To become comfortable in your own skin, it takes several years and plenty of life lessons and experiences. It takes being knocked down enough times by enough people before you can finally say, enough is enough and choose to be happy.
And when we choose to be happy, despite our imperfections and what others think or say of us, we choose to be truly free! Free from the constraints of longing to fit in- free from the constraints of conformity!
To be comfortable in your own skin means loving and accepting all parts of you- the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
It means doing what fulfills you and makes you happy.
It means living life on your own terms.
It means refusing to apologize for who you are.
It means allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.
It means refusing to live up to standards and expectations other than your own.
It means making time for hobbies and interests.
It means making time for your family and closest friends.
It means not being afraid to say no or to set boundaries.
It means not being afraid to ask for what you want.
It means following your dreams.
It means working toward your goals.
It means celebrating your successes and accomplishments.
It means not being afraid to ask for help when you need it.
It means being selective of friends and who you spend time with.
It means accepting and embracing differences in people.
It means having empathy and compassion for others.
It means putting yourself and your health first.
It means being realistic with goals and patient with the time it takes to reach them.
It means being present in the moment.
It means knowing your limitations.
It means knowing what you want in life and going after it.
It means being clear on what you will and will not tolerate.
It means loving yourself enough to know when it’s time to walk away.
It means knowing that you’re worthy of respect, love, compassion, friendship, and peace.
No one enjoys the thought of getting older, I’m no exception. However, if we’re lucky to live long enough, it is an unavoidable reality we’ll all face eventually.
The reasons we fear the advancement of age is the loss of our youthful good looks, decline of physical strength and endurance and the rising possibility of illness and death…all very legitimate concerns.
I have often heard Judge Judy tell young litigants whom stood before her, “Beauty fades but dumb is forever”.
She is right. And I believe her definition of “dumb” is not level of intelligence per se, but the refusal to learn anything new and hold on to beliefs and values which may never benefit us. If we aren’t learning, we aren’t growing and being from a small town, I’ve met countless people my age whom haven’t learned much and continue to hold prejudices which should have long been done away with, while lamenting about and dreading getting older.
But getting older is certain. Why not be grateful for each day given you? As the old saying goes, “There’s no fool like an old fool.”.
Intelligence and the wisdom we’ve gained over the years always trumps beauty, strength, health, or anything physical because once we’ve lost all the physical blessings we once had, smarts is the only thing we’ll have left before we finally leave this world.
There are many positives to getting older. Here are my takeaways:
1. I feel very blessed to have lived this long. A lot of people never make it to be my age.
2. Being older has made me confident and comfy in my own skin, giving me the freedom to be myself without fear.
3. I have become choosy of the people I keep in my life, preferring family and a few of my closest friends. I prioritize the people I love, who love me and who mean the most.
4. I don’t waste time with people who are fake or who don’t have my back. I love myself enough to walk away from toxic people who would otherwise bring me down and I can do it free of guilt.
5. It’s much easier to say, “NO”.
6. I have gained a truckload of knowledge and wisdom!
I wouldn’t trade any of these benefits for all the beauty or money in the world, which is why I don’t toil over my age nor do I hide it because I consider it an asset and a testament to how far I’ve come.
Mary Kay Ashe once said, “A woman who tells her age will tell anything.”
But a woman who tells her weight? Now there’s a woman who will tell anything!
I’ve never been one to follow blindly. Never been one to conform without knowing what motives any authority figure had behind telling me to do so. I’m one to question everything. Always have been. And I’ve always done critical thinking and plenty of reading and research. That’s just me.
Through the years, this has gotten me into a lot of trouble. I’ve taken a lot of heat and lost many friends (or people I thought who were friends) for it. And it’s probably why I was bullied all those years in school.
But that’s okay. In fact, I embrace all of it!
I’d rather stand for something than fall for anything people feed me. I’m true to my beliefs and convictions and I’m not afraid of losing a few people over it. And I’m proud of that.
I’m not a follower.
No one ever said being a free-thinking person was easy and I don’t expect it to be.
And when people get pissed and withdraw friendship over my choice to question a narrative, I only see it as a weeding out of fake friends and people who aren’t meant to be in my circle.
To know who your real friends are, you must be your true authentic self, question status quos, trends, and popular narratives, then call BS when you see or hear it.
And I’m willing to accept it and everything that comes with it.
Today, we live in a world that consistently judges us. It seems that people feel they have carte blanche to point a finger at someone else and announce their flaws and weaknesses. Sadly, this seems to be the norm.
Everyone is trying to be (or look) better than the next person and lord it over them. You see it in the media, you see celebrities calling out other celebrities in the Twitterverse and you see every day people doing it on the street, in the supermarket, workplace and at school.
