Going to the Prom

The Prom seems to have taken over the thoughts of British teenagers during the school summer term.  An American cultural influence I’d say – they didn’t have it in my day!  Although when I was growing up, they did have the “Qually” in my final year of primary school which probably elicited quite a bit of our attention for some time before.  It originated from the days of the 11 plus and was really called the Qualifying Dance.  Presumably if you failed you didn’t get to go?  We didn’t have to do the 11 plus so everybody went – after several weeks of learning Scottish Cross Country Dances.  Going without a partner was perfectly acceptable (we were 11 and boys were pretty undesirable to us at that stage) and I don’t think we had a disco – it was 1979 and disco was in its infancy after all 😀

I’m reflecting on this because:

  1. I’m booked to do the Prom make-up soon for a couple of teenage clients, and
  2. I was abandoned the other week by my chap, who is a head teacher, when he attended his school’s Prom night

We had discussed the effort that the pupils go to for the night, with outfits and hair immaculate – and that’s just the boys!

Gillian Lewis: Spectrum Blog Post "Going to the Prom"The Prom dress business is huge with several hundred pounds routinely being spent on a dress that may only be worn once.  Then there were the tales of the modes of transport to the event: stretch limos, giant Hummers and one set of boys who each turned up in an individual Aston Martin and arrived in a cavalcade.  This is in an area which is fairly deprived, with over 50% of the pupils receiving free school meals, so it begged the question from me about how on earth they afford it?

The answer is that not everybody goes to this extravagance, and expensive dresses are hired, parents club together for the transport or the kids arrive by far more modest means.  However, there are a proportion of pupils who don’t attend. Of course, some of these may not be attending because they have better things to do or no interest in the hoopla, but I imagine a number feel excluded because they feel they can’t compete.  They may not have supportive parents, they may be responding to their general experience of feeling ostracised by the jealous or cliquish behaviour of their peers and not feel they are part of any group.

Even those who do attend may feel like it’s a competition because of the ingrained human condition of constant comparison of ourselves to others.  It is a very well balanced individual who has an internal locus of evaluation and truly doesn’t give a stuff about what other people do or think – and not many teenagers fall into that category.  I’d also bet that many of the adults who appear not to care about what other people think, if you were to explore that a bit further, actually care very much but have cultivated a shell to prevent themselves from being hurt – although that also stops them from connecting with who they truly are as a person.

Gillian Lewis Spectrum: Confidence Cycle graphic

The Self-Image Cycle

I have no doubts that some of that teenage anxiety from, what is the celebratory event of, the prom will stick in the self-image of those kids, particularly the girls, as they grow up – and have a knock on effect through many aspects of their life.

I say this because these are the kinds of issues that are highlighted frequently by the women I work with.  Those who feel that they are lacking in some way, who don’t value themselves or feel important, who don’t feel “good enough”, who feel fearful when they are asked to do something outside their comfort zone, who lack confidence in many areas, and who may be incapable of even looking at their reflection in the mirror because they cannot accept any part of who they are.

And that is really unpalatable to me.  I think nobody should feel like that so I work very hard to reverse some of those feelings with my clients in order that they get to the stage of valuing and loving who they are – and the benefits that has in their lives can be wide reaching and transformational.

If you can see yourself how you were affected in a similar way, I do have a limited number of Complimentary Confidence Discovery Sessions available to help people uncover their biggest block to achieving what they desire in life.  Book yourself in now.

 

Addendum: Reflecting on this some more, and before any parents worry about what they might be doing with their children, I thought it might be worthwhile to point out I know it’s not just one event that creates a long term feeling of not being good enough (although I did attend a very interesting course on Timeline Therapy which suggests that it may be one event that triggers a way of being and our self-limiting beliefs are, in fact, self-limiting decisions) – however, significant events create memories which can stay with us for longer.

I'd love to hear your comments on this post

Gillian Lewis
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Gillian Lewis

Self Image Coach at Gillian Lewis: Spectrum Coaching and Consultancy based in Darlington, County Durham, UK
What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles.Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect.Sometimes it's serious.Sometimes it's just fun.Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience.If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you 😀
Gillian Lewis
FOLLOW ME
About Gillian Lewis

What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles. Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect. Sometimes it's serious. Sometimes it's just fun. Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience. If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you :-D