Growing up, knowing what it felt like to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin was something I knew nothing about. You see, I grew up in the age of glossy magazines. Teen and fashion magazines that I just loved to read, and couldn't help but make my mom buy for me when we went grocery shopping. Each magazine felt like a special wonderland to me, completely different and separate to my own reality. As such, I wanted to be just like the female celebrities I read about and the models that I saw.
To make things worse, at school I always felt like the average girl among a sea of pretty ones. I did my best to fit in of course, but never failed to feel inferior to the “pretty girls” around me (yes, I went to an all-girls school). In my youth, as a thick little girl with short hair, braces and a decent amount of acne, I NEVER EVER EVER saw myself as pretty or attractive, and was never taught to see my own beauty. Instead, I always saw myself as a project to be worked on in order to look more like the girls around me. In my close-knit high-school bubble, they had the standard of beauty that was praised – blemish-free skin, silky long hair, skinny to slim, and attractive. I felt (Read: knew) I was none of the above. I was far from having clear skin, naturally long hair was a dream, and being slim? ha! In those days, being comfortable and confident in my own skin was the most alien thought EVER!
Ladies, Our Childhoods Affect Our View On Beauty Too!
Sure, social media, advertisements and magazines have affected our views on beauty since the dawn of time. Every single day we are bombarded with images that tell us what beauty looks like. The good news is that the world is becoming more open, inclusive and accepting of other body types as we now see more plus-size bodies, shorter bodies, blemished bodies, pregnant and post-pregancy bodies – and it's a beautiful thing.
But it's not just about social media, ads, and magazines! What many writers on this topic fail to acknowledge is the role people in our own lives have played on how we feel about ourselves and what we believe to be beautiful.
The pretty girls at school, the parents and relatives encouraging you to lose weight, teachers giving preferential treatment to the pretty and popular kids, your school crush choosing someone else over you…influential childhood experiences such as these find their way into our subconscious mind in the form of limiting beliefs without us even realizing. These limiting beliefs can stay embedded in our hearts and minds for the rest of our lives and wreak havoc in our personal and professional lives with family, friends and colleagues if we don't deal with them.
They manifest as self-hate, insecurity, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, seeking love in all the wrong places, seeking acceptance and validation, not taking risks, and more.
It's not spoken about much (probably because it's not popular enough), but your childhood experiences play a HUGE role in how comfortable and confident you feel in your own skin.
What Is This Post About?
So, this post is about how to actually BE comfortable in your own skin – not how to look or how to appear comfortable (I'll talk about these in another post). It is not a post about pretense or “faking it” on the outside to fool others of your insecurity. Instead, below you'd find 15 genuine ways in which you can begin to feel comfortable and confident in your skin from the inside.
Becoming comfortable and confident in my own skin has been a topsy-turvy journey that I finally feel I have a stronger handle on thanks to discovering the wonderful world of holistic wellness, personal development and self-improvement in my late 20s.
I can tell you that, there is nothing in this world more empowering and freeing than genuinely accepting and loving yourself from the inside.
There are countless ways to achieve this reality, however, in this post you will read 15 tip-top ideas to help you discover the best, most authentic ways in which you can become more comfortable and confident in your own skin.
The first stop is to make sure you sign up for my free email series “Invisible to Influential” to help you learn how to build the confidence you need to rise from obscurity in your life, demand better treatment and respect from others, choose to shine, and practice the art of influencing others with authenticity. Becoming more confident and comfortable in your own skin will MOST DEFINITELY help you come out of hiding to attract more influence, respect and high-level treatment.
I know I can't be the only woman out there constantly wondering how to form that unconditional bond of love with myself. So this is for us.
1. Discover What Makes You Feel Less Confident & Comfortable
Step one to becoming confident and comfortable in your own skin is self-awareness.
Don't come for me! I know, I know, it's an ugly task that many run from. BUT, if you really want to improve how you feel about yourself, it's crucial!
