.
2. You never again have to wear your pain.
How many times have you tried to shop away your pain? Retail therapy is an expensive way to relieve the pain of boredom, frustration and heart ache and it only delivers temporary relief. You can’t shop your way out of of pain. I tried and it didn’t work. I did learn though that you can shop yourself into a tremendous amount of debt which leads to more pain, and then more shopping.
Instead of wearing your pain, trade shopping for self care. When you are in pain your heart isn’t saying, “Let’s go shopping.” It’s saying, “Please, take care of me.”
3. You never again have to wear the pressure to prove yourself.
I rarely bought clothes because I actually needed more clothes. I had plenty. Instead I purchased clothing to feel a certain way and to be perceived a certain way … to prove myself. I wanted to feel smart, beautiful and loved. I wanted other people to think I was those things too.
I tried to prove who I was by what I wore and by what I accomplished. The problem was that there was always more to prove and eventually I forgot who I was in the process.
If you have to prove yourself to people you love, that isn’t love. If you struggle to prove yourself at work, maybe you aren’t doing the right work. If you don’t believe me, just stop for a while. Stop pushing and proving and wishing that people would see you the way you think you need to be seen to succeed. Instead, let them see you for you. It’s then that you can finally really be you.
4. You never again have to wear your failures.
Failure gets such a bad rap but it’s nothing more than a stepping stone to success. It’s through the failures that we learn new approaches and ways of doing things. You don’t have to feel sad or bad for failing because if you are failing, that means you are trying. If you must wear your failures, wear them with a smile. You earned them and now you are using them to better your life.
5. You never again have to wear goals you’ve outgrown.
Letting go of goals and dreams can be the most challenging of all. As our lives change, we change, and things that seemed so important years ago may slowly fade away. Instead of beating yourself up for not achieving your old goals, focus on your new dreams and develop goals or bucket lists that reflect who you are right now.
Additionally, make sure your goals are your goals. Are they yours or are they goals that you think other people have for you or expect from you. Let go of any that aren’t yours. The difference you will make in the world when you start chasing YOUR dreams and goals will be extraordinary.
6. You never again have to wear everything you think.
Often, our thoughts can weigh us down but thoughts are just thoughts. Some are true and real and some aren’t. When we cling too tightly to believing everything we think, we distance ourselves from the truth. Questioning the truth of my thoughts has prevented me from over reacting in some situations and helped me let go of other things more easily. Once you realize that all of your thoughts aren’t true, they will be much lighter.
7. You never again have to wear other people’s expectations.
One of the most astounding realizations I made in the first three months of Project 333, dressing with 33 items or less, is that no one cared what I was wearing. No one even noticed! Why was I trying to please anyone with my clothing choices? Why was I trying to please anyone with my life choices?
Giving myself permission to let go of my need to meet other people’s expectations or to feel any kind of way based on judgements (good or bad) helps me to trust myself and allows me to love my life regardless of outside feedback. I’m not good or bad or right or wrong because of what anyone else thinks. I can’t control what they think and I’m not going to change myself trying.
When you stop wearing the weight of other people’s expectations and judgements, you’ll be more connected to who you are and to what matters to you. When you let go of what other people think, you’ll gain clarity and freedom to enjoy your life.
Now, it’s YOUR turn…
I would love to hear from YOU in the comments section.
What do YOU need to stop wearing?
(Which point above resonates the most?)
Please leave me a comment below.
Author Bio: Courtney Carver started bemorewithless.com and minimalist fashion challenge, Project 333 in 2010. The challenge is the topic of her latest book, Project 333, The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really Is So Much More.
Perla Milner says
My thoughts… my negative thoughts and replace them with gratitude and positive thinking and try not to let fear walk in the door. I need to stop wearing fear about past and future thoughts and live with peaceful thoughts and forever thankful for what we have, have learned along the way and attracting positive thoughts???
Angelo Mayar Wol says
You never again have to wear other people’s expectations has in fact touched my sense and my life because what others think about me is their thoughts which I can’t stop no matter how I fight myself but accepting myself the way I’m but not the way others think I’m can honestly make me, who I’m.
Danelle Nieuwenhuis says
It’s amazing how God brings people from across the world together. I needed you’re message so badly. How God use you to speak to me about pain I am experiencing…deep emotional pain.
The Lord blessed me with a wonder partner for more than 5 years. Last year November Gerhard got diagnosed with cancer. His sister that was never in his life after a fude, suddenly came into our lives. She totally rejected me and took her brother to stay closer to her. She doesn’t want me to have contact with him. Making it as difficult as possible. She told me I’m after her brothers money and that I want to ‘take over’ by asking that he could be closer to me again.
Long story short. Thank you. I tried to put them in the past…knowing he is in good hands/Hands!
The rejection got to much. I asked the Lord that He will give me eternal peace.
Lots of love from sunny South Africa.
Praveen Adams says
So sorry Danelle to hear about your pain and agony. Yes it’s true the Lord connects people and ministers to us in our deepest needs so wonderfully and makes us a blessing to others in turn. Glad to hear how the Lord ministered to you through this article. Will be praying for you specially your husband. Stay blessed sister
Mona Simons says
Thank you. I especially learned from “don’t wear your pain”. I over eat when I am in pain. I was abandoned at 2 yrs old, my adopted family was not loving and my new brothers molested me. My therapist recommended I use a symbol of myself as a child to get me through tough times, reassure myself in the moment that I am safe, I am loved. When I’m struggling instead of wondering into the kitchen or sitting on the couch for hours, I will listen to my heart yelling “Please, take care of me.” Pick up my symbol and go do something I enjoy. Thank you for your weekly M&A emails, too.
