21 Lessons I learned from Dressing Your Truth as a Type 4
life-changing lessons from the Dressing Your Truth Type 4 Course
The Dressing Your Truth Type 4 Course Made Me Unrecognizable
"Hey, Jason," I said casually as I passed my neighbor. "Hey...," he trailed off as he failed to put a name with the face. He could tell from the familiar way that I had addressed him he SHOULD know who I am, and as I stopped for a brief, neighborly chat, his face flushed with embarrassment. This was actually our third encounter like this, and for him it had become uncomfortable, but for me it had become part of daily life the last couple of months as people who had known me for years failed to recognize me until I identified myself. A stumble of apologies were always forthcoming, but I had a slight smile on my lips. No apologies necessary, I assured each one. I know I look VERY different now, and in a good way.
It's been one and a half years since I started the Dressing Your Truth Type 4 30-Day Challenge, and the change has been life-altering. My exterior has definitely changed, but even more importantly, my interior has. Dressing Your Truth is an energy profiling system that helps identify a person's true nature, and not what they have been conditioned to be. It teaches us to embrace our gifts and strengths instead of treating them like flaws.
One day, my mom and sister-in-law were in deep discussion about something I had seen here and there, but never thought anything of: Dressing Your Truth. Turns out my sister-in-law had been doing it for over a year, and never told me about it. At first I sneered. I may have rolled my eyes. A few times. I had seen Dressing Your Truth mentioned online, and honestly, I thought it was for old ladies who wore lots of animal prints, too much jewelry and short, spiky hair. I had no idea it could be relevant to me.
When we got to the type four chapter, and it was like someone had been reading my brain and spying on me my entire life. I felt so much peace, calm and connection. I felt seen for the first time. Then I read about type fours in The Child Whisperer book (written by the same author, Carol Tuttle), and I cried and cried from relief, validation, understanding, acceptance. The very next day I dove straight into the Dressing Your Truth program and the 30-day challenge of dressing my type for 30 days to see how I felt, how others responded to me, and it was intensely emotional.
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21 Lessons I've Learned from Dressing My Truth
1. I realized that for years I’ve been trying to disappear and become invisible because I’ve always been told that who I am is wrong. I’m too much. My energy is too big. I had changed my appearance over the years to become increasingly softer, flowier, mousier. Everything from my makeup, to clothing, to hair color and accessories. I stopped talking. To everyone. I stopped interacting. At church (the only social-like thing I did) I walked in, listened, and left. I didn’t go to extra activities. I didn’t go to girls nights out. We’ve been at the same church for five years, and people still ask if I’m new. I didn’t talk much to my neighbors. I didn’t talk to anyone I didn’t have to. At family events I kept to myself. I really even stopped communicating with my husband. I had shut down and retreated farther and farther into myself because I was trying so hard not to be me.
2. Thanks to Dressing Your Truth (DYT), I know there is nothing wrong with me. I’m not broken, and I don’t need to be fixed. I’ve had so many internal battles on top of the negative messages I’ve gotten from others. I felt like I was a mean person for immediately picking out the flaws in everything or being a know-it-all. That isn’t a flaw. It’s a gift. I have a gift for perfecting things. I’m an editor. I make things better. It would be mean if I walked up to people and pointed out all the flaws I notice, but just noticing them doesn’t make me mean. Automatically editing everything I read and mentally correcting people’s grammar doesn’t make me mean. It makes me precise. I’ve beaten myself up for that for years. I thought I was a critical, negative person, but I’m not. I used to punish myself by making myself find five nice things for every flaw I detected. I didn’t need to be punished for being who I am.
3. I thought I was a bad mom because I’m not a Pinterest mom. I don’t make leprechaun traps, bake a different type of Christmas cookie every day of December, leave tooth fairy glitter on the carpet, or plan a fun outing for every day of summer break. I’m not that mom. I am great at noticing the unique needs of each of my children and trying to reach them in the way they need to be reached and loved. I’ve worked hard at making sure they are treated as individuals at home and outside of the home (especially important when you have a large family and when you have triplets. No one in our family is named triplet). I’m great at providing structure and consistency, providing homemade, healthy meals three times a day, making sure there is always a plan in place. I get things done. I have routines. I minimize chaos. Well, I minimize chaos as much as one can in a home with six kids ages 2-8. So does that mean moms who don’t do these things are bad moms? No. They also have wonderful strengths they bring to their families.
