Style — The thing that makes you, you

"Self-Portrait" 11 x 14, pastel on textured paper

“Self-Portrait” 11 x 14, pastel on textured paper

Personal style is unique to you. It incorporates your personality, your preferences, the things you value and your mode of interacting with others. Your style defines how you dress, your behavior, and determines how you handle different situations: Are you a perfectionist? Outgoing or reserved? What are your interests? What makes you tick?

Your working style may be formal but friendly, or you may come across as pushy and demanding. Do you work hard or do you just try to get by? Are you able to take charge and see a project through to completion, or do you give up early on and find someone else to take your place?

You have a parenting style that may be firm and dogged or wishy-washy and laid back. Your children may see you as strict and unreasonable or as a “push-over.” Your style may be authoritarian or permissive, involved or detached, engaged or disengaged. What kind of parent would you really like to be for your children? Are you working on getting there?

"Reggae Night" acrylic on canvas

“Reggae Night” acrylic on canvas

Do your friends know you as a good listener and empathetic, or do they rarely share their secrets knowing that you can’t be trusted. Do you have many friends and move easily between different types of people, or do you stick with a tight circle of friends and prefer a “best bud” to confide in? Your socializing style may either “win friends and influence people” or it may be a turn-off.

Perhaps you’re a workaholic who seldom has time for play or for yakking on the phone, or you may spend half the day texting to keep your friends up-to-date on every nuance of your intimate relationships?

Everything you do and the history of your life on earth tells others who you are and what’s important to you. Your uniqueness goes before you like a T.V. commercial declaring to the world what defines you as a person. The style you’ve developed over time becomes a description of who you are.

"Moody Blues"  20 x 16 oil on canvas

“Moody Blues” 18 x 14 oil on canvas

Even your secret thoughts and acts become etched on your face over time. Your style precedes your reputation. How you are known becomes your character. Are you loyal and dependable, or are you devious and malicious. Are you a clever manipulator or simply friendly and persuasive?

Unfortunately, when we’re young we don’t always plan on who we’re going to be “when we grow up,” but we should. Once your reputation and style become solidified, it is very difficult to change the results. Like baking a cake or making a soufflé’, using the same ingredients usually gets the same results.

Your choices become the ingredients that shape your life. You may not see the end result right away, but eventually the seeds of character will rise to the surface and expose you for what you are. It is difficult to disguise your real self. You may get away with it for awhile, but truth and reality have a way of bubbling to the surface.

Emma's Birthday -- Looking back brings her joy!

Emma’s Birthday — Looking back brings her joy!

Do you have a role model you admire and respect? Observe how they work and play and how they interact with others. Walk in their footsteps for awhile and see if you, too, can rise to the level of your hopes and dreams to be a leader and an example for someone else.

Don’t sink to the level of your worst thoughts and inclinations. Reach for the first rung on the ladder to your best self and keep on grasping for your next highest goal. If your hand slips or you fall back, don’t let it deter you from trying again. Everyone comes up against a barrier or a problem as they attempt to overcome.

If you don’t give up, soon your muscles will strengthen, your mind will expand, and your heart and soul will cheer you on. Before long, your style will catch up to your spirit.  Your focus will give you clarity and a vision for the future. In the end, it’s all about desire and wanting what’s best not only for you, but for those you love.

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