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 clothes 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 about the past isn’t serving your present. In fact, because of that guilt, you aren’t fully seizing and enjoying what’s in front of you today. Whether it’s guilt about letting go of something in your closet that you spent too much on, or guilty thoughts 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 heartache, 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 below.
What do YOU need to stop wearing?
(Which point above resonates the most today?)
Please leave me a comment below.
Author Bio: Courtney Carver started bemorewithless.com and the minimalist fashion challenge, Project 333, in 2010. The challenge is the topic of her book, Project 333, The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really Is So Much More.