“Wow, she’s a classy dresser.”  “Look at him, he drives an expensive luxury car.  I wonder what he does.”  “This house is amazing!”

What image do you portray?  Truth or just outward appearance?  Do you know of friends, co-workers, or acquaintances who are living above their means just to “attract” the “right” people?  I do.  Just because you drive a Jag doesn’t necessarily put you in the top 4 percental of income producers.  Just because you have fancy clothes doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wealthy.

Look at every person you pass on the sidewalk and some stand out as “classy,” “smart dressers,” “self-confident,” or the opposite: “loser,” “sad,” “fashion ignorant.”  Each of us has a style and some people still identify themselves with a style that long ago evaded their social and financial status.

Can you downsize?  Can you simplify your life and still retain your style?  Can you accept that a 3,000 sq. ft. house meets your needs just as well as a 5,000 sq. ft house.  It’s not only less expensive, it’s also so much easier to clean! Why do we feel the need to impress people with “things”?  Does our ego need to lap up the attention of others even when we know inwardly that it’s all a facade?  Where does image stand up to authenticity?

I may look a certain part when you see me:  successful, self-confident, or other positive labels, but they may not all be the real picture.  It’s an image, a game that we play and hope that the audience doesn’t come behind stage to see us with no costumes and makeup, no props to help us along.   It’s not everyone… I understand that.  “People” magazine invades celebrities’ personal lives.  We eat the information that if Mr/Miz famous is in trouble, then our lives look better.  Can’t compare.  Can’t compare your life with anyone else’s.  It’s yours.  Take ownership.

Do you hide behind the image of success when you really can’t pay your car payment? Do you drive a car that says “wealth,” and yet you’re living out of a suitcase? Do you entertain lavishly knowing that the party goers won’t really remember much except the conversations, the people – not the priceless statue or trinket from China.  When I go to someone’s house and start to compare their front foyer with my whole house, I’m putting them and me at a disadvantage.  Some of my friends make more money than I do. Believe it or not, they still like me, for me.  I like them not for their house, but their company and the way they make me feel when I’m with them.  Those of the images I’ll take home with me.

Money defines people.  It separates the don’t-have-a-penny people, from the there’s-nothing-I-can’t-afford people.  What about the rest of us inbetween?  I’m laughing at myself and thinking, “If my friends only knew what I’m doing right now they’d laugh too.”  I’m scrimping.  I don’t have the security of a full-time, “real” job.  I don’t know when my next client’s going to say, “We need Dee.”  How many of you are in sales?  Commission only? Quota-centered?  How many of you are “scared” that you might not hit that quota, might not get that commission check for a few months?  The economy hurts the middle-class and the upper-class.  If affects me and my behavior.

What about you?  Where can you change your lifestyle and shed the image of success – if necessary – to define who you are? You might have everything and everyone you need.  Bless you.  You may also come across as content and be miserable.  Only you know what’s going on.  Only you know what your habits breed both personally and professionally.

I’m a fake some days.  I admit it.  I come across as carefree and happy, everything’s right in my life.  Not so!  My friend lives in Burbank.  I’m working in LA.  Seems logical that we’ll get together when I’m :20 away as opposed to 2000 miles.  Won’t happen.  She’s stressed about money.  She feels the need to stay home, to save because right now she’s unemployed.  She feels badly that we won’t see each other. She exposed her feelings, let her vulnerability come through. I’m right with that.  Wouldn’t you agree you want your friends, co-workers, family members and peers to be honest and say, “No, I can’t do that right now. Let’s wait until I sell that house.”  Doesn’t that seem logical?  Does for me.

We all come across with the external image of us, our lives and few people know that much of it may be a lie.  For those of you whose lives are “perfect” and your world is on a solid foundation and you possess a true well-being image, I applaude you.  I’m glad for you. Lend us your gift and expertise…please.

Right now I want to wake up and find out that I can be true to myself and my publics.  I also want to wake up and not fret, stress or concern myself about my lifestyle.   What about you?  What can you do to help yourself?  I’m redefining some of what I do and who I am professionally.  I’m curtailing some spending habits.  I’m letting go of any remote possibility of perfection…okay, I let go of that image when I was in swadling clothes.  I hope you get the idea.

My heart doesn’t care where I live.  My friends want me, my heart and my humor more than my “things.”  My image may be tarnished to some, but I can always polish it and know it shines from the inside out, not the outside in.


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