How to Find Relief from Being Judged on Appearances

shoppingThe next time Carrie came for her counseling appointment, she was smiling. It wasn’t a plastic smile for her audience, it came from inside. It was a good sign.

Carrie: “Remember last week I was supposed to catch myself trying to look good? Well, it happened. We are going to New Orleans next weekend, and I was buying a dress for the trip. I was wondering what he would like me to wear, and it hit me! I don’t have to dress for him! I can dress for myself. Why not? I’m a person, too. So I bought something that wasn’t too revealing and trendy for a change. I bought a vintage dress. And I felt so good!”

Therapist: “That’s terrific Carrie, you pushed your comfort zone. In that moment, you liberated yourself from seeking others’ approval. Did you feel that you had the power of choice and that you could trust your judgment?”

Carrie: “Yes, I felt all those things. I felt so good.”

Therapist: “Do you have the feeling that you can make a decision for yourself next time?”

Carrie: “Yes, I can. It’s not that hard.”

Therapist: “That feeling is called, confidence.”

Carrie: “That’s something else I never had in my life.”

Therapist: “When you wore your new dress, how was your appearance? Was it perfect?”

Carrie: “No.”

Therapist: “Was it worthless?”

Carrie: “No, it wasn’t. It was in the middle somewhere.”

Therapist: “It was good enough. You don’t have to look any better than that. What happened to the anxiety, tension and stress when you chose to stop living according to other people’s standards?”

Carrie: “They went away. It was such a relief.”

Therapist: “It’s hard to look your best when you are all stressed out and worried about being judged. Were you living in the future or in the present?”

Carrie: “I felt like I was living in the moment and focus on reality. It felt good.”
Therapist: You cannot feel good in the future, it isn’t here yet! You can feel good only in the present. What happened to your insecurity?”

Carrie: “I felt secure. I wasn’t dependent on anyone else.”

Therapist: “Were you trying to please other people with your new dress?”

Carrie: “No, I was pleasing myself for a change.”

Therapist: “Is that selfish?”

Carrie: “I always thought it was.”

Therapist: “You are liberating yourself from your old fears from the past.”

Carrie: “And I’ll bet I don’t look as uptight as I used to look. It’s hard to look nice and be uptight at the same time.”

Therapist: “When you chose your new dress, how pretty were you?”

Carrie: “I was pretty enough.”

Therapist: “Were you prettier than the other women in the store?”

Carrie: “I didn’t even think about it. I have spent my life worrying if someone else in the room is prettier than I am. If I’m not the prettiest one at a party, I cannot enjoy myself.”

Therapist: “You cannot be happy if you do not live up to others’ standards and get external approval. You acquired the tendency to compare yourself unfavorably to others. Even when you were the prettiest one in the room, did it make you happy?”

Carrie: “No.”

Therapist: “You had a sense that you didn’t deserve to be happy because you were ‘less than’ other people, inferior, inadequate, therefore unworthy to enjoy life like other people. What happened to the unfavorable comparison when you bought your new dress?”

Carrie: “I don’t know. They weren’t there.”

Therapist: “It was replaced with confidence and the belief that ‘I don’t have to compare myself to anyone,’ and ‘I deserve to be happy.’ What happened to the ‘pressure, tension and stress’ that gave you your worried look?”

Carrie: “I got relief from that, too.”

Therapist: “What happened to your anxiety about your appearance?”

Carrie: “I didn’t have any. It came down.”

Therapist: “You were in control. You made it happen, you were living according to your own standards.”

Carrie: “I get it, I don’t have to obsess about my appearance. I can choose to accept myself. If I don’t then who will?”

Shopping image available from Shutterstock.

Visit original source for complete post.

Leave a Reply

Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

Tags: ,