I am learning to love who I am, where I am, as I am.Morgan Harper Nichols
This post is a continuation of my previous article on How To Find Your True Self. It’s taken me almost two decades, but I finally learned – and internalized the fact – that the journey to self-discovery is a marathon not a sprint. We are constantly evolving, because we’re so beautifully human. So, there is no real end to finding your “true” self, as long as you’re living. The beauty is actually in the journey itself and all the things we learn along the way. So, today I’m completing my train of thought by sharing my learned lessons on how to be comfortable in your own skin.
I’ve come to learn that becoming confident in who you are is TO BE PRESENT wherever you are, AS YOU ARE. Being comfortable with your self basically comes down to: having healthy self esteem, and being at peace with how you’ve chosen to establish yourself in the world. You’ll be fine with how you take up space in any room you find yourself in, regardless of who is in the room. The opinions of others won’t matter as much.
To be honest, comparison syndrome is not one that really goes away, so the thoughts will occasionally pop up. However, you can get to the point where your life won’t be lived based on the need to impress others.
I love this quote by Marcus Aurelius:
It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our ownMarcus aurelius
Sometimes I think it’s a disservice to the younger generations that lessons like these aren’t woven into school curricula. We are in the midst of a literal mental health epidemic (as well as an infectious disease pandemic), but we’re still not being taught fundamental lessons on how to care for ourselves as human beings 🤷🏾♀️.
so here are…
5 Things To Help You To Be Comfortable In Your Own Skin
1. Figure Out Why You Are Uncomfortable With Yourself
This absolutely has everything to do with self-awareness, and it’s not going to be pretty. It will also probably come with pain but the benefits are so worth it. In the previous post (find HERE) I give tips on how to start figuring this out. Journaling, meditating etc… But in addition to those, I like to recommend therapy, because getting your thoughts out of your head is a really good first step.
Additionally, you should be careful and more intentional about the people you surround yourself with. Take a note of who in your life you’ve given permission to act as you mirror. I learned from Bishop TD Jakes, that most great people can’t see their own greatness, because “when you walk into a room, you can see everyone but yourself. So, it makes it difficult for most of us to see the gifts in ourselves and what makes us special. Therefore, it’s sometimes up to the people in your life to let you know what you can’t see in yourself.” That’s why it’s important to choose your circle properly.
So, talking it out with someone you trust is a good way to start!
2. Build Self-Esteem
It’s true that people who are confident on the inside have a glow about them. When they walk into a room, they feel comfortable about who they are. Hence, other people feel comfortable around them – and are almost drawn to them. They know that other peoples’ opinions matter, but it doesn’t impact how they live their life or feel about their lives.
One way to start working on your self-esteem is to set small goals for yourself to achieve at set periods of time; every day, every week, or every month. The point is to:
- set goals: start small!
- establish boundaries (with regards to how you use your time, what you say yes/no to)
- pursue the goal: try to finish it; give it all you’ve got
- DO NOT beating yourself up if you don’t meet the goal
Remember, your value is not determined by what you do or accomplish. You are significant and worthy even if all you did was wake up and be.
The whole idea is that finishing a set goal helps to build our self esteem by positively reinforcing the fact that you CAN BE EXCELLENT at something.
Meditate! Meditate!! I can’t tell you how helpful this has been to me. I talked about self-awareness at the beginning, and meditating will help you with that. But take note of the following:
- choose what you meditate on! Don’t just sit still with your eyes closed…LOL. Pick a scripture, an affirmation, a positive thought.
- don’t get caught up in the how, and whether you’re doing it correctly. Just do!
- it’s okay if your mind wanders, especially if you’re a beginner. Just come back!
- you don’t have to do it for a long period of time. Start small! 2 minutes or 10, it’s totally fine either way.
With time, you’ll start being more in tune with your thoughts and your feelings. Therefore, you’re actions and reactions will become clearer to you.
For me, meditation goes hand-in-hand with prayer. It’a about building faith and trust, seeking calmness and peace, and resting in God’s love for me. This is where I find MY ground. Honestly, it’s where my “confidence” stems from.
I’ll let you in on a secret! I’m actually a HUGE BUNDLE OF NERVES! Most of the time, I’m anxious but everyone else keeps telling me I’m bold and strong and seemingly confident. So, thank God for God!
Ultimately, your life needs to be authentic TO YOU. Otherwise you will spend most of your time feeling uncomfortable with who you are. I believe sometimes, you won’t even know that that is what you’re feeling because our emotions tend to manifest the things that are going on inside. And that is just a sad way to live.
Also, if you’re interested in meditation and have no idea where to start; know that it’s not something that you either have or don’t have. It can be learned like any other skill. So, consider:
- taking a class/course
- find a group of people who meditate and join-in (I like to join Mindful Moves by Ebony Smalls, LMSW)
- YouTube it! Everything you need is on YouTube.
4. Alone Time
Fourthly, you have to schedule some time to be alone. The most important human being in your life is you. That is who you take everywhere you go, so you have to at least enjoy spending time with you. If you don’t enjoy it, why should anyone else?
I do think this comes easier for people with certain personalities or character traits, but it can also be learned. So find out what you like doing and what you truly enjoy. And don’t be shy about your interests. You need to be comfortable in your own skin, not someone else’s.
CHECK OUT: Self-Care Tips For Improving Mental Health
5. Don’t Pour Out Of An Empty Cup
Finally, you need to focus on putting yourself first before helping others. This applies to everyone, but for us women – especially – it bears repeating. Because from a young age, most of us are conditioned to put someone else’s needs first. But Learning how to say “NO” is a really helpful way to start.
LISTEN TO PODCAST EPISODE: Tell Me About The Power of No (Olayinka featuring Me)
I’m not saying be selfish, or standoff-ish, or don’t consider anyone else in what you do. That’s not what this is about. It means focusing on making sure that you are full before you start to pour out. This isn’t always possible, because selfless acts often require inconvenience but you’re a human being. So, you deplete resources and constantly need to be replenished.
Besides, taking care of yourself is such an essential part of taking care of others. The healthier the tree, the better the fruit it will bear.
Finally, I think you should know that you’re not alone if you sometimes feel unsure of yourself. The truth is, we’re not all intentionally taught from a young age to look after ourselves mentally; and if you’re a millennial or Gen Z then I guess it’s even harder. We’ve been conditioned to spend large amounts of our time on social media, which means it’s become easier to compare ourselves and our lives to other people.
Also, our brain is constantly being stimulated by images and ideas that are mostly not real life. So, it’s not shocking that most people are confused unsure of their own paths. You have to step back, actively quiet out the noise, and listen to what your own mind is saying.
However, the journey to figuring all of this out is a long and beautiful one. You shouldn’t beat yourself up if you are not 100% every single day. I like to think of it as the journey with you not to you; ’cause you’re already YOU. There is no destination you have to reach before you can start living the life you’re worthy of. You’re becoming! That process of growth and unfolding takes time, so give it time.