The good thing is that developing self-awareness is not an overnight job. It takes a considerable amount of time to learn about yourself – not what others say you are or tell you to be. So, even the tiniest of baby steps are steps in the right direction.
When overcoming or improving a negative self-image, your enemy in this battle is yourself – your inner self. And just like on any battlefield, you cannot defeat your enemy until you know her from the inside out – her strengths, weaknesses, blind-spots, habits, goals, commitments, values etc.
As such, you need to get to know your current self first before you can even begin to effect meaningful change. Ask yourself key questions such as, “what is it that makes me feel less confident or comfortable in my body?” Is it your features? Your height? Your size? Your blemishes? Your inner critic? – and “why do they make me feel this way?”.
This is not to criticize yourself, but as a form of information-gathering. Knowing your what and why is key because in order to take the necessary steps toward comfort and self-confidence, we need to become explicitly aware of our “problem areas” if we truly want to feel good about ourselves one day.
This part is SO NOT FUN! But this way, you can clearly see what is out of alignment. By being real, raw and honest with your truth you can begin to create a strategy to build the self-confidence that you need, and know what your next steps need to be.
Self-awareness and self-understanding are the first steps to self-appreciation and self-confidence. This is the uncomfortable but necessary part of growth.
2. Compliment Yourself In The Form Of Affirmations
This is a fundamental rule I'm going to say here.
One of the most important things you need to do in order to feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin is to begin the process of thinking of yourself differently.
You MUST begin to re-frame your self-image – in your thoughts toward yourself, in your feelings toward yourself, and in the way you see yourself physically. Without working on this, becoming comfortable in your own skin will be a roller-coaster ride that you can never get off.
Of course, re-framing your self-image is by no means easy or an overnight thing, especially if your negative beliefs originate from bad childhood or traumatic experiences. This will take a lot of time and practice. Nothing worthwhile and magical comes easy. But, like shedding layers of skin that you've built up over many years, you'll be releasing yourself from the heaviness of your own limiting beliefs that have harmed you, hurt you and held you back in life. Your thoughts determine your reality 100%.
My ABSOLUTE favourite way to re-frame my thoughts are through affirmations. I wrote a whole post about affirmations here; but basically, these are positive, present tense ‘I am' statements that decree or declare that something is true.
The key to affirmations is that they must be repeated over time because when you first begin with affirmations it may be difficult to actually believe what you're saying about yourself. However, by the 50th time or the 100th time of detoxing and cleansing your mind of your limiting beliefs, your thoughts and feelings about yourself may drastically change to the point where you do believe in your unique awesomeness, and you do actually feel peace within yourself. I speak from experience.
I've dug up 7 affirmations from my own vault to give you a headstart on speaking love and light to yourself, on your journey toward feeling more comfortable and confident in your own skin:
- I love my body and my body loves me
- I have a healthy, beautiful body that works perfectly and allows me to experience life to the fullest
- I take care of my body, and my body takes care of me
- I am perfect, whole and complete just the way I am
- Love fills every inch of my body and radiates to everyone around me
- I feel so comfortable and confident in my skin
- I am a wonderful human being
Don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself. Create a list of these empowering affirmations and say them everyday, as you wake up and just before you go to sleep. By planting these seeds of positive self-talk, you'll slowly notice your thoughts begin to change as you continue to say nice things to and about yourself.
3. Spend Time Celebrating & Thanking Your Body
A great way to begin feeling comfortable in your skin is to change your focus. Energy flows where your focus goes. So, instead of automatically zeroing in on what you think are flaws and imperfections, change your focus to what you actually like about your body and the amazing things it can do. And before you say there's nothing you like about your body, hold up!
Think about every part of your body that you feel insecure about, and express gratitude for the functions that it performs on a daily basis. Don't knock it till you try it!
