Right Then!

So, how does one get to the point of feeling comfortable in one's own skin??

Any ideas?

Any thoughts?

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My ideas thus far.

1) Fake it till it's true.
Unfrotunately, unlike the situation with confidence, this approach has its limitations. Telling yourself to feel comfortable is just like yelling 'RELAX' at someone.
TheTardyDodo TheTardyDodo
31-35, M
12 Responses Aug 21, 2007

Damn. Deep thoughts up in here. I don't know about all that early life stuff. I didn't have a nice, supportive childhood, no, lots of experiences the undermined and destroyed my confidence. I got it back by doing some of the hardest things I've ever done. If I feel uncomfortable, all I have to do is look back on my accomplishments ( Some so small as simply saying " No" when I thought it would cause a problem) and realize I'm most likely a bigger person for what I have been through and done than anyone else there. And, by the way, I like Tao better, though I'm not religious.

1) Make peace with the inevidability of death.<br />
2) learn to speak with actions as well as words.<br />
3) See the good in everything and everyone.<br />
4) God, I wish I could do these things!

Another approach to being comfortable in your own skin:<br />
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I've learned that we all tend to carry around conflicting beliefs inside. They probably make us more adaptable. We just flip unawares from one belief to the other depending on the the demands at the moment. Somehow these beliefs tend to co-exist without crossing paths, almost like magnets repelling.<br />
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Not a bad coping mechanism till we find ourselves in a setting that bring the conflicting beliefs front and center into focus in our awareness. <br />
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Example 1: Brian is a family man. He is more deeply moved by the vulnerability and responsibility he experiences with his kids than anything else he's ever felt. He would do anything for his them. Brian is also a party guy with a self-destructive streak, the life of the party at his twice a month drinkathon at the bar. It isn't till he lays his bike down on a sharp curve going too fast coming home drunk one night and shatters his leg that he begins to realize he's been gambling with not only his life but the happiness and security of his kids. He is shook up by the accident, but he's more shook up that he had these conflicting ideas running in his head, affecting his choices, and he never even knew it.<br />
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Example 2: Rita has known since she was young that she will be a artist. There's a connection there, an immediacy, a need. She also has a kneejerk desire to please her parents, to make them proud, to never disappoint them.<br />
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She finds herself throughout her twenties stuck between two irreconcilable beliefs. To keep her folks happy, she takes corporate jobs but makes sure there are minimal responsibilities. This will free up her time to paint, but it also insures that she can't really progress much at work past entry level jobs. Her parents always want to know how work is going.<br />
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And yet she misses opportunities to paint, to network, to hit the galleries because of her obligations at work. She finds her enthusiasm ebbing away as she feels less like a real painter and more like a poser every day. She's also disheartened at work to watch others moving up he ladder. It doesn't dawn on her that her unexamined desire to maintain her parents' approval leaves her seeing far fewer choices than she actually has when it comes to acting on her belief in her art and her desire to succeed.<br />
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What's this got do with being comfortable in your skin? Chances are in any context where you're uncomfortable, you've got conflicting beliefs running and that scenario sets you up to be less than your best because so much of your energy is being siphoned off inside, trying to resolve the conflict.

You all have some very good thoughts on this topic, and I don't know that I can add much of substance but I feel pretty comfortable in my own skin.<br />
It wasn't always that way, but I've never been really uncomfortable either. My father was not the type to boost one's self confidence so I wouldn't credit my parents.<br />
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Part of it is I know I am a good person who would never knowingly do anyone harm and I always try to do my best at anything I undertake. That being said, I really don't care what others think of me or my actions.<br />
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Like FutureRoadrunner said, it is always easiest when with people who know you well and care about you in spite of that.<br />
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I tell my sons, do what you know to be right, do nothing that will harm others and don't concern yourself with what other people think about it.<br />
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There is a saying in Alcoholics Anonymous, "Fake it until you make it", so maybe there is something to that approach as well.

I think too there is another very interesting option you could apply to change your feeling of ease in social situations. <br />
You seem to be adept at mental gymnastics . This might be a little bit of a leap and flip and roll at the same time, but you are probably capable of just being a 'new' or different person the next occasion you are in a social situation. Why continue to be the same person who defines oneself as lacking "surface comfort"? You do not have to be that person. I know this may sound similar to what you described as:<br />
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"Telling yourself to feel comfortable is just like yelling 'RELAX' at someone. "<br />
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but, it is not really. You are choosing to define yourself as not comfortable. What if you change the definition and truly believe it? That is the key, that you believe.<br />
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Without being too self-referential, I wrote more about it in the wacky group "I Died". Rather than rephrase the the whole thing, the pertinent point to this discussion is:<br />
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"Moment by moment by moment, the person that was, DIES. In each moment, someone else, slightly different is born again. This happens over and over, 86,400 times in each day.<br />
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Many people fail to realize this. They hold on to the difficulties and pains of all their accumulated moments. They drag them along, hoping somehow that carrying all of them will somehow provide an answer somewhere down the line. Instead, the weight exhausts them.<br />
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They do not realize that they COULD put down the accumulations of the past, leave them there, and walk away. This is NOT EASY, but it is possible. <br />
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Each moment you die. The next moment you are reborn. I died just now.<br />
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Hello new me.<br />
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"Oops I did it again!"<br />
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Hello new me.<br />
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I died. <br />
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How about you?"<br />
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Hello new Tardy Dodo.

