Feeling comfortable in your skin
Few things have described the feeling of comfort, or discomfort better than the expression, "feeling comfortable inside your skin". I remember hearing it for the first time in my early teenage years when nothing could've explained better the insecurities and self-doubt that often accompanied my interactions with a new culture.
Finding comfort, takes effort, direction and purpose. There's nothing passive about it. Of course you wouldn't know this if you believed media's massive efforts and agendas in portraying confident, smiling groups of people effortlessly sharing an afternoon together.
The concept of feeling comfortable inside our own skin has deep connotations, I feel. It
is the largest organ in our body, although fascia, the connective tissue that encompasses our inner body, may be vying up for this title. It covers us, protects us and informs us of the world around us. It is our first defense and as such it is the first to feel the impact of a touch or a push. With time we become used to feelings of comfort and discomfort in our skin because daily life requires it. In this way, we begin to disconnect from our own sensory information and to ignore and distrust the messages it might bring.
Finding that comfort in our own skin requires practice. It begins with an awareness, a recognition of how much this skin has felt, has lived. You may consider spending some time just touching your skin, one hand over another would do, closing your eyes and allowing the senses to become your primary source of information. You may be surprised to find that memories arise as you begin this conversation with yourself. Just allow them to surface without the need to judge or value yourself through them. Continue to find ways to experience the sensations of your body, your skin, your presence, as this is the skin that holds you in place. I invite you to take this level of awareness into the world. Next time you are in new environments, and the tingling sensations of insecurities begin to rise, you may consider taking a deep breath and connecting with your body, your skin as a reminder that you are whole and perfectly wrapped inside of it.
Reconnecting with 'our skin' might have great benefits, not just in finding the protection, comfort and support we need when interacting in new environments, but also as a way to gain trust in our ability to listen and respond authentically to our own voice.