It was originally posted on www.egajones.com and I was terribly upset to see this is now a defunct website. So Ega Jones wherever you are- your words imprinted on my deeply and I thank-you for this amazing article you wrote with no idea the life-long effect it would have on a stranger. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with the world.
Once, a former colleague said that he saw me as someone who was deeply comfortable in her own skin. It was pretty much the best thing any one has ever said to me. I took it in with equal measures of delight and surprise: I’ve never felt very comfortable with myself, but it’s something I constantly strive for. It’s funny how other people see us.
His drive-by compliment made me realize that all you have to do to be comfortable in your own skin (and appear that way) is to decide that you’re going to be comfortable in your own skin. Like everything else, it’s about your mindset. Once you make the decision to be comfortable with who you are and bask in your truth, the rest falls into place.
I’m not sure if there is ever a moment where you arrive at total comfort with yourself. It’s an action, not a state of being; you have to do it.Every single day, you have do the work. It’s a huge struggle daily to be myself and not shrink into performing the person I think I should be. But the end goal is so worth it: Living your life as the exact person you are, with no string attached and no bullshit. What could be better?
- Say what you need to say, loudly and firmly. Don’t be afraid that your opinion will be unpopular, that you’ll give the wrong answer, or that your feelings won’t be respected. Say it anyway.
- Don’t waste time on regrets, embarrassment, or shame.
- Learn how to say no.
- Take up space. Don’t tiptoe. Don’t apologize for your presence. Walk tall, and own the amount of space you take up in a room.
- Wear clothes that fit, make you feel good, and don’t get in your way. Don’t wear things that make you fidget or suck in your stomach all day.
- Prioritize yourself. Be good to other people, but take care of yourself first. Do the things you need to do before doing things for other people.
- Don’t say “I’m sorry” unless you actually mean it. Stop apologizing for yourself. This one has been a struggle; I used to apologize for everything– bumping into someone on the subway, not hearing someone, coughing, laughing too loudly– everything. Get rid of this habit. Apologize only when you are truly sorry.
- Establish your personal style– the things that put a spring in your step– and stick with them, trends be damned! Already Pretty is an amazing resource for all things personal style.Only put things on your body that make your heart sing.
- Stop seeking approval from other people.Guidance for all of your choices should come from your inner truth. Your friends and family may advise and help you to uncover your path, but you ultimately answer to yourself. Don’t let other people have too much influence, and don’t do things merely to please someone else. That never ends well.
- Do the things that you love, even if they aren’t the coolest or most chic things to love. Love them loudly and proudly, and let the haters hate. (I love watching Barbra Streisand movies, and I don’t care who knows it!)
- Laugh loudly.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people.You are amazing- stop looking at other people’s lives for proof. Every time you find yourself being envious of or concerned with someone else’s life choices, remind yourself of all of the wonderful things you’ve done that make you the person you are now. Pretty impressive, huh?
- Make eye contact. Even with people who intimidate you or freak you out. Not only is it polite and kind, but it establishes you as a confident, strong, and steady person.
- Be kind to yourself. Every time you find yourself thinking something awful about yourself, replace that with “I believe I am a wonderful, worthy person.” Keep doing that until your negative thoughts dissipate. This is almost impossible to do, but you have to start somewhere!
- Stop slouching, for goodness’ sake!
- Feel comfortable in silence. Don’t nervously or mindlessly chatter. Become comfortable with gaps in conversation. Speak only when you really have something to say.
- Be generous and good to other people– but don’t give too much away to people who bring you down.
- Follow your intuition. Trust your inner voice to guide you. Meditating helps with this, as does writing. Another thing that helps is freaking the heck out for awhile and then, once you’ve calmed down, seeing what emerges. The voice that comes through is your intuition. Follow it.
- Ask for what you want.
- Be honest with yourself and your friends, family, lovers, and colleagues about your strengths and weaknesses. This is just to say: Be you. Don’t be afraid to say that you’re terrible at puzzles or that you love cleaning bathrooms. Be honest about your shortcomings and your talents. Allow people to know you and help you shine.
- Eat food that makes you feel good. Ditch the chemicals.
- Find a mentor who is insanely comfortable in his or her skin. I can’t go on enough about the importance of mentors. The relationships you build with these people will guide you and support you for ages. Here’s a secret: Almost every single person out there would be beyond honored to be your mentor. (I have some brilliant, life-changing mentors, but they reside in Delaware and Ohio. I’m actively seeking a NYC mentor– anyone want to play cupid?)
- Don’t bash yourself. If I have to hear one more gorgeous woman talk about how fat she is, I’m going to scream. The words we put out into the universe create our reality. If you speak badly about yourself, that will define your life. No one wants that! You are wonderful; tell it to the world.
- Become a sexual self-love superstar.