Feeling good about the skin you're in; it sounds simple enough, but in my experience it takes some serious thought work to ignore all of the messaging we receive on a daily basis from the media, our peers, coworkers, family members, significant others and sometimes total strangers about the way we look. If all of those opinions are impacting your own opinion of the way you look, you're not alone. Here are some tactics that I've found helpful to help me feel better in my skin.
1. Stop trying to change it
Have you ever played that game with a friend, where you talk about the one thing you would change about yourself, if you could change any one thing? It's a ridiculous game, I know. Not least because it's unhealthy, but also because it's a total waste of time to wish for thicker hair or to be taller. You can spend time and money on home remedies or luxury beauty treatments and that may make you feel better momentarily, but a cheaper and more effective way to fix the problem is to stop trying. The amazing thing about accepting one part of yourself is that mental transition starts to affect the way you feel about other traits you were born with. That's why NaturallyCurly means so much to so many people. Accepting your curly hair is often step one to accepting your freckles, your nose, your boobs, or whatever your "one thing" is.
2. Don't pay attention to rules
The rules can be fed to us on TV shows about what not to wear, in magazines that declare who wore it best (have you ever noticed it's always the skinnier one?) and by well-intentioned family members telling us what does and doesn't look good on us. My best friend often tells me about a classmate she had in college who ignored all of the "fashion rules" and dressed exactly the way she wanted to, regardless of whether it "suited" her body type. Depending on the environment we grew up, this can feel like a radical act, but a freeing one. I make it a point to wear my hair, makeup, and clothes exactly the way I want to. When someone tells me they don't like it (which happens a lot, comments sections are a cruel place) that just makes me like it more. Like this shirt says, "I'm fine." It's a good reminder to myself, and to anyone else who happens to disagree.
3. Don't wear anything uncomfortable
While feeling better in your own skin is mostly a state of mind, I do believe there is a physical aspect to this as well. If you've ever forced yourself into a shirt that was too tight in the armpits, you know what I'm talking about - I hate that feeling! When a skirt is just a little bit shorter than what you feel comfortable in, your mind is constantly wondering "is this riding up?" and your hands are repeatedly reaching down to adjust it. Even when no one else thinks anything of the skirt, the fact that you're uncomfortable can be a mental distraction. I try to say goodbye to things when I notice I'm avoiding wearing them.
Whether or not you agree to Marie Kondo's "Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," I do think that holding on to clothing or shoes that make you physically uncomfortable means you will feel bad when you wear them, and you'll also feel bad when you look in your closet and see unworn clothes that you spent money on and never wear. It's a lose lose, so I prefer to donate them to someone who will feel good about them.
4. Wear one piece that makes you smile
This is a fun one. I try to wear pieces that make me smile! Like the pink rubber shoes I got this summer, or my sparkly glitter boots (yes, I have a thing for shoes as long as they're comfortable). Whether it's a gift from a loved one or something you picked up on a trip, there are memories attached to our things, and I like to bring up the positive memories whenever I can.
5. Practice gratitude
When all of these tactics above fail me, the thing that always does the trick for me is to practice gratitude. Sure, maybe I'm having another breakout of adult acne. I could get really down about the fact that I've been to more dermatologists than I can count, starting at the age of 9 and continuing now into my 30s. If I listen to the ads on TV I could get my hopes up and buy one more cream or serum to "fix" my face. Or I could shift my focus, and just be thankful that acne is purely cosmetic, and not a more serious health problem. The creams, pills, and peels have never worked for me, but this last tip does. And it's free.
I can only speak from my experience, so I would really love to hear how you have dealt with insecurity in your own way.
Have you found tricks that helped make you feel better in moments of negative self talk?
Let me know in the comments!