Photography: Corinne Cumming
I was always told by those older than me that I would learn to not care what others thought.
“I don’t think so, that’s just how I am.” Is how i’d reply every time. I always thought everything would bother me, everything would upset me and i’d spend my whole life worried about what others thought of me. I always thought that, and I never thought i’d see out of it. I was so hung up on how people saw me, how people spoke to me and caring too much about people who didn’t care about me. Look, i’m not one to be like – they were right – but I mean, yeah. They were right. I’m such a different person now to who I was in my early 20s. I often joke about how i’d love to be 23 again, but really? I’d hate it. I was always full of self doubt, about both my skills and how I looked – and these days i’m much freer of those.
I was projecting myself on those around me.
I think part of the reason why I was always full of self doubt was because I was projecting on the people I was surrounded by, constantly worried I had to be a certain way to fit in. Adapting how I really was to fit the ideal of someone I felt I should be, rather than who I wanted to be. Always worried about what people thought of me and if I was suddenly about to lose it all, I lived crippled by so many hang ups about my body, my face, myself. I’m not going to lie and say I think i’m perfect now, but i’ve come to terms with who I am and become comfortable in my own skin, not a skin I was pulling over to make a front. I don’t think being comfortable in your own skin is about loving every little bit of yourself, but beginning the journey to acceptance about how you are built and who you are. It’s not about worrying about hang ups, those are always going to happen, but it’s adapting a more positive mindset to remind yourself of your individual brilliance.
It’s okay to make mistakes and accept weaknesses.
It’s not a flaw of character trait to recognise when you’ve made a mistake, or becoming at peace with your weaknesses. Weaknesses is probably a bad word in the long run, as it’s negative connotations, but what it means is that no human is without flaws. No human has zero weaknesses. It’s not poor or at fault of your own to accept that, and it’s by no means a definition of your life and character traits. I struggled for years – probably since I was about six – with debilitating crippling insomnia. The day I accepted it was a weakness and not by fault of my own, was the day recovery truly began. I’m not perfect now and I still struggle with tiredness/mornings, but my improvement in fighting the losing battle against insomnia is up 110%, if not more. I’ve changed. The moment I accepted it was part of me was the day that turned around and a day of true realisation about my mind and spirit. I’m not asking you to write a list of everything you’re not good at, but instead of beating yourself up over something you can’t change, adapt a new attitude, begin to work around it and you too will grow past it, or at least learn to live happier. My insomnia was so far out of control I cried most nights in bed until 8am when dawn would rise over another sleepless night. The whole time I covered a skin over myself with a happy face and pretended I was okay. It’s not shameful to do this, but it’s potentially harmful in the long run to keep covering it up. It’s even less shameful to admit your flaws and weaknesses. Go from someone who covered this up most of her life to date.
Maintain a positive mind and spirit.
It’s far too easy to be negative about everything. I mean, everything. That’s the easy route, and it’s not the route to happiness. By constantly picking apart every bit of yourself instead of focussing on the good, you’ll only feel worse in the long run. As soon I saw the positive in every situation, I got better. I hit the lowest point I possibly could at one point in my life when I lost my home, my boyfriend cheated on me, and then I lost my job. I had no house, no money, and no one. And I was far away from my parents. In the end I had to move back home, and the humiliation I felt as a young person having to tell everyone what had happened could have absolutely broken me coupled with anxiety and fear about the future. However, I chose to see the positive. I was still alive, still here, and I have a family who care enough to take me back in. Those are positives. From then onward I vowed to see the positive in everything instead of the negative, and it changes everything about how you see the world and yourself. Sure, there are parts about my body that I hate, but the positive is that they are me, my character and my soul. Be a positive force, radiate positive energy and pass it on to others – and you’ll get it back. You fully get back out of life what you give out, and if you always give out negative vibes and negative thoughts, you’ll get them back. Adapt your spirit and soul to being positive and it hugely changes how you view yourself, leading to in turn being more comfortable in your own skin. Ignore media that makes you sad, don’t dwell on that person you compare yourself to all the time – you’re you and they are them, you wont ever be the same. Accept that. Move on. Smile. Talk to strangers. Go on evening walks. Make a spontaneous gift for a friend. Turn up at someones door. Tell them you love them. Be happy and radiate happiness.
Lastly, care for your body.
As someone with an invisible illness (Endometriosis) I value my body more than ever before. I drink water, take vitamins, do exercise when I can. Anything you can do for yourself that will help will always make you feel better. I’m not remotely talking about fad or intense diets, you don’t need to diet. Just eat well, eat happy. Make food you love and enjoy the food that’s a treat. Care for yourself. Take baths and soak, moisturise your skin and care for the skin on your face. Not only will it glow from the outside but you’ll feel refreshed from the inside. I live such a wildly busy life especially during the Summer that my downtime days are all spent on what I call self-care days. Self love and self appreciation. Lying down, enjoying bubble baths and reading, watching movies. Doing things that care for my body both inside and out, including relaxing the mind and not spending all my time on social media. You are so beautiful and you definitely will feel comfortable in your own skin the more you love yourself. And you don’t even need to get older to realise it – promise.
Just a little chat about a bit of self love, let me know what you think in the the comments and leave your best tip for feeling comfortable in your own skin below.