I once knew a guy who desired a flash, red sports car, couldn't afford one. Naturally I consoled him, assured him that objects like bling cars were not important, wouldn't make him any happier. He disagreed, assured me that a red sports car would make him very happy, that he enjoyed the way people looked at him when he drove such an object. I'd never heard it spoken so honestly before, I was genuinely surprised that people really found happiness in such things.
That conversation has stuck with me for years. He felt that owning an object that represented wealth made him feel good, inspired respect in others. I know he was right, I know it is wrong. We all represent ourselves in one way or another, clothes, homes, cars, boats, all the trappings. Even the bummest hippy represents an image by choosing a hair style, a necklace. Is a red sports car any different to me preferring a blazer over a homely sweater?
At some point we all stand naked in front of a mirror. It doesn't matter if that mirror has a gold frame or not, all we see is our truthful self. In a perfect world that would be enough, other people would assess us by our actions and words. In this world people do assess us by our trappings, we are visual creatures, display is instinctive.
Perhaps my friend was correct? Perhaps selecting and employing trappings effectively is a path to success? It feels wrong to me, yet I know it is right. I admire his honesty, it made me think.
Perhaps the answer is to look into that honest naked mirror, try to represent what we see there honestly when we leave the house? Long hair, red sports car, whatever we honestly feel is true to ourselves, knowing that it is all just trappings, that we are always naked in front of that mirror to ourselves.