For example, celebrate and say “thank you” to your:
- Nose for allowing you to smell your delicious morning coffee or your favourite foods
- Ears for allowing you to hear the sweet sounds of your favourite songs or the voices of your favourite people
- Eyes for all the beauty it allows you to see
- Stomach for perfect digestion and being a home for tiny humans
- Wrinkles for the reminder of your ageless wisdom and maturity
- Arms for allowing you to hug and hold the loves of your life
- Legs for carrying you, saving you from physical disability, allowing you to run marathons, climb mountains, and look great in a pair of heels
- Acne and blemishes for making you an expert in skincare
Our bodies provide a big service to us. But we don't recognize its worth. Many times we're not mindful of it because we're too busy thinking about what's missing. Forgive yourself for this. Forgive yourself for all of the ways in which you've harmed and hurt yourself with your negative self-talk, negative feelings toward yourself, and the negative ways in which you see yourself. Accept your flaws and weaknesses proudly. Then, start over on a clean slate.
By shifting your focus in this way you lift yourself up emotionally instead of contributing to self-degradation. Thanking your body and expressing gratitude for all it's done for you, makes it easier for you to begin to perceive yourself differently, and become more accepting of what you have and don't have.
As you accept and appreciate yourself in this way, you will naturally find yourself becoming more comfortable and confident in your own skin.
There are enough people in the outside world to attack you with mean words about how you look. You should not be one of them.
4. Take Care Of Your Body & Treat It With R.E.S.P.E.C.T
Without a doubt, I am team healthy lifestyle and holistic wellness. I firmly believe in self-care rituals such as exercise, healthy nutrition, meditation, regular pampering, speaking to a professional coach or therapist, indulgence and self-rejuvenation. Believe me, these are pivotal processes on your journey toward comfort and confidence in your own body!
When you're treating your body right, and your body feels at its best, you naturally feel good about yourself. What's more, as you see your body physically change as a result of your self-love practices, you'll also look your best too. Arguably, nothing feels as good as enjoying what you see in the mirror. Other perks? Your hair, skin and nails will benefit. Your clothes will fit much better. More energy. Better moods. More inner calm and peace of mind. What's not to love?!
Here are some ideas…
Take time to move your body, develop an eating style that works for you and makes you happy, get pampered at a spa with facials and massages, detox your body, your social media, your wardrobe, and your contact list, get a new hairstyle or a new mani-pedi; or better yet – have your own at-home spa pampering session, and take special time for yourself.
Other great ways to take care of your mind, body and spirit can be to take the morning off, wrap up the day early or take the night off to do whatever you want that doesn't mean work or productivity. Also, why not buy that overpriced coffee, or take an extra long bath with candles, a book…soft music…the whole shabang!
Basically, stop neglecting yourself! Listen to your intuition – it knows exactly what your body needs right now to feel loved, respected and cared for in a natural, affordable, sustainable way.
Taking care of your body and treating it to a healthy, holistic lifestyle benefits all areas of your life. Never ever ever feel guilty for taking some time out just to serve you! If you don't take care of you, who will?!
5. Be Kind & Do Nice Things For Others
Did you know that one of the best secrets to self-confidence is to get out of your own head? Yes! Turning your attention off of yourself to do nice things for others works wonders for boosting self-confidence and self-esteem.
Therefore, a great way to feel more comfortable and confident in your own skin is to do something nice and thoughtful for a family member, friend, colleague or neighbour.
- Offer help to a colleague so they won't have to work overtime.
- Volunteer for a cause you are passionate about.
- Donate to a foundation you admire.
- Share motivational content to uplift and inspire your friends and followers on social media.
- Be a listening ear.
- Give helpful advice.
- Give a compliment.
- Be supportive of goals and dreams.
There are SO many ways to be kind and do nice things for others.
Once you've managed to make someone else happy and put a smile on their face, I'd say job well done! That positive energy will rub off on you like jam on toast! Hello self-confidence and self-worth!
