You're not happy with the way that you look.
You don't feel pretty.
You've always been the "plain Jane."
Your insecurities show in the way you walk, talk, and interact with others.
Your moments of self-satisfaction are few and far in between.
You wish you looked like "her".
Life has beat you up to the point that you don't even look like yourself anymore.
You're so "busy" that you don't have time for yourself.
If he doesn't tell you you're beautiful, you don't feel like you are.
Your husband doesn't look at you the way he used to.
You look at old pictures of yourself and remember when.....
You're tired, you want to make a change.
I wrote this book for you.
Some of our greatest issues as women are centered around the way we look, and the way that we feel about the way that we look. However, what is seen on the outside is merely a physical representation of our internal woes. I believe any woman that can get to the psychological root of her physical issues, and conquer those issues, can conquer the world. In this book we will do just that, and give you the tools and knowledge need to look your best, feel your best, and ultimately be your best. Let's begin YOUR UPGRADE!
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Look Your Best, Feel Your Best, Be Your Best!
By J. Renee
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2015 J. Renee
All rights reserved.
Imaging on Purpose
Take a moment and look at yourself in the mirror. I mean really look. Give yourself a good once over. Look at your hair, your makeup, your jewelry, or the lack thereof, and the clothes that you have on. Honestly, do you like the way you look? If not, why don't you like the way you look? Moreover, why do you look the way you look? What were you thinking when you got dressed this morning – or were you even thinking at all? What message are you relaying? Is it the message that you want to send? More importantly, do you think your image is helping you, or hurting you?
Whether it is conscious or subconscious, there is indeed a psychological explanation as to why you look the way you look. In this chapter, we will discuss what is going on inside that is making you look the way you look on the outside. Don't worry, I am not a psychologist, so I'm not going to give you a clinical diagnosis. However, I will be sharing many of the issues I have encountered with the numerous women I have helped over the years, and hopefully give you the insight needed to understand something I call Imaging On Purpose.
* * *
Physical appearance is probably one of the greatest roots of insecurity in women. As if the societal pressures of perfection aren't enough, our images are under constant criticism and scrutiny from friends, family, and even our mates. If we gain weight, change our hair or our style, whether we like it or not everyone is going to have an opinion. People won't always tell you when you they think you look good, but they always seem to find a way to let you know when they think you look bad. No one wants to deal with negative criticism in an area as sensitive as physical appearance, so in efforts to avoid that, often times we find ourselves conforming to please others, or worse, not putting forth any effort because we don't want to be noticed at all. Conforming is not merely doing what others would approve of, it can also mean not doing things that would risk disapproval or blending in the crowd to avoid being noticed either way.
I believe the pressure to please others is the reason why so many of us are confused and insecure about the way we look. The reality is everyone can appreciate a sincere compliment; we all enjoy knowing that our appearance is attractive, even if only to your significant other. It would be misleading if I portrayed myself to be a super woman who is an exception to the rule. I enjoy a sincere compliment the same as everyone else.
However, the day I discovered the utopian pleasure of self-satisfaction, my life changed. That was the day I accepted my body and size for being what it is, not what I imagined it to be. It was the day I realized that my destiny could ultimately be hindered not only by the way I look, but the way I feel about myself. It was the day I discovered that even though I was not currently pleased with the way I looked, I had all the power I needed to change myself. It was then that I realized that I could do it, and so can you.
I discovered that I couldn't do what everyone else does, or wear what everyone else wears. That day I learned to please the woman in the mirror, rather than looking to others for affirmation. I found out that if I learned to love and care for myself, it would become a revolving gift, blessing me internally, and as a bonus, showing the world who I really am.
That day I realized that I shouldn't have to work for my image. It should work for me. That day I discovered the power of Imaging On Purpose.
* * *
Now, you're probably wondering what purpose has to do with the way you look. Let me assure you, purpose has everything to do with the way you look. Just as every day should be lived with purpose, you should get dressed, do your hair, and your makeup (if you wear it) on a daily basis with a purpose in mind. Ask yourself, "What do I want to accomplish today? And how will my image help or hurt me?"
These are questions that many people do not ask themselves on a daily basis. However, when you understand the correlation between who you are, your purpose, your image, and your personal brand, Imaging On Purpose becomes second nature. Lack of intention leaves too much room for assumption. We are women. Everything we do should be done on purpose.
