The Art of Selling Yourself

I have only recently watched those Dove Beauty Sketch ads, and something within it shocked me to the core. It’s clever that it has a well disguised drop (it’d do badly as a dubstep track) which underpins the nature of the ad. Oh, you clever marketing people.  The ad is basically saying: People think I’m beautiful when I think I look ugly – maybe I’m seeing myself in a bad way. Maybe I just have low self esteem. Ah, but here’s the rub:

““I should be more grateful for my natural beauty, it impacts the choices and friends we make, the jobs we apply for, how we treat our children, it impacts everything. It couldn’t be more critical to your happiness.”

OUCH – THAT BURNS. So in other words, we’re still looking from validation from other people, and they’d better be damn right or we’re screwed!

Now, I’ve soaked up all the negative things like most humans do, who are engineered to look for danger, the possibilities of getting screwed over. Where are your sponges? I’ll explain what I mean by these sponges later.

I’ve been *taught* (not through assumptions, actually taught) to downplay my looks from a child. If anyone called me attractive (as some people have in my life – everyone has experienced it), I was told to say “No, I’m ugly as sin” or something maybe less stinging. Nowadays though, I think why? It makes me feel like crap, it makes the person complimenting me feel like crap – nothing can be seen as good coming from this. Nothing. It’s selfish to do that. Then I remember all the times people have called me ugly (I remember being called too ugly to rape). I can think of more of the latter than the former. Why is that? Because that’s where my sponges are. That’s where they’ve grown. I soak up negativity from things to do with my attractiveness and things to do with my intelligence.

Schooling taught me many things: I’m stupid. I have no opinions. I should go with the flow. I shouldn’t go to university. Again – not an assumption. I was told *not* to go to UCAS sessions, I was told *not* to apply to university as they thought I couldn’t cut it. A teacher called me an automaton because I had nothing worthy to say. As someone studying a PhD now, there is a growing temptation to turn around and flip them the bird, but why? I don’t see the gain. However, my sponge is still there. I know so many intelligent people and yes, I do feel incredibly stupid around people.

But my years of learning marketing have taught me something. When you advertise a product, people have to take your word for it. Whether you know diddlysquat about it or not is something you hide under your poker face. But selling yourself is different.

You know yourself (to an extent), and you have the best customer testimonial for it. Imagine if you say, “I’ve lived with myself all my life and I’m worthless. Rubbish. Couldn’t put up with me if I tried.” You’re not going to think “I’m going to prove them wrong. Yeah, that’s right. I’ll go out with them and they’ll see they’re beautiful!”, unless they’re a Disney character or have a lot of time on their hands. I want to soak up all that positive stuff that’s floating around out there and gain a new sponge. Sponges need to get replaced anyway, or you’re just cleaning yourself with your old dirt. Find those old sponges and chuck them out. Realise all that nice stuff about yourself, whether it’s self generated or not.

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