Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Sometimes a bad mood or insecurity or even a bad hair day can lower confidence or just keep the smiles off our faces. Or you may be tired and not in the mood to worry about what to wear or fixing yourself up to look your best. That’s natural, but be careful if you’re meeting someone for the first time or going somewhere that you’ll meet new people.

Research from the University of Western Ontario shows that the first impression you make on someone is the one that usually sticks with them, no matter how much you spruce yourself and your attitude up later. People’s brains store the first impression as the way they view you in the future, and anything else they see is viewed as an exception. It can take many subsequent face-to-face experiences to change the perception they have of you.

Years ago I joined a professional organization. When I went to my first event, I was very rushed and didn’t give my appearance much thought. I didn’t dress badly. But I was a bit more casual than most of the people and I didn’t wear any makeup. Recognizing that on arrival lowered my confidence. I felt like I stood out in a negative way. It showed in my demeanor and I made a poor impression. When I went to other events, I could feel that I wasn’t being taken as seriously as I wanted to be by the people I’d met the first time.

It literally took years of attending events that I made sure to dress properly for to erase the first impression on those people. I was recently going to a professional event feeling tired and my allergies bothered me. I didn’t want to put on mascara but I remembered I’d meet new people and needed to make a good impression so I made myself put it on. When I arrived, I was glad I did. I know it makes me look prettier and that made me feel good once I’d applied it.

Having a nice appearance improves your confidence. So does forcing yourself to hold your head high and smile. I wince at memories of the impression I made in my DoorMat days. When you feel low about yourself, everyone knows it, UNLESS you fake confidence and do your best to look your best. That doesn’t mean wearing expensive or fancy clothing. It does mean dressing in clothing that fits you well and makes you feel good. I used to just throw something on without a thought. DoorMats do that. But you’ll feel lot more empowered if you make n effort to give a good impression to people you meet.

I began by faking confidence and hiding my insecurity behind an appearance that looked confident. Wearing a touch of makeup makes me feel good because I have nice eyes and it makes them sparkle. A little lipstick can do that too. You know what works for you, or try different things and see the response. I don’t wear makeup every day and notice that even when I just wear lipstick people tell me how nice I look with makeup, even though I have nothing else on.

Try to make a good impression on people who matter to you, especially when it the first time you meet. It can open the door to more business or opportunities or keep the door shut tight. You don’t need to be confident to try to dress to make a nice appearance and to fake confidence by holding your head high, smiling, and making good eye contact. As people take you more seriously because you make a good impression, real confidence follows.

Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.

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