4. Type fours are still, private, bold, authoritative, striking, perfectionist, clean, regal, simple, precise, structured, clear, reflective, and high-contrast. My secondary is type 3, which is why my mom and sister-in-law pegged me as that first. I do have a lot of type 3 qualities, but I don’t relate to that as a whole. Type 3s are dynamic, sure, and purposeful. They have the gift of action, swiftly getting things done. I get things done, but in a more precise, thought out way than type 3 would. I'm not swift, I'm constant and steady. I’m extremely efficient. I think carefully through exactly what I want, but once I know, I get it done. Get. It. Done…Perfectly. Types 4 and 3 are both huge energies. Carol Tuttle, the creator of Dressing Your Truth, describes them as fire and ice. I’m full of fire and ice. Do you have any idea how confusing that can be?
5. Another thing I’ve come to understand about myself is the internal battles I’ve always felt between my primary 4 and my secondary 3. I have always loved structured, clean, tailored, preppy clothes, but I also love edgy, textured things. Leather, zippers and snake skin make my heart sing. I love to be unique and have things no one else has. All my life I would go from one extreme to the other with style. All super simple and structured Type 4 or all crazy Type 3, and never felt right in either because I wasn’t doing either one right. Now I know my best is classy, tailored T4 clothes and colors with edgy accessories/handbag, and hair to express my secondary 3. I wasn’t wearing the bold type four colors when I dressed in type four structure.
6. Am I an introvert or an extrovert? Yes, I am. That has confused me my whole life. I’m an introvert as a type four, and an extrovert as a secondary type 3. I hate having attention drawn to me, but if I feel like I’m an authority/knowledgable on a topic, I have no problem speaking to a large group, teaching classes, blogging, etc. When I go into a new situation, I hang back and observe silently for a while, but once I feel comfortable, I can join the party and be just as lively as anyone, or at least I used to do that when I wasn’t hiding. Never in my life have I walked into a room and immediately engaged with the group. Not ever.
7. I require alone time to recharge, but sometimes I reach a point where I feel starved of adult interaction. Once I reach my limit though, I have to disengage. If I can’t physically leave, I will mentally check out. In many ways type four and type three are so opposite, and I could never reconcile the differences within myself, but after learning about the types through Dressing Your Truth, I understand all of my contradictions.
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8. For the last several years I’ve told my husband that when I was younger, I used to be a very vibrant, bright, engaging person, very much like one of our daughters, and I’ve wondered what happened to me so I can make sure it doesn’t happen to her. It made me sad that that girl was gone. I didn’t like who I’d become, but I didn’t know how to change it. Now I know that was my secondary 3 shining, and I’ve been muffling her. She hasn’t had a voice. She has been in time out for years. I’m ready to invite her out again. It won’t happen all at once because she has been locked up for so long she will need time to adjust to the daylight. She also needs some apologies from me for hiding her. She is powerful and deserves to come out whenever she wants.
9. I realized I really don’t like movement. I thought the energy component of Dressing Your Truth was really out there, but I’ve come to realize it is true. I don’t like dangly sleeves. I had this super cute top that had dangly sleeves, and in two years I wore it once, and I felt so anxious all day. I don’t like bracelets or watches to slide up and down my arm. I don’t like necklaces that are lower than the top of my bra because they swing and move too much. I don’t like full skirts. They have too much movement and volume for me. I’ve bought several because I like how they look on other people, and I never wear them. I try them on, and take them off. They feel as big as Scarlett O’Hara’s ballgowns. If I have to secure it when I bend over, it’s a no. I don’t like the air around me to move, no direct air flow, especially if it is cold. I don’t even really move in my sleep. I sleep on one side most of the night, and when I do roll over, I don’t disturb the covers. I’m like a chicken on a roasting spit. I rotate in the same spot. I sit very still and very compactly, but with excellent posture. If I could get a freeze button for the whirlwind that is my children, I would press it on the hour for a 60-second pause.
