I have spent far too much of my life thinking about how others perceive me. I have felt that there is a certain way I need to look, act, and simply exist in the world. It has taken time for me to sit down and ask myself “am I comfortable? Is this the way I was to exist?” I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin though it doesn’t come naturally, it takes a concerted effort to remind myself that how I feel matters.
If you haven’t checked in with yourself lately, take the time to see how you are physically feeling. You deserve to be comfortable in your own skin, though the world may have made you feel differently. The world may have shown you what it thinks you should look like or told you how it thinks you should present yourself. The world was wrong.
More important than looking a certain way is allowing our body to be comfortable as we move throughout life. We need to reclaim our bodies as they do so much for us and deserve so much better from us. We must stop twisting and warping them in uncomfortable ways trying to appear as though they have no fat, stretch marks, or anything else society has taught us to be ashamed of.
We spend a lot of time thinking how others view us and along the way have lost sight of the fact that we are allowed to be comfortable. We are allowed to exist in this word and put our comfort first. We scrutinize ourselves to try and find all the things that someone else might not like about us and do not spend enough time appreciating all the parts that make us up.
It is important that we focus on our own physical comfort and we stop contorting ourselves for others. The world can easily make us feel that we need to look a certain way, sit a certain way, or simply exist a certain way to appease others. But the world is wrong.
We end up spending too much of our time being uncomfortable for the sake of others, let us reclaim our time.
Unclench your jaw and relax your shoulders
We may not even realize how much stress we are carrying until we check in with our own body. Suddenly we realize it’s hard to concentrate because of the headache we’ve developed from clenching our jaw or the tension in our back because our shoulders are almost up to our ears.
When you realize you are tightening your body and it is making you uncomfortable, give yourself freedom to step away from whatever you are doing. It can be a literal stepping away by getting up and moving around or it can simply be moving on to a different task or another activity you enjoy doing.
Take this discomfort as a message from your body letting you know it needs attention. Your body needs you to focus on yourself and think about your own comfort.
We spend time working to give our body the nutrients and exercise it needs to stay healthy, but we need to start listening to our body when it tells us what else it needs. Our body may be trying to communicate with us but we are too busy and distracted to pay it any mind. We need to start choosing to listen to our own bodies.
Take up as much space as you need
If at any point in your life you have felt that you need to try and make yourself physically smaller to be more attractive or simply not inconvenience others by taking up much room, this is your permission to take up as much space as you need to feel comfortable.
Do not contort your body and sit in uncomfortable positions to try and look good. Do not worry when your body creates rolls or your thighs get wider when you sit down. There is nothing wrong with your body, this is what bodies do.
Parts of the internet will try to tell you differently, but to be blunt, fuck those parts of the internet that make you feel that there is something wrong with you. Consider it an easy test to determine if that corner of the internet fits into your life and adds value. If you feel worse, uninspired, or unworthy after visiting a page, Instagram account, or YouTube account, then it is not worthