The three-step guide to a glossier life

The three-step guide to a glossier life

We all know a woman who seems to have it all, the kind that truly can run in heels and not break an ankle. She makes us all feel our lives are just a little shabby in comparison. But what if, instead of hating her, you could become her?

We all know one. You know, those women who seem to float through life, casually picking up promotions, planning parties and wafting around their pristine apartments, all the while remaining perpetually pretty and perfectly primped. Even as you’re reading this, you’re imagining the one you know, aren’t you? She’s that woman who just makes everything you do seem a little less fabulous, a little less cool, or just plain pointless. Her life is easier, more serene and, well, just – shinier – than everyone else’s. Doesn’t she just make you want throw something?

Well, instead of seething and breaking your favourite vase, what about applying the old “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” adage? What about becoming one of those glossy girls? “But that’s madness!” you cry? Why no, it’s all about attitude – and that, thankfully, is something that’s completely within your control. Here’s my guide to becoming one of those women in three simple steps.

You know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.

The first thing to know about the Glossy Girl is that her sheen is an external characteristic. When you compare what she projects with how you feel, you’re comparing apples and oranges. She looks confident and joyful; you perhaps feel a little shy today, and slightly under the weather. But how do you know what she’s really feeling inside? She might be a bag of nerves and obsessing about her new haircut, which she hates, but she’s choosing (and I use that word intentionally) to be upbeat and outgoing.

Now, I’m not suggesting we all bury our emotions, or avoid sharing with our friends. Far from it. Healthy expression of feelings during low times is crucial. This is not about fooling the world. What the Glossy Girl has mastered is the art of fooling herself. Remember that scene in The King and I where Deborah Kerr as Anna Leonowens teaches her son to whistle a happy tune so no-one will know he’s afraid? The last lines are a masterpiece of self-help in musical form :

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well!

I whistle a happy tune
And ev’ry single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I’m not afraid.

Make believe you’re brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are!

Whether it’s fear, anxiety, discomfort, stress, self-doubt – whistle your happy tune, and along with charming everyone else at the party with your bright and breezy demeanour, you might just trick yourself into feeling rather better too.

Leave the victims for Law and Order

The second thing the Glossy Girl has mastered is the art of victimless living. It’s impossible to achieve her kind of charmed life while believing yourself to be a victim of circumstance or a helpless pawn in destiny’s cruel game of chess. Let’s think about why our Glossy got that promotion, or was asked to work on that coveted project that involves a monthly to trip to Rome/New York/LA (substitute much-dreamed-of city of your choice). I’m willing to bet that Glossy, instead of standing around the water cooler gossiping or complaining about her workload, rolled her sleeves up and got on with her job, working hard and – dirty words coming up – making the best of her lot. I know, I know, it all sounds very 1950s East End, but the merits of making do and mending, accepting the situation, putting on a brave face, cannot be overstated. In the short term, such an attitude can perk you up and help you through the day; in the long term, it shows the people around you that, even when life isn’t perfect, you’re going to get the most out of it and do your best. Why wouldn’t that kind of woman be first in line for promotion? I’d hire her.

Glossy Girl Power

The other result of casting off any “poor me” mentality is even more important. The minute you decide that you’re not a victim of life but its mistress, you take back all the power you were once attributing to – well, to what? To fate? Your parents? Your education? Your looks? Fine, you didn’t choose your family, nor did you probably have much say in your schooling, and your genes are your genes – but you are now an adult and every decision you make is your own. The Glossy Girl hasn’t always had a more privileged upbringing, or more opportunities, nor is she necessarily prettier than anyone else. But she has decided that what she is, what she does, what she thinks, is in her hands and hers alone.

A Glossy Girl does not bewail her single status; she sets up her internet dating profile, joins clubs, lets friends know she’s open to subtly orchestrated set-ups. If Glossy needs a dress for a fancy wedding but has no budget, she won’t decline the invitation or turn up in something that feels inappropriate and spend the evening hugging a wall; she’ll search her local thrift shops and find a friend with a needle to make adjustments. And if Glossy finds herself home alone on a Saturday night, she doesn’t throw a pity party, she takes the opportunity to do a home facial, finish the ironing, catch up on emails and watch a “guilty pleasure” film that she’d never admit to enjoying (we all have them, don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about).

The thing is, Glossy really has no more control over her life than you or I; her advantage lies in her owning that power and never forgetting for a second that she’s in charge of her life and therefore responsible for her own happiness.

So, there you have it – for glossy tresses, I recommend a good hair mask once a week; for a glossy, glossy life: whistle a happy tune; refuse to be a victim; and own your power. Because you’re worth it.

Originally published on Running in Heels.