The other night, I read an article entitled "It's a Mad, Mad World!" that articulated something I've been so saddened by for quite sometime, but didn't know how to put into words. This article said it exactly the way I was trying to describe it to someone else a few months ago. It's about the anger so many people seem to be unleashing these days, and how it is being glorified in the media. In fact, I believe Dr. Michael Potegal of the University of Minnesota who was quoted in the article is so unfortunately correct when he says, "The more feuding we see [in the media], the more we accept and mimic it in our daily lives."
To me, the more people watch the garbage on TV where reality personalities are encouraged to fight with each other to increase ratings, the more viewers, especially impressionable youth, think to themselves, "Oh, this is how I'm supposed to act if I want to get ahead. This is what's acceptable and popular to do. I'll be cool if I act this way too." (Thank goodness there are at least a few good inspirational and positively motivational reality shows left out there, but they are few and far between.) The article goes on to say, "Anger, it seems, is the new sex: it sells." Newsflash: conformity is usually not a good thing, especially when it takes you down the wrong road.
Now, what does this have to do with image you may ask? And how is helping clients develop an image not a form of conformity? I'll address the former first. While yes, a certain part of image has to do with the outer appearance, it also has to do with what's on the inside. There's no amount of cool/pretty clothes or makeup that can cover up an ugly inside. If you don't have the inner beauty to back up the outer beauty, your image will be perceived and received as sour and bitter.
To answer the latter question, how I approach my work with my clients, as I have said many times, is to take the time to get to know them as a person and who they are on the inside so I can know how to bring their inner beauty to the surface (this is what I mean when I tell potential clients that developing an image is a bit of a process...not just something that can be slapped together the day before a photo or video shoot). Since everyone's inner beauty is unique, so is their outer image. I don't believe in turning my clients into something they're not...that's just setting them up for failure in so many ways. My job is to polish the gem that my client already is so that his or her inner beauty shines even brighter.
So, the first step in having a polished image is to start on the inside by not managing your anger, but instead overcoming your anger. One of the ways the article suggested on finding peace in an angry world is to make a list of everything you're grateful for on a daily basis as a way to dispel anger, which Dr. Ray Novaco of UC Ivrine defines as "absence of appreciation." One way to make the time everyday to list those things for which you are grateful to turn off the TV and stop buying into all the fighting on shows like Jersey Shore and Real Housewives (I find it interesting they call them "real" housewives when it seems half of them aren't even wives, just mistresses or divorcees, and most of them have fake hair, fake nails, fake tans, etc. But I could be wrong since I don't spend my time watching it!). Count your blessings, be grateful, and be thankful, not just this Thanksgiving day, but every day!