What bullies don’t realize is that in pointing a finger at someone else, they only reverse it back on themselves. Because they’ve got to be pretty darned insecure with their own life to feel the need to disparage another person.
Anytime you come at another person without provocation, it either shows that you’re trying to hide or distract attention from your own shortcomings by trying to redirect the negative attention to someone else. In short, it’s only proof of your own lack of self-acceptance.
Self-acceptance has always been a must-have but nowadays, it’s even more essential than ever before.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t be self-aware because we should. But too much self-awareness isn’t good because, when we’re hyper-aware, we focus too much on our weaknesses and not enough on our strengths. Sadly, this is what targets of bullying are conditioned to do after so long.
There are two extremes to everything but there’s also that happy middle that we should stay in.
We must work on changing the way we see ourselves and begin loving ourselves more because only then will we be able to love others.
If you can’t accept yourself, you won’t be able to accept others either. Being a bully doesn’t score any points and it doesn’t make you feel any better in the long run. It only makes you look like an insecure little coward.
As the old saying goes, “You do you and let me do me.”
Many targets of bullying get into the habit of comparing themselves to others. For example, a bullied kid sitting in the lunchroom at school may look a few tables over and see the very kids who bully him surrounded by friends, yucking it up and having a good time. They seem to be enjoying friendships while the bullied kid is left in the cold. And watching causes an ache in the poor kid’s chest. He thinks to himself:
“I wish I were like him, because if I were, I’d have friends too. I hate him because he’s a creep and doesn’t deserve to be so lucky! Why him? I deserve it more than he does? It’s not fair!
But when is life ever fair?
Here’s another example:
A coworker at a company sees another coworker who hasn’t put in as much time getting a promotion. He immediately gets angry and thinks that the only way the other guy must’ve gotten that promotion is by sucking up to the boss. He then begins to wish the other coworker all kinds of bad luck.
Comparing yourself to others is a real self-esteem killer. But sadly, people do it all the time. When you compare your life to someone else’s, it only breeds all kinds of toxic emotions, two of which are anger and jealousy.
Understand that you cannot judge a person’s outward appearance or the appearances they keep up and accurately judge what their life is like. Because people are notorious for showing only the best parts of their lives and keeping the less-than-desirable parts hidden.
Also realize that some people, bullies especially, making it a point to flash the positive aspects of their lives to those around them for the sole purpose of provoking envy. Because knowing that others are jealous of them is a huge boost to their egos, giving them a sense of power and that they’re better. Realize that the appearances these people keep up are only a show.
An example of this would be:
You see someone decked out in fancy clothes and drives a hot sports car. They have a six-bedroom house in the ritzy part of town. But! Although they look like they’re rolling in money, they’re more than likely only living beyond their means. Chances are that they’re in debt up to their eyeballs and feeling terrified inside because they know that if the slightest setback happens, they’ll lose it all!
Here are more examples:
You see a seemingly happy couple in a shopping mall and you’re still single. They look so happy and so in love, and they have friends around them. But you don’t know what goes on in their house. The husband might be abusing his wife behind closed doors (or vise versa) and they’re only putting on airs. They might be on the brink of divorce.
Portrait of happy teenage guy surrounded by pretty girls
You may look on social media and see pictures of one of your someone you know lying on the beach in the tropics. But what you don’t know is that they had to clean out their savings just to take that trip.
Here’s my point. Never judge anyone who seems a little luckier than you, because, in private, they could be fighting battles you know nothing about.
They may have a mother at home dying of cancer, a father who went off to war and never came back, or be buried in legal issues.
And many times, you feel so content with your life until you spot these people. All of a sudden, you’re feeling less than. This should be a good indicator as to how useless envy and self-comparison really is.
How you fight this is to take your attention off these people and count your blessings. Because although they may be luckier than you in one aspect, you are most likely better off than them in other ways. Think about it.
Understand that anytime you feel jealous of another person, it only means that deep inside, you have a deep-seated spirit of lack and failure and you want to take the other person’s good fortune away from them and keep it for yourself.
It’s a sign that you don’t feel that you can ever reach those goals yourself. Stop it! Because if they can, you can too.
Stop comparing yourself to others because it’s a waste of time and energy. It also drains you of confidence.
Know that you are enough and your life is enough. And you never know what the future holds. You too may someday buy your dream home, find a loving partner, or get the opportunity to go on a tropical getaway.
For now, be happy for those who are presently getting those opportunities. Instead of provoking jealousy in you, these people should inspire you and give you hope for the future.