Monday, 15 March 2010

What Does Your Image Say About You?

Being a Sisterhood candidate is proving to have many benefits for me, but I suppose if I had to choose, the most important would be thinking more about the image I’m portraying. From early on when we first learn about Sisterhood, we future candidates and pledges are encouraged to start thinking about the image we are portraying and whether or not, it matches the results we want to achieve. If you ask me what I want my image to say about me, I’d say I want it to portray confidence, command respect and reflect God’s light in me. But, I’ll be honest and say that this wouldn’t always be evident in how I dressed. Before Sisterhood, I always used to think that if I’m confident inside, and commanded respect and shone God’s light by my actions alone, it would be enough. But, I now know that this isn’t true. It’s unfair to expect people to know what’s on the inside when all they get to see is the exterior. Truth is, that’s where their opinion of me begins. Sure, someday some of them might get to know me long enough to see the inside, but the majority will only make do with my exterior. So, if I want their opinion of me to be high, I’d better make sure that my image leads them to that direction.

A while back, I went to someone’s office to request their services and at the end of it all, confusion arose with the payment. I was sure I’d paid him, he was sure I didn’t. I won’t bore you with details, but it all ended with him calling me a thief and insisting that I pay him for his services. I of course was appalled. No one had ever called me a thief before, let alone believed me to be one. I remember at first trying to reason with him politely, telling him that I wasn’t a thief, even offering to pay again, trying to placate him. But, he wouldn’t have it. He was convinced he was right about me. I even went as far as telling him that I’m Christian, at which he yelled at me, asking me how dared I mention the word Christian and try to trick him. I don’t remember ever feeling so baffled by something. Even after I had paid him, he still maintained I was a thief. I walked away crying, disappointed, having failed to show him my true nature. Mind you, I have never stolen anything in my life.

Looking back at that disappointing day, I’m no longer disappointed in the gentleman for calling me a thief. I am however greatly disappointed in myself. Thank God self-criticism is a NO-NO for all Sisterhood candidates, otherwise I’d be beating myself to death over that one. I have had time to learn about the importance of image, and when I look back at that day, I realize that everything about me cried out ‘NEEDY’! No wonder the poor man thought I’d steal anything and everything I could lay my hands on. Where was the elegant, polished, well-mannered, worthy of respect woman I wanted him to see? Judging by my appearance alone, all that he had to go on, she was non-existent. In her place was a shabby, poor, needy tomboy. Of course, I was comfortable, which was my motto, dress for comfort. But, comfort didn’t earn me the gentleman’s respect. I’m sure, had I been dressed differently, I would have had different results. For sure he would have given me the benefit of the doubt, but, sadly, my image didn’t encourage him to do so.

I learned the hard way that, like it or not, our image speaks for us. We decide how others view us, whether they view us as women who can be taken seriously or easily dismissed, whether they see us as friendly women, or flirtatious women, welcoming or rude, our image speaks volumes about us. And of course, how people view us will determine how they treat us. Take it from someone who was perceived to be a thief and treated like one, you’d don’t want to make the mistake of underselling yourself. You will definitely not like the results. So, my suggestion to you is, take a look in the mirror. What is your image saying about you? More importantly, is what it is saying what you want it to say? If not, it’s time for a change.

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