Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Opinions of Others vs. How We See Ourselves

Recently my friend Ginn shared a link on my personal Facebook page to an article concerning fashion for women over thirty. Actually, it was more of a 'what not to wear' kind of deal and she shared it with me for humor's sake. Like me, she subscribes to her own ideas ideas concerning age and fashion and all things such. It's just one of the reasons we're friends!

One of the no-nos for women over thirty, according to this article, was graphic t-shirts....which I love. So, to add to the fun, my response comment was a picture of myself at that very moment, wearing my favorite graphic tee, a bright red number featuring rows of bones.


I didn't think much more about it until a male friend messaged me later about the picture. He thought that the photo was not flattering and for my own sake, I should remove it. He then offered a bit of advice about my current look, primarily that he preferred my hair straight.

His comments sent me into a momentary tailspin. All the mixed feelings I've always had about my appearance came creeping up, all the things I can not change and thus have made peace with - my height, my body shape, my curly hair. Then I woke up and realized, who was he to judge the way I look? His opinion hadn't been asked for and the more I thought about it, the more his actions just...I don't know...said quite a lot more about him than about my and/or my photo.

Honestly, I'd not paid the photo much attention. It was the end of a workday and I'd snapped it at the best angle I could to get the shirt as well as me. I had not posted it to garner compliments or praise; I posted it simply because I found humor in the fact that I was wearing one of the forbidden items featured in the article as I was reading it. My friend's negative comments about my appearance emotionally hijacked me because, well, most of us would be a bit sensitive to a thing like that. We're human. We're often vulnerable. And sometimes we get riled up over trivial things like the opinions of others, despite how hard we try to be enlightened.

How others see us is often more a reflection of how they see themselves. And more importantly, we can't control this. We can control how we react to it, however. I let go of my friend's unsolicited negative criticism about my picture and moved on with my day because in the end, his opinion was just that - his opinion. We have the choice of how much we're going to let the opinions of others control our thoughts, feelings, actions, and most importantly, our lives. I liked the picture and I would not remove it because this open person didn't find it visually appealing any more than I would chuck all my graphic tees because some random article writer said I was to old to wear them.

Here's a song for both of them and all the other naysayers out there who think they know better than us what's best for us. Kind of perfect, don't you think? :-) Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

1 comment:

Virginia ("Ginn") said...

I am older, yes. In the era in which I was young, older women were the only ones allowed to wear black or diamonds or fur...not that I aspire(d) to wear those things. But there were young women who looked forward to being able to don a basic black dress, etc. In the 60s the world seemed to change and the youth culture blossomed. Now young women no longer aspire to be elegant, mature, sophisticated women...people now worship the symbols of youth. Watching these changes in our culture has been interesting. When I watch old movies, I often speculate on how old the elder people are - adults looked different back then. Adults now dress and act much younger - we are more alive and have more choices. There are fewer "rules". I am delighted to see older women having fun with their clothes and makeup and hair. It makes me sad to see so many women (young and old) who seem to have just given up on the pleasure offered by clothing choices...Enough of my rambling! Time for coffee. And if you decide to pass on the red bone shirt, I might wear it! - Ginn, Across Town on a Rainy Friday