10. The endless cycle of chopping my hair and growing it out only to chop it again is over. I don’t actually want long hair. As soon as my bangs are long enough to get in my eyes, I start pinning them back. If my hair is long enough to touch my neck and get in my face, I put it up. I have a Pinterest board with over 200 pins of pixie haircuts and my Pinterest board for long hair is for one of my daughters. I like short hair on me, so I I chopped it again! I loved it, but it was still too long, so a pixie followed shortly after. Anything that requires fidgeting, sweeping, securing, or working with on my person is too high maintenance for me. During my 30-day challenge, I liked the clothes and makeup, but to be honest, it felt clownish, until I cut and colored my hair, and then suddenly I felt complete. It all went together. It all belonged. I’m not hiding anymore. Love the color, love the cut. It feels like me! This was the missing piece.
11. For the first time in my life I am 100% proud of who and what I am. I’m not broken. I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t have to apologize for who I am (even to myself) or change. I’ve let go of the ways I thought I was a bad person because of my perfecting nature. I’m perfect the way I am, and now my exterior is starting to match my interior. I feel stronger than ever. I feel free to be myself. I cried buckets of tears of relief and gratitude in the first month. Carol and her Dressing Your Truth Program gave me all of that by sharing what she knows. I’m so very grateful for it. And not only that, it is improving my relationship with my husband and children as we work to understand ourselves and each other. I feel so drawn to Carol Tuttle because for the first time in my life someone SEES me. I’ve been waiting my whole life to be seen, appreciated, acknowledged, understood and admired for my strengths instead of condemned for my weaknesses (even by myself!). I feel all of those things from her through the books and videos. I got to meet her during my challenge, and it was a thrill for me. I could care less about meeting celebrities, but I was dying to meet her, even though it was brief. I wanted to thank her. And by thank her, I mean sob and blubber incoherently.
12. Speaking of my husband, he is THRILLED with the changes. He loves my look, but even more than that, he loves that the girl he fell in love with and married is coming back. He loved my feisty, sure personality. He missed the fire, drive and spunk. He wanted an equal partner, not a yes girl. He has loved me all along, and he loves that my true self is coming back. He loved the real me when he asked me to marry him.
13. This is truth in advertising. When I dressed in such a reserved way, and then I occasionally said something bold, it was even more startling and unexpected coming from someone who looked the way I looked. Now when people see me, they expect bold words and actions from this package. It feels good to me to have my exterior match my interior. There is an energy in it that I can’t explain. It fuels and powers me to be true to who I am. I feel authentic when I dress my truth, and that is empowering. When I went for a check-up, my doctor walked in and said, “Whoa! You look fantastic. I love this new look. Are you going to get a Harley now?” He was referring to my moto jacket. I said, “Maybe. I’m finally dressing so that my exterior matches my interior.” He said, “Oh, so this is how you feel?” and I responded, “No. This is who I am.”
14. I want to be clear that it isn’t a free pass to take my strengths and gifts and abuse people with them. Type four boldness can also be quite offensive when all filters are removed. Type three push energy that gets things done can also push people over and be overbearing. Type two deep feelings can become emotional extortion and abuse, and type one spontaneity can be downright rude when they stand people up or are hours late because they lost track of time. Again. I can still be bold and be selective with my words. I’m not always successful in choosing the right words, but I do try, and that matters.
15. If you find yourself saying, “I can’t help it, I’m a type…” then that might be your clue that you need to reign it in and use some good, old-fashioned manners. In fact, you CAN help it. Sometimes extra honest words pop out of my mouth if someone catches me off-guard, but I work on filtering. I learned long ago that not everyone appreciates extreme honesty the way I do. If I ask your opinion, I truly want your honest opinion. Years ago I started prefacing my answer with, “Do you want my opinion, or do you want my approval, because I can give you either one.” It usually gets a laugh, and most often the answer of, “I want your approval.” To which I respond, “I think that’s a great idea. You should do it.” Obviously I wouldn’t give that answer to something illicit, illegal or immoral, but I can stand behind your choice to paint your car to look like Sponge Bob Squarepants. Absolutely. Do it. I call shotgun for the first cruise down Main Street.