Guilt. Extreme guilt for leaving a marriage of 29 years,
I don’t know your circumstance, but don’t feel guilty. You’re human. Things sometimes don’t change. Sometimes they DO change. Live how you NEED. Wish no ill-will and move on. You have NOW. That is all is you have.
I struggle with the same thing.
Live in peace.
Jill Lousich says
Thank you it was good to remember that our feelings are not true. I do shop when I’m feeling sad or missed out on.
Thank you for this, I need to give up pleasing everyone else and putting myself last. I’m tired of not saying what I want to say and saying what I think others want to hear. I need to be true to myself.
Cheryl McKenney says
Oh Andrea you have hit the nail right on the head! I need to take care of my own needs, that involves saying “no” more often and honoring time to spend alone or walking in nature, attending to my own thoughts and desires. I need to stop wearing “Worry” that other people will somehow be left out in the cold if I don’t take care of their needs, so very not true.
I need to stop wearing my fear about my health and the unknown. I constantly worry about my health. I can’t stop.
Take care of yourSELF first. Do what you know to be true. DON’T be influenced by negative vibes from ANYone. Even loved ones. You CANNOT be your best self FOR yourself AND be your best for others any other way. And keep it – life – simple. The less physical and mental garbage in your space/your own universe, the better you’ll be. You can FOCUS on what matters.
Namaste Sisters & Brothers
Pain hurts says
I need to stop over thinking. Over reacting. Letting my emotions have power over me. My thoughts that are always negative enforce chaos in my life and learn to think better and live better. I catastrophize everything In life. I need to stop expecting things from life. And I hate how serious life can be and it doesn’t have to be serious all the time either it can be fun. I need to practice gratitude and the things I’m thankful for more everyday instead of concentrating on what I don’t have and wish I had. I used to be a positive uplifting person now I’m negative and almost toxic and I can’t figure out how to become a better woman again. And it truly is hard to find myself again truly hard.
Barbara Soltesz says
Hi Pain hurts,
it absolutely does.
Just remember where attention goes energy flows. Choose to focus on the positives, every night before you fall asleep think of 3 things you are greatful for, whatever “small things” they might be like having a bed or that you can write and read or for a smile you received from someone today. Start your morning with gratitude, if for nothing else than that you are one of the people in this planet who got to wake up to another day! Its your choise every day if you want to start building yourself up, or if you postpone it to another day. Take one step at the time, however smal that step might be and let every step you took inspire you to grow into your power again. It is a journey and it is definitely with ups and downs, but it’s absolutely worth your while! Ah, and do not be afraid to ask for help if you feel like you need it. It takes a lot less time to get out from a hole if there’s someone out there helping you with it! Take care, Barbara
Thank you for this article. It posts a powerful message. The comments are especially relatable and I can empathize with many of them.
This point resonates with me at a deeper level. “You never again have to wear other people’s expectations”. I am neither my past mistakes nor my pain, the scars are my testimony that I was once wounded and God healed me. I have stopped wearing my pain, it is a wealth of wisdom God placed at my disposal to counsel and empower other beings, to realize that their current ordeals, whatever the situations may be, are not permanent, they shall also come to pass. I am consciously and deliberately going to start wearing HOPE and FAITH. The new me is more realistic to life, simple yet assertive approach to situations, forgive more and accommodate diversity, we are more the same than different.
I shop all the time because I feel there is nothing else. I have pain from child hood adult hood and over compensate. My husband died of cancer and I fell into a relationship from afraid to be by myself and I give he takes but can’t seem to let go because of pain and fear. This article has been an eye opener.
Thank you for this article, it’s very true.
I wouldn’t wear the sensation in the body…
Guilt, pain, goal, pressure, negative thoughts, failures, other people’s expectations etc. are all unpleasant sensations that arises in the body. When we experience these sensations we feel very unpleasant… so the brain receives a signal to take action fast, to do something as soon as possible so to stop the unpleasant sensation… so in order to get rid of unpleasant sensation, we automatically unconsciously take action, it happens very fast automatically, we don’t think at that particular moment if the action that we are taking is right or wrong, because all the body is concerned in that particular time is to get rid of the unpleasant sensation. As it happens in unconscious level and very fast at the particular moment the body only has one goal to get rid of the unpleasant sensation and replace it with pleasurable sensation
When we experience pain we go shopping “retail therapy” in order to replace one sensation with another, to run away from unpleasant sensation (pain) to pleasure sensation (shopping).
Thank you . I do shop when I feel sad and lonely. I have learned over the years that it is just temporary fix…
Thank you for your advice and guidance on fashion thoughts!
Please do consider current state of coronavirus pandemic that caused loss & fear around the world. Please tell everyone who battles with it or lost a family member or has stress over the situation, how to cope with it, psychologically.
Thanks again our heros.
mahi shrama says
First of all I would like to thank you for writing this post I love both writing and reading new posts and I was just looking at new posts to see me something new, only then I saw your post and the rest of the post is praiseworthy. .