Recently, my husband and I had been invited to dinner by a couple we knew casually, but not very well. I had met them once or twice before at a friend’s party and always admired the wife. She was beautiful and dynamic, you know the type of person who was likely very popular back in high school…someone everyone desired to be around.
So when my husband mentioned the invitation to me, my first thought was “oh my goodness, what will I wear?” All of a sudden, nothing in my well stocked closet seemed good enough…or maybe I just didn’t feel I was good enough.
I was excited to go to dinner with them and especially to get to know them better, but I also began to stress (just like a teenager) over whether they would really like me. I thought “I don’t have an exciting job to talk about. I haven’t travelled the world or really anywhere outside the U.S. and nearby tropical islands. I’ve spent the last year writing a blog about a problem I have and am not proud of. I know more about menopause and the female hormone cycle than current world events. What interesting things could I possible have to say?”
It’s amazing that at 54, I can still experience the insecurities of a 14 year old. Where is all that wisdom I am suppose to possess?
I immediately began focusing on what I would wear. Was there any outfit that could give me the confidence I was lacking? Something I could at least drape myself in that would make me seem interesting and fun? I have always used clothing to mask my own lack of self worth. I've spent countless years trying to hide behind fabric and that is why ultimately I keep buying and buying more. Clothing did not and will never have the power to fix what I feel inside.
Why did I care so much? What would happen if they didn’t like me and what reason do I have to believe that they wouldn’t like me? I think I’m likable.
As I continued to mull all these questions over in my mind, it started to become more and more clear to me that all I could do was be my best self. I am really the best at being me and as long as I am my genuine self it will be fine.
I chose a simple summer dress…it wasn’t any special expensive designer, but it was pretty and I felt good in it. I accessorized with a handbag that was several years old, but I still loved it and would buy it again today. I also wore shoes that were not Prada, Jimmy Choo, or any other impressive brand, but were cute and comfortable nonetheless. My plan to just “be my best self” played repetitively in my head as we left to meet them.
During dinner I felt relaxed and comfortable in my own skin. My self pep talk worked and I was completely able to enjoy the evening’s conversations without any hesitations or insecurities. I spoke of my kids, my volunteer work at my youngest’s school and my blog. I was honest about myself and my life. I also enjoyed listening to the life stories they shared with us.
I returned home that night feeling happy and also blessed. A few years ago, I likely would have succumbed to my insecurities and therefore may not have been able to enjoy myself so much. I might have spent the evening comparing and despairing, and subsequently may have indulged in a shopping binge to try and feel better.
I suppose I really am gaining wisdom…I am still improving…and I am grateful for all I do have and who I am. By letting go of my fears and insecurities, I was able to live in the moment and enjoy the moment.
Before retiring to bed that night, my husband turned to me and jokingly asked "Why is it that everybody likes you so much?" I smiled and deep inside felt happy to be "just me".