How I Made My Outside Match My Inside

Do you feel sometimes like your outside doesn’t match your inside? Do you ever struggle with what to wear? I did, until I made my outside match my inside.


Subtle In a Bold Society

“Some art shouts at your from across the room; this whispers for you to come closer.”

An art teacher my freshman year of college said that about my drawing when the class had posted our work on the wall. At the time, I thought he was saying my drawing was insignificant, which fit my image of myself and my artwork. I figured if I could do it, anyone could. Other drawings looked so bold and alive. My teacher was telling me that my art was powerfully subtle. My painting made my outside match my inside.

Feeling a Bit Lost In the Crowd

pigletsBeing a middle child in a large family also adds to feeling a bit overlooked and lost. So it seemed natural for me to think that way. I was a sensitive kid surrounded by siblings – mostly brothers – who were loud and forceful. I could be that way when I needed to, but it took a lot of energy. Still does. And if I need to confront someone, I dislike having to dig down deep enough to be heard by people who don’t hear the subtler way I usually communicate.

And then there’s getting dressed for a party or event. The constant question was, “How can I be comfortable AND look dressed up?” Comfort is number 1 for me, and now I know how to dress comfortably and have style.

Make Your Outside Match Your Inside

Fast forward 40 years to when I watched a series of online videos at that described four different energy types. Now that may sound woo-woo to some people, and like pigeon-holing to others. But being a lifelong introvert, I tend to observe and notice quite a bit

I am sure that you can call to mind people you know who are bold, some people who are quiet and may seem a bit timid at first, and others who are the life of the party, while some people just make things happen everywhere they go. Well, these are the four basic energy types the author is talking about.

Accepting Who I Am

StickFigureMirrorAfter a year of looking at myself and others with this system, I accept myself more for who I am and what I bring to the table. I dress in a way that is congruent with my inner experience and outward expression. And hopefully that congruity is helpful to others as well, knowing what to expect from me. When I was wearing solid, deep colors I knew it was because I wanted to be taken seriously. But that image would have confused people when they heard my soft-spoken manner; it was incongruent with who I was and how I expressed myself. Now I realize that it’s OK to be quiet, kind, and detail-oriented, because it’s who I am.

Does Your Job Match Your Inside?

DYT-T2-Before-AfterI laugh at the job descriptions I see that say they want someone detail oriented and able to multi-task, because those are two very different types of people. As a detail-oriented person, I could be happy focusing on one project for the whole day, never speaking to another soul all day, and the result will be a detailed, accurate report, project or spreadsheet. But if I need to multitask, as I did on my last job, jumping up to answer the door at a moment’s notice in the middle of complex calculations, there are sure to be numerous mistakes in that spreadsheet. Not to mention a lot of stress.

Type 1 thrives with a random schedule; they are the idea people, and are able to switch tracks quickly and easily, but might forget to go back to the original task and complete it. Type 2 enjoys planning and details, and a linear process. They can take Type 1’s idea, and plan our how to make it so. Type 3 makes it happen, and they do a fabulous job juggling all those balls at once and keeping track of them, but they don’t like details. Type 4 would probably also want the undisturbed, focused time, but wouldn’t be happy with the minutia of a full day of details.They like to analyze and perfect things.

A Surprise at the Veterinarian

Dressing Your Truth for Men

I recently took my cat to the vet. We have usually had women veterinarians, but this time we saw a man. He wore a colorful jacket and matching tie covered with orange cartoon cats. His curly wild hair made me smile. I instantly thought, “He looks fun and spontaneous.” But as we spoke, it was clear he was a Type 4: Thorough, focused and efficient. His outside didn’t match his inside. If I hadn’t known about this course, I might have been taken aback, seeing him as abrupt. But I shifted gears quickly, and listened to his astute observations and took them to heart.

Understanding Myself and Others

my before and after

I find the system useful for understanding others at work, at home, at play, everywhere. And it’s easier to get dressed in the morning because everything goes together better than it did before. And now my outside matches my inside. I am honoring who I am, and letting you know when you meet me what to expect when I speak.

Were you told as a child that you were too much? To stop moving? To sit still? To not be so serious? That you were pushy? All of these are signs that your parent was probably a different Type from you, and didn’t understand that your nature was different from theirs.

How About You?

Do you struggle choosing what you want to wear? Have you tried this system? What did you think?

Reprinted and edited from a popular post on my old blog at