Today is Day 18 of my 31 Days of Self-Love posts to celebrate Self-Love Month with suggestions for jump-starting your own self-love and joining The Self-Love Movement™.

It can be easy to fall into habits of not caring how you look in public. You can get lazy about making an effort to have a nice appearance if you’re in a long term relationship, exacerbate habits as you get older, or you don’t feel good about yourself so why bother? The best reason is that sprucing yourself up can make you feel better about yourself. That reinforces self-love!

When I was a DoorMat I didn’t see any point in putting too much time into my appearance, since I didn’t love myself and thought I wasn’t worth sprucing up. Several incidents taught me the benefits of trying to be my best, or at least not settling for my worst. When someone gave me a nice shirt and I wore it, I noticed that I felt good that day and smiled more. Wearing it gave me a little confidence and I enjoyed getting a few compliments about how I looked nice. When I wore some makeup after buying some at the party I talked about in How My Self-Love Began at a Mary Kay Cosmetics Party, I noticed that also improved my mood and self-image.

Slowly I began to take more pride in my appearance and it fed my confidence and self-love. I still wear older clothes to work at home or run local errands but even then I’m not as skuzzy as I used to be when I didn’t love myself so much. I have a new rule—don’t wear anything in public that you wouldn’t want to be seen in if you bump into a friend or colleague. I got rid of clothing that did nothing for my appearance but make me look dowdy. During that period I learned a valuable lesson.

I was still doing errands in old, unflattering clothing sometimes. As I got ready to go to the bank I decided to break in a new pair of jeans. I liked how they fit and wore a nice sweater instead of the old one I almost put on. It put me into a good mood and I skipped pulling my hair back into a practical ponytail. I looked good! And I wore my leather jacket instead of a sweatshirt. As I approached my bank, someone called my name. It was Bill, a guy I dated the year before who’d stopped calling me. Had I been wearing my usual outfit for running errands, I’d have felt awkward, maybe tried to duck away or stammer over my words.

Instead, I just looked at him confidently and said nothing. He said, “Do you remember me? I’m Bill. It’s great to see you!” I could tell he was ready to open something up again. I smiled and said, “I remember you. You’re the one who blew me off.” I walked away still grinning as his jaw dropped. Had I not looked good, I’d never have done that. It felt so empowering to choose not to start again with a guy who stopped calling me out of the blue and to let him know why with one quick statement and an exit. Knowing I looked good helped me do that. From then on, I made more of an effort to feel good about how I look more often.

Working on your appearance doesn’t mean spending lots of money or wearing makeup or not being true to your style. It does mean good grooming, wearing clothes that fit you properly and doing what makes you feel good. When I go to an event I try to make time to put on some eye makeup because I know it enhances my appearance a lot. If I’m not in the mood I at least put on lipstick, which seems to make a big difference in how I look. You have to be true to you but don’t be lazy! Make at least a small effort to spruce yourself up lovingly. You deserve to look your best! It will boost your confidence. which will boost your self-love.

Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 2012 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

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