Life often feels like one giant contest. Our society is constantly pointing out who's the prettiest, the smartest, the most successful, and the best dressed — who determines those standards, anyway? Exactly. Given all of this, though, it's really no surprise if you don't feel comfortable in your own skin every now and then.
Being comfortable with yourself means not comparing yourself to others, and feeling OK with whatever choices you make in life. It can mean accepting how you look, being cool with how much you weigh, having good self-esteem, liking where you're at in life... the list goes on. But at the core of it all is the sense that you are fine just as you are. When you're truly comfortable with yourself, you don't feel the need for comparisons, and you don't feel the need to do things simply to impress others.
And yet we all know getting to this point can take some work. Especially with the constant barrage of images from social media of "the perfect life," that can make you feel like your own isn't up to par. I always feel like this when I go on social media and see what everyone else is doing. I can be having the best day, but inevitably someone's day looks a little bit better, and suddenly I feel bad about myself. We all do it, but especially those of us who are still learning how to be self-confident.
The best cure for this is getting past the comparisons, like I said, but also by doing things to really get to know yourself. Once you figure out who "you" really are, you'll be less likely to feel shaken up by what other people are doing.
Here are things you can do to feel more comfortable with yourself.
1. Take Care Of Yourself
It's so easy to let your health fall by the way side, and yet taking care of yourself is an important part of feeling comfortable in your own skin. Not sleeping, not eating right, not drinking enough water — it can all leave you feeling less than wonderful. As noted by Mary Dunlop on the lifestyle website TinyBuddha.com, "I can never say enough about how important it is to celebrate my body. Every day, I thank it for all that it does, and honor its needs through 30 to 40 minute runs, long showers, flossing my teeth, and drinking lots of water." Dunlop suggests making a list of all the things you need to do to take care of yourself so that you feel healthy and grounded, and then schedule them into your day. "It's easier to feel good about who you are when you make your needs priorities," Dunlop says.
2. Meditate To Figure Out What Ails You
Even if you have a lot of great stuff in your life, it can still feel like something's missing. Taking time to meditate can help you figure out what that something is. I'll probably sound like Oprah for saying this (whatever, she's awesome), but often times when you feel like something is missing it's because you aren't living authentically. According to Dunlop, "I was uncomfortable because I didn’t know how to be myself. This was also why I often felt unattractive and ill at ease with others. I was frequently projecting someone who didn’t feel 'like me,' and that projection habitually depended on who I was interacting with." If this sounds like something you do, consider why you do it, and then take steps to figure out who "you" really are.
3. Do Things That Make You Happy
One way to figure out who you really are is by doing things that make you happy. When you're feeling bad about yourself, it's easy to get swept along with the flow. You end up saying "yes" to things you don't really want to do, and you wind up adopting other people's hobbies just for the sake of having friends. But people who are comfortable with themselves rarely do this. They know how to say "no" and they aren't afraid to spend time doing things they enjoy. So if you want to sit at home and knit a wardrobe for your cat, then by all means do so. When you start focusing on what you like to do, you'll get that sense of authenticity I was talking about earlier.
4. Learn To Love Your Physical "Flaws"
Do you remember being younger and hating your freckles, or wishing desperately for smooth hair instead of your curly ringlets? But then, as you got older, you realized that your freckles are adorable, and your hair is super awesome? It's good to embrace your so-called flaws, and the more you can do it the more you'll be comfortable with yourself. It's often easier said than done, but many people start to love their appearance as they get older. I used to hate my pale skin, and spent countless hours baking in the sun. But now that I'm not a teenager anymore, I'm totally down to embrace my place skin (and hopefully look like Nicole Kidman when I'm 50). Everyone has something they don't like about themselves, but that "flaw" is often what makes them interesting, unique, and lovely.
5. Embrace Your Unique Personality
For all my fellow loud laughers out there, you've probably been told to "shush" more than once in your lives. But when people tell you to stop doing something that comes naturally — like a loud laugh, a dark sense of humor, a quirky eccentricity — you start to feel embarrassed and apologetic for who you are. Don't let other people put you down for the things that make you unique. If we all were the same, the world would be a pretty dull place. So laugh away.
6. Learn How To Be Alone With Yourself
This step is huge, especially in this modern era of ours that never offers a moment's peace. Most of us probably can't even remember what the world was like before 24/7 entertainment and communication. Did people sit in a chair and stare at a wall? I don't even know. And that's why it's so darn difficult to be alone with yourself. Not to mention that any moment of silence allows for insecurities and worries to come creeping into our minds.
Peace and quiet can be downright hellish, but that's precisely why you have to find time to yourself. No distractions, no chatting, no streaming videos — just you, your thoughts, and (hopefully) a sense of comfort. It may take time to work up to, but you should be able to spend a night by yourself, or a weekend alone, without having an existential crisis. According to Dunlop, "In order to be comfortable with yourself, you first need to be comfortable just being."
Being comfortable with yourself, both physically and emotionally, takes practice and time to work up to. But if you take care of yourself and
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