Never forget, it is better and more blessed to give than to receive; and, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
6. Create A Life You Love Living
A great confidence builder is turning your focus off of your imperfections and toward becoming the author, designer and architect of a full life that you love living. When you truly enjoy your life you feel so good about yourself and it shows. Your energy radiates like the sun!
The problem, however, lies in the fact that we can have a tendency to be so busy ticking boxes on our to-do list, finishing projects, taking care of others, making others happy, being worried about what others think of us, scrolling aimlessly online, and being aimless in our everyday pursuits. In short, we're constantly distracted zombies.
So, take some time to reflect. What makes you happy? What brings you joy? What makes you feel content? What brings meaning and purpose to your life? What have you always wanted to do but were too afraid? What makes you feel like you actually are becoming the highest, best, most authentic version of yourself?
Make a list of responses to each of these questions. Then, make it your duty to slot more of these things into your daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals. Don't wait for when you're thinner, fitter, blemish-free, or whatever. Focus on your personal development and self-improvement RIGHT NOW! Define your life RIGHT NOW! Put in the work to achieve what you want RIGHT NOW!
Doing more of the things that make you happy is a key secret to feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin. When other areas of your life are “working”, you naturally feel better about yourself, and life itself. Plus, you never know, by creating a life you love you just might stumble upon a hidden talent you never thought you had. Win-win.
7. Explore Self-Expression
Authentic self-expression plays a huge role in how comfortable and confident we feel. When we stifle ourselves creatively we're doing ourselves, and the world around us, a huge disservice.
Expressive arts such as singing, dancing, painting, drawing, cooking, playing an instrument and writing allow you to display your truth un-apologetically to the world.
Through these art forms, we can turn our minds off of our insecurities, flaws and weaknesses; focusing instead on the creation of beauty. We also learn how to take control of our bodies, express ourselves in ways we can never do in our everyday lives, let loose, decrease our stress, and increase our happiness. Sometimes, it's so necessary to get out of your head, forget about the world, and allow your cares and worries fade away.
So, make sure you set aside time for play and creativity! Focus on your artistic and creative expressions, as beautiful parts of yourself that must be shared with the world. At the very least, they will make you happy.
8. Spend Quality Time With Yourself
Learn to just ‘be' with yourself. Find ways to entertain yourself without the involvement of outside sources such as social media, friends or family. Take the time to do activities that relax, recharge and rejuvenate you without paying any mind to what anyone thinks. For example…
- Catch up on a good book.
- Listen to uplifting, soulful music.
- Journal your thoughts.
- Watch a movie you've been wanting to see.
- Take a walk in nature and absorb your environment using your 5 senses.
- Ask yourself deep soul-searching questions to get to know who you are, who you want to be and what you want out of your life.
- Take pen to paper and brainstorm how you can go about achieving your goals.
- Document discoveries of your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, as you continue to learn more about yourself.
Explore mindful activities such as these.
Spending time alone does not mean that you are alone, lonely, aloof or anti-social. Rid yourself of those thoughts at once! All it means is that you recognize and value the worth of your own company.
This is how you learn to become your own best friend.
9. Stop Comparing & Competing
One of the biggest mistakes we make on our self-love journeys is comparison. Comparison is the devil! It is a useless devil!
For example, Photoshop and Facetune make it so easy to clear up any blemishes and imperfections in a photo. It is SO obvious to us now that most celebrities and “influencers” enhance their images so they look glamorous and flawless in magazines and Instagram posts. It's practically become a norm now.
And let's be real here, being a member of the “beautiful people” takes WERK! Many times these people pay top dollar for the best personal trainers, nutritionists, stylists, makeup artists and spa treatments in order to maintain their physique and ridiculously good looks.
Yet, we still feel like we need to look more like them, and believe that if we do, we will somehow become more likable and socially-acceptable, so we tweak our photos as well…even just a little bit.
It doesn't stop there though. On a more micro level, you can easily find yourself secretly comparing your body, your complexion, or your facial features to people at work, your friends, and even members of your own family who you think look or act more superior to you in some way.