* * *
Steps to Understanding Imaging On Purpose
Who Am I?
Having a realistic understanding and acceptance of who you are is essential in The Upgrade. If we're honest, we are all guilty of envying the life of someone else at some point. There is no denying it. However, in reality we will never be able to have someone else's life, nor will we ever be able to look the way someone else looks. You can emulate and try to recreate all you want, but your job is your job, your body is your body, and your life is your life. I harp on this point because so many women get caught up in trying to be like someone else or trying to live someone else's life, but their failed attempts can be painfully obvious and embarrassing.
Who you are is not just the way you look; it is your lifestyle, your personality, the things you love, the things you hate, what you believe in - all these things encompass who you are. Many of your personal attributes are visible in your physical appearance, which is the reason you can't waste time pretending to be anyone else. It's a temporary fix and just won't be enough when you're looking for lasting change.
It may seem simple, but having a pure and accurate understanding of who you are is the first, and for many the hardest step in the process of Imaging On Purpose. Maybe your issue isn't that you're trying to look like someone else. Your problem might be that you are stuck looking like someone you were; someone that was supposed to be a "transitional" you, not a "permanent" you. Regardless of what your situation may be, you need to come to an accurate understanding of who you are, so that you focus on who you will become. Establish who you are, what you are, and what you want to represent. Then, and only then, will you be ready to move forward in the process of image reformation.
We all experience different stages in life, and often times the mental transition out of these stages proves to be far easier than the physical transition. Which brings me to my next question.
Where Am I?
I am not talking about your actual location at this moment. This questions refers to where you are in life. What stage of life are you in? Where is your focus at this point in life? What are your current resources? Ask yourself, "Why am I here? Am I here by choice? If so, what is supposed to be accomplished in this particular season of my life?"
Being able to accurately identify where you are in life is necessary in planning for where you are going. Although this book is about upgrading and moving from where you are into something greater, you have to be realistic about the current state of your life and your current resources. I am a firm believer in looking like where you are going rather than where you are, but it is still very important to be cognizant and sensitive to your current environment and stage of life. Although every woman is different, we all go through the similar if not some of the same stages of life, and every woman reaches that season where it takes a little more push and drive to move into the next stage of life. See if you can find yourself stuck in any of these stages:
1) The Grasshopper - The grasshopper, or adolescent stage is probably the most unstable and inconsistent stage of all of the stages that you will experience in life, but fortunately there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It is the stage in which we are introduced to the world; the stage that we begin to figure out what life is really about.
This stage typically comes right after high school or for many, the beginning years of college. You are still young and naïve, yet thrust into a world where being a girl is no longer acceptable; you must be a woman to survive. It is during this time that you begin to try new things and to form your own opinions. Physically, your body begins to go through changes. The infamous "freshman 15" and/or post high school weight gain sets in, and your skin also begins to change. In this stage of life your mind and body both change as a result of a drastic change of lifestyle, and naturally your image follows suit. For the first time, your image is no longer under the tight thumb of your mother or maternal figure. You can wear what you want, when you want, and how you want. You can do what you want to your hair- you can essentially do whatever you want. You are still trying to figure out what you want from life, so you may try, do, say, and wear your most controversial items during this time. You don't really have a consistent job or career, so your professional image is of no concern to you. In this stage everything your mother taught you will be tested, or everything your mother didn't teach you will show. It was this time of trial and error really that inspired me to write this book. I can remember the thrill of walking out of my dorm in something I know my mother would disapprove of, only to later go back to my room and change. A time of growth, change, and experimentation: There is nothing wrong with being the grasshopper. The only problem is staying a grasshopper. Then you become what I like to call:
2) The Right Now Woman - The Right Now stage is where many women get stuck; living for now, dressing for now, with no concern for the future. This is the stage that usually comes with the self-certification of being grown. In Beyoncé's song "Grown Woman" she boldly proclaims that because she is grown, she can do what she wants, and that's exactly how we feel during this stage. We are no longer the scared grasshopper, but we aren't quite the mature woman yet.
Many adapt the "YOLO", "I don't care", "living for the moment" mentality as a coping mechanism. We don't really know where we are going, we don't know what we want to do with our lives, nor do we have a legitimate plan for the future, so all of our effort and energy goes into living for Right Now. This is the woman that is still partying when her friends have stopped, the woman that is still in school while most of her peers have graduated; the woman that has changed her major and career goals countless times with no end in sight.
