Q&A Tuesday: How to get comfortable in your own skin

I feel like no matter what I do, I’m measuring up. How can I feel more comfortable in my skin?
    —Lynn


Dear Lynn,
With so much instant access to juicy celebrity gossip, “inspirational” stories of jet-owning entrepreneurs, and pictures of drop-dead gorgeous models, it can be really hard to feel like you’ve got the right stuff.

But feeling comfortable in your own skin is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to living the good life. So what to do when that comparison monster is driving you crazy? Tame that sucker—fast! Here’s how:

1. Tune out the “noise”
Turn off House Hunters. Put down Us Weekly. And though I love Mad Men, you can shut it off, too. Turn off any media that results in you feeling bad about your wheels, your crib, your belly, your tail, or your skin. Madison Avenue has an agenda to make you see blemishes that aren’t even there so you’ll part with your money at the expense of loving yourself and others.

2. If you can’t quit comparing, learn how to compare down
Stop comparing yourself to your skinny rich friends who own vacation houses that have guest houses. Compare down (i.e., “it could be worse”), not up, if you want to be happy for the rest of your life.  

3. Flip the script
You already know that it’s not all Madison Avenue or your gorgeous friends’ fault that you’re feeling uncomfortable in your skin. These outside forces just stoke the fire of your own internal dialogue of self-hate (or at least “self-I’m not so great”). Ridding yourself of this is beyond the scope of my soap boxing, but I assure you the turn around is as simple as this: Get in the habit of telling stories that are fueled by self-acceptance and self-love. Then, work on surrounding yourself with others that roll in the same self-accepting and self-loving way.

Flipp’n the Script 101: The External Dialogue
You do subscribe to the “do well to feel good” model, right? If so, this makes it even easier to gather great content for the new stories that you’ll share with the world. If not, think about living your life in a way that you’d want to “brag on.” What I mean here is intentionally living in a way that makes you want to share the feel-good things that happen in your life: how you showed somebody some love, the time you were a real leaning post for someone, how you rescued an old lady’s cat out of a tree. Believe me: You can speak a cultural shift right into existence. (Caveat: self promotion can back fire, so you don’t want to use too many I’s when you testify.)

Flipp’n the Script 601 (grad school style): The Internal Dialogue
Go straight to the self-help section and pick out a book that teaches you to question, challenge, dispute, or observe the tired old script that’s in your head. A few of my favorites are: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life by Steven C. Hayes, PhD; Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns, MD; and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Trust me: You get good at this, and you will change your life forever.

Finally, remember that this isn’t a one-time, silver-bullet solution. 

And that’s okay. Because every time you revisit this discomfort-in-your-skin question, it gives you an opportunity to heal a rash, slough off some dead cells and get flipped into a whole new beautiful script of consciousness. 

Be peace, be love,
Jerome!
 

Laura