But the thing is that we don't know what it's like to walk a day in their shoes, their daily struggles, daily insecurities or the fact that maybe they dislike their bodies so much that they feel they have no choice but to edit their social media posts or accentuate their looks in some way.
It's human tendency to showcase just our highlight reels.
Yet everyone of us cannot help but compare ourselves to someone else at some point or other.
As the saying goes, “comparison is the thief of joy”. If you're comparing yourself to others right now in your personal or professional life, you are literally allowing your joy and happiness to be stolen. Stop it! The only way to take back that joy and happiness is to take your focus off of these external forces and keep focused on yourself.
Keep your eyes glued to your own journey and you will feel so much better about yourself. This means to stop worrying about what (you think) others think about you, to stop trying to impress others, to stop comparing, and to stop competing. Take back control over your thoughts!
10. Forgive Yourself
An essential aspect of feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin is practicing self-compassion.
Stop being so harsh on yourself. Stop punishing yourself for the mistakes you've made or the negative ways in which you've treated your body in the past. Stop judging yourself negatively for past choices or actions. Forgive yourself for the ways in which you've settled in the past.
Easier said than done, I know! But it's SUPER DUPER important to learn from your mistakes, accept them as learning experiences, and at the very least try to never do them again. Say to yourself, “it's okay”, and try again the next day.
Decide to start a new chapter in the book of your life where you support and appreciate yourself no matter what your past looks like. I cannot stress enough how important self-compassion and self-forgiveness are for confidence. Re-write your past by being kind to yourself now.
11. Purge Your Space Of Negativity Triggers
Does your digital space support you feeling uncomfortable and lacking confidence in your own skin?
Social media can play a huge role in our becoming aware of how inadequate we may be on the spectrum of social clout. I know, it can be hard to wean yourself off the drug that is social media, but if it greatly affects how you feel about yourself, your body and your current lifestyle in a negative way, I say get off ASAP! It would not be wise to spend time on apps such as Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok if they trigger you.
Or better yet, delete, mute or block any accounts that cause you to feel stressed, anxious, depressed, doubtful or generally bad about yourself. This includes the feeds of family, friends and colleagues. Choose instead to flood your feed with inspirational, motivational or entertaining posts that make you feel good, or profiles that keep it real about the highs and lows of life.
I did this myself this year and it worked wonders for my self-esteem and productivity! By separating myself from the constant consumerism, unrealistic beauty standards, highlight reels and overnight successes of social media, I feel like I've healed a part of myself that felt like I had to compete with these stories in order to be relevant.Trust me, A little digital detox never hurt nobody! I don't think I'll ever again scroll through social media without boundaries. You shouldn't either.
So be sure to evaluate your environment and think about how it can help you feel more at home with, and in your body.
12. Accept Compliments As Truth
This is a tricky one. It's so easy to crumble under a compliment and deflect it nonchalantly with, “oh it's nothing”, or “oh, this old thing?”, or “oh, it's no big deal”. But I'm here to tell you to be kind and gracious enough to allow people to love you.
Stop rejecting the love and good things that want to flow into your life.
Always accept your compliments with grace. Even if you don't believe or understand what the other person sees, say “thank you so much” with a smile.
By building up your mason jar of compliments as truthful statements of love, you actually begin to believe in what others see. This works wonders on how you feel in your own skin. So, accept appreciation. Let that love flow into your life without obstruction!
13. Surround Yourself With People Who Accept You As You Are
As we've already established, the people around you play a huge role in how you feel about yourself from the inside out.
As such, you need to surround yourself with people who encourage you, support you, appreciate you, accept you, believe in you and love you as you are.
Surrounding yourself with lovely people who make you feel good really does help with feeling good in your own skin. As you become selective with who you spend your time with, you'll find your self-confidence and self-worth rise exponentially with all of that positive energy around you.