As it pertains to image: this is the woman that has tons of dresses to wear to the club, but she struggles to dress appropriately for a job interview. This is the woman that owns countless pairs of tennis shoes, but doesn't own a basic pair of black pumps. This is the woman that has jeans and t-shirts aplenty, but doesn't have anything she can wear to church. This stage knows no particular age bracket because sadly enough, many women come into this stage very young and never grow out of it. Because of this, the Right Now woman always struggles with the way she looks. She is never truly satisfied with who she sees in the mirror because overall, she is not satisfied with her life.
Change in life is inevitable, and as you get older, more will be required of you as a woman. At some point you will be forced to go beyond your Right Now environment, and you need to be prepared to dress and carry yourself accordingly. You may not need a skirt of decent length because you don't go to church now, but at some point in your life you may have to attend a church function. You may be wearing a uniform at the minimum wage job you're working now, but at some point you will need professional attire to wear to an interview. You may not see the need to have a nice cocktail dress now, but at some point you will have to attend a wedding or a formal event. The Right Now woman does not think about these things, therefore she doesn't feel the need to invest in anything beyond her Right Now.
3) The Career Woman – Every career driven woman comes to the stage in her journey where life must take a back seat, and career must take the front seat. There is no career that will not require some sort of sacrifice, and if you want a career of any type of substance at some point its establishment and maintenance will have to be top priority. The Career Woman adjusts her everyday living around her job, or the pursuit of her job and its requirements, especially if she works a lot. It is totally natural to conform our daily image and wardrobe to our 9-5 environment. However, many women get so engulfed in their career and the image it requires that they struggle dressing outside of the workplace. Whether you work in a corporate environment where the standard is business professional attire or you work in a casual environment where you wear scrubs and tennis shoes as your uniform, it is important to have balance and versatility in your image. Often times the image struggle in this stage is far deeper than simply buying clothes that can be worn outside of work; many women can't dress aside from work attire because they don't have a life outside of work. They lack balance: They don't have a social life, nor are they apart of anything else that requires versatility, so when those rare occasions arise when they have to step outside of the norm, they may struggle. Of all of the stages, this is probably the only stage that women get stuck in by choice.
Many use career as an escape from life. We are all, or will all be guilty of this at some point. We try to channel frustration and dissatisfaction with our personal lives into drive and motivation to work, and theoretically, that's not always a bad thing. It becomes a problem when it becomes a way of life, and we refuse to deal with the root of our issues. Just as that can be detrimental for our emotional and mental health, it can be just as detrimental for our image and physical presentation. Your confidence and drive should show in your everyday presentation, not just when you are going to work.
On the flip side, some people are stifled by their work environment. If your work environment does not require you to maintain a certain image, it is easy to become sluggish and find yourself "putting on" only when you think people are looking. However, the fact of the matter is that people are always looking, and they decide how they feel about you and what you have to offer before you ever open your mouth or present a resume.
4) The Mommy/Family Woman – Now let's talk about Mommies. This is probably the most obvious stage to identify because it is so typical, and it is so very noticeable. We have all seen it. We all have a friend or maybe we are the woman that: 1) gives birth and loses your life and livelihood in your child/ children, 2) gained baby weight that you can't seem to lose and as a result of a lack of confidence and lowered self-esteem you begin to let yourself go. Both scenarios are tragic and yet both are unbelievably common.
Let me give this disclaimer: I firmly believe that there is no greater responsibility than that of rearing a child, and your children should be of the utmost priority. There are indeed some sacrifices, whether it be time or money, sleep or privacy that must be made in order to secure a stable life for your child or children. However, you cannot surrender your purpose, identity, and existence as a woman just to become a mother. Even if you put your life on hold for a while, don't forget it altogether.
While that may sound harsh, you wouldn't surrender your social security number when you give birth and take on that of your child's, likewise your physical identity remains even after motherhood begins. Just as you had a life prior to the birth of your child, it is only a matter of time before the child grows up and begins to develop a life of his or her own. The will beg and plead for their identity to be detached from yours, so you have to be willing to detach yours from theirs. Invest in their life by all means, but please, don't forget about your own. Being overly consumed in the "mommy" role can not only effect your life, but it could potentially begin to effect your relationships; the major one being your marriage.
Excerpted from The Upgrade by J. Renee. Copyright © 2015 J. Renee. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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