I do agree, an understanding of the nature of our essential existence is very crucial to this. It is hard to be comfortable within oneself (and with-out-of-oneself, which is perhaps what it really means to be comfortable within ones skin, as paradoxical as that might sound) unless one has an acceptance of death. <br />
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I think it also takes something more than just that, though. I am rarely far from deep inner peace unless I chose to be, but this does not translate to more superficial, surface (ie integrated) comfort.

Seriously, I am not even kidding when I say:<br />
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Read : "How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.<br />
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What you seem to be describing sounds like some social anxiety. Every one hs some in certain situations, some more than others.<br />
There are simple subtle norms that people respond positively too. If you are not at ease, having some of this background knowledge can give you tools to put others at ease and make them feel positive towards you. <br />
Rather than just yell 'relax' at yourself, you can cultivate tools to make the situations easier for yourself.

That's some very good insight.<br />
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(Much wisdom you have accumulated in your short years ;)) <br />
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Little is ever achieved by straining too hard for it, especially something that is about *not* striving. <br />
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I think self-love is very crucial part of whatever this mysterious comfortableness in oneself might be.<br />
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But, perhaps as you suggest, the best thing to do is just jump/step/hop/skip into it!

Maybe part of it is simply having the ability to let go. People who truly dont care what others think seem to be very comfortable in their own skin. I feel that I am most comfortable when I am with someone who knows me well. The reason for that is obvious. They see every part of me and love me for all those parts not just the couple that are showing at the moment. So maybe it also has to do with knowing that you are who you are, a unique individual. Many different situations and happenings brought you to where you are today but no matter what it is there are people who see that understand that and love you for it. Those facts help me love myself, a little bit at least. So being comfortable with yourself can happen in many different ways and i think even people who are comfortable slip occasionally. It doesnt have to be some giant mystery. Just go for it and it can happen. :)

Excellent points!<br />
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To be certain, the presence of *any* negative emotion is our self's way of prompting the need for a change of our state, or our perceptions of state. I think, though, that there is still value in asking the question about being comfortable in own one's skin. The phrase is superficial and crude in some ways, I know, but the essence of the question is key - it is an interesting unification of dimensions social, emotional, mental and physical.<br />
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I only have a very, very limited understanding of Zen, but it has always struck me as the purest of several similiar paths.<br />
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One thing that I have noticed in my own (very, very limited) investigation of "eastern philosophy" and the martial internal arts are that they are very good at bringing a deep centredness and understanding when one has the correct space.<br />
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It has always seemed to me, though, that this involves a location of perspective in a mindset of serenity.<br />
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I wonder if this route leads to an unification of self with the more active fr<x>ames of mind? Passion? Vitality? Ecstasy?<br />
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And how about the immersion in the social? Serenity is necessarily an isolating form, to my understanding?<br />
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Is such a unification of self even possible?<br />
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eta: No, it's not some type of informal poll. :) <br />
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I certainly have a fundamental belief structure that I am comfortable with, but it does not provide sufficient solidity or reliability for me to walk into social situations, or challenging situations, or unfamiliar or alien settings and be comfortable within myself and my ability to engage outwards. (This, I think is different from "confidence", although subtly so). It's that sort of 'comfort with the existence of myself regardless of the externalities, but in an outwardly engaging way, rather than a 'mind and heart at peace' way that I'm looking for.

By the way. Is this just some type of informal poll?<br />
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You already seem to be comfortable in your thoughts and ideas if your postings on EP are any indication.

There is no faking it, because it is internal.<br />
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It is good if it does not feel comfortable. That discomfort drives one to ask big questions. Suffering requires an answer--or a surrender, whichever you prefer.<br />
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So, how DO you become comfortable in your skin?<br />
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To my thinking, some peopel are very lucky and have parents who raise them feeling comfortable and happy with themselves. If it is not something that you were lucky enough to have ingrained by your parents, you must then work to understand your mind.<br />
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There are a multitude of practice and life-paths that help understand the mind, I prefer Zen, but that is just my preference. <br />
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Mindfulness and meditation of any sort generally help quite a bit.<br />
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It is a very worthwhile quest.