One of the classic examples of illusion is found in attraction and appearnce. While many women spend a great deal of time on their appearance, many men do not. Women often assume they are judged by their appearance whereas men seem to be under an impression they are not or are less so. Men are much more likely to let themseves fall out of shape, for example. Yet all still dress a part. People even dress to say ‘I don’t care’. But ironically, that says they do. Like the fashion to have a few days stubble.
Who are we dressing for? Why are we adopting a role? Are we trying to appear to be something? Or are we trying to not be something? Are we going into debt to create an appearance? Are we resisting who we are? Or are we simply dressing in classic, comfortable clothes? Can you simply dress well without trying to be something?
I have long noticed that both mens magazines and womens magazines feature women prominently on their covers. Sex sells, they say. But have you noticed the difference between women appealing to other women and women appealing to men? Even the sexuality is displayed differently.
Contrary to what you might expect, women are often dressing to impress other women, not men. Many men have little interest in fashion, for example. And men are often dressing a certain way to make a statement to other men.
Now, there’s no harm in playing a role. The illusion is when we think we are that. When we think “I am a business person” rather than “I have a business”. Or “I am sexy” vs “I enjoy expressing my sexuality.”
Someone who finds a comfortable style from decades ago and still dresses the same way may seem amusingly odd. But is this because it’s simply comfortable or because they got stuck playing a certain role? Is someone chasing the latest fashions just as stuck in another role? This is not something we can judge in another. We can only look to ourselves and see how we respond, how we choose.
Are we playing a role and see that? Or are we the role and trapped in it? Another way to answer this is how easily you adapt to new roles. Or new situations outside your usual roles. When change comes to visit, as it always does, it is much harder to shift if we identify with what we were.
Illusion can play all kinds of subtle tricks on us. Seeing through our illusions can sometimes be easiest by looking at what is right in front of us. But that can also be the hardest to see.