Bad company corrupts good manners. So, don't allow your good feelings toward yourself be tarnished and corrupted by the bad company of social media posts, magazine covers, TV commercials, Billboards, and toxic people in your circles who have nothing good to say to you or about you (or even about themselves).
These all add fuel to the fire that is your inner critic. Not worth it!
Life is way too short to spend it with those who make you feel less than what you're worth.
14. Embrace The Changes
One key aspect of feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin is an aspect that many forget; and that is, understanding and accepting the fact that your skin is always changing.
To be comfortable in your body means being comfortable with the ways in which your body can and will change as time goes on.
This goes for both your inner and outer self. Once you're alive, you are ever-evolving. As such, your self-concept, the way you think about yourself and the way you see yourself, continuously shifts over time, molded and shaped by your life experiences. Once you're alive and breathing, this is an inevitable part of life.
This is one aspect of becoming comfortable with myself that I'm currently learning. I'm now in my 30s, and to be honest, accepting that my 20s are behind me was uncomfortable. I felt like my youth, spontaneity and adventure were behind me and I was now on a high-speed train heading toward aging skin, aches, pains and graying hair!
Basically, turning 30 was a very inevitable, but un-welcomed change. Sad but true. I longed for my 20s so bad!
Now however, I'm learning to adapt to the challenge of growing older by releasing my 20s and thanking it for all my wonderful memories. Plus, I'm finding new joys in my current body. For example, being grateful for still being alive, and discovering that at this age I feel the healthiest, most cared for, most self-aware and closest to my ideal version of myself than ever in life. This is a win for the 30s!
Take it from me, it makes no sense going to war with the inevitable. All you can do is change your mindset about the process of change, and think positive. Embrace the differences that you see, and either accept them or find a way to conceal them if they still make you feel insecure.
15. Simply Decide To Be Comfortable & Confident In Your Own Skin
This journey is not about looking a certain way, fitting into a certain size, or the weight on the scale.
Rather, it's about focusing on your own unique set of features, values, attributes, skills, talents and quirks that make you a special human being. It's about being able to look in the mirror, and immediately recognizing how strong, powerful and beautiful you already are. This is what you cherish.
You are your own person. You are already the best version of yourself because you are the ONLY version of yourself that exists on the planet. Own it!
You have to rock your body every single day for the rest of your life anyway, so you might as well decide to feel amazing in it.
Of course, there are times where you'll feel down. Don't worry about it. Instead of allowing your inner critic to take over again, pick yourself up by gently reminding yourself that you are the bees knees, and you do deserve to feel good about yourself all the time.
Know that the first step to feeling beautiful is really thinking that you are beautiful, just as you are. If other people agree, then wonderful, but in the end, it really makes no difference. Simply deciding to just love and accept everything about yourself is enough.
Over To You
Becoming confident and comfortable in your own skin has absolutely NOTHING to do with how you appear on the outside. Even the most attractive, trendy, stylish influencers and models may actually feel insecure and terrible about themselves. The truth is that confidence and comfort are an INSIDE job! It's a YOU job! And THAT is what radiates beautifully outward to other people.
You can fake your outer appearance; but you cannot fake your energy.
So, regardless of the insecurities and imperfections you face within yourself on the day you read this, know that you can have the freedom that you seek. All you need to do is shift your focus and re-frame your self-talk. Accept yourself in thought, feeling and imagination. Then, the rest will follow.
Are you on a journey to feeling more comfortable and confident in your own skin? How's it going?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shari Mitchell is a Personal Development, Wellness and Lifestyle Blogger (and certified Image Branding & Lifestyle Design Coach) who helps busy, ambitious, goal-oriented women accomplish their big hairy scary goals as quickly, enjoyably, productively and elegantly as possible…all without losing sight of or sacrificing the things and people that matter most (especially themselves). With her, women enjoy better life balance, STILL show up as world-class women living life on their own terms, get what they want out of life, and WIN. Click here to learn more…
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