16. I’ve learned that I can dress to channel the energy I need for the day's activities. If I know I have a hard day coming, or the day after a hard day, I can wear black to soothe, ground and center myself, and it doesn’t matter if anyone else thinks it’s too dark. I can dress in brighter colors to seem more approachable and open, like when I volunteer in my daughter’s kindergarten class each week. Sometimes I will choose a bright color to channel more energy or a brighter mood, and sometimes I will dress more fiercely with extra secondary 3 elements if I need some extra feistiness or push (or as a warning that I'm feeling extra feistiness or push).
17. I’ve learned that the style choices that work for one type 4, or even 4 million type fours may not work for me, and that is why this journey is unique to each of us. My type 4 style works for me, and won’t work for others. It is very personal. I still find inspiration in the outfits of others, like a color combination, but there is no one I’ve met whose style I could copy and feel like it was me, and that is a good thing.
18. I NEED the edgy elements of my secondary three, or I feel off. When we went to Japan my small wardrobe was strictly T4, and I felt like something important was missing. When we got back I couldn't get enough edge for a couple of weeks.
19. This brings me to another thing I’ve learned. My primary energy type is my PRIMARY. It comes first, always. Incorporating my secondary 3, which is a very, very strong secondary, is still just that: secondary. And often subtle. It might be extra texture in a sweater, (always) my hair, some angular shapes on a shirt, zipper details, leather trim, or earrings that could definitely put an eye out.
20. There is no going back. My 30-Day Challenge ended up being 6 weeks because it felt so natural. The first time I wore one of my old favorite outfits, I felt so off that my husband thought I was coming down with something. I swore that no one would tell me what to do, and that after the challenge I would keep all my favorite outfits, but 6 weeks later I couldn't get rid of them fast enough.
21. The most important lesson I learned is my strengths aren’t weaknesses, my gifts aren’t flaws, and who I am is perfectly me. I’m not allowing people to tell me I have to fit a mold. I’m proudly being my Type 4 self: bold, concise, exact, structured, perfectionist, literal, precise, straight-forward, polished and serious. I'm also driven, intense, hard-working, and determined. I can be a lot. I can do a lot.
DRESSING YOUR TRUTH TYPE FOUR BEFORE AND AFTER
BEFORE: This is me dressed as a type three, which is my secondary. I dressed as a type four in college, but once I got married, my type three husband started buying me type three clothes, and I started buying him type four clothes. We were dressing each other in our types. Did I look fine? I did. But I didn’t look stunning like a type 4. I blended in, which is what I was going for. I also didn’t feel fine. I felt conflicted all the time, and I was hiding. This is the best before picture I could find, and my skin is ruddy, my features are blended, and I'm just kind of there. Makeup experts will tell you that brown eyeshadow makes blue eyes bluer, but as a type 4, black or navy eyeshadow and eyeliner make my eyes bluer and wearing type four colors makes my skin clearer and brighter. I shared the perfect everyday makeup look here.
AFTER: Since I started dressing my truth, I receive so many compliments on my style from strangers and acquaintances alike who, “wish [they] could pull this off”. They tell me they love my style, that I always look great. That is one more lesson I learned. There can be a difference between getting a compliment on your style and your outfit. Sometimes it means the outfit is wearing you. I tend to specifically hear people love my style now, where before I heard more that they liked my outfit, my shoes, my necklace, etc., when I was trying to follow the trends that don't suit me.
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If you are looking for Type four outfit, makeup and style inspiration, I share a weekly round up of my outfits every Thursday, makeup and style tutorials, and breakdowns of what I am looking for in specific items.
Check out some more of these before and afters, all taken within 6 months of starting my DYT type 4 30-day challenge. I remember being so unhappy at how awful I looked in these pictures, and not sure why I looked terrible when I was trying so hard to look put together. These pictures have never seen the light of day, they are that bad, but I'm sharing them here to make a point. Picture 1 was on a trip to New York City, picture 2 was my daughter's birthday party, and picture three was my daughter's dance competition. These pictures made me cringe.
The bottom row are pictures of me dressing as a type four. I am constantly told I am unrecognizable...in a good way.
Today when a person meets me for the first time, they know exactly what to expect from me. I call it my truth in advertising policy. My appearance matches who I am: bold, edgy, somewhat reserved, confident, authoritative, and content. I know who I am, and everyone who sees me knows who I am as well. I am treated the way I expect to be treated, and the interaction is positive on both sides. The thrill of looking so great I was downright unrecognizable for a few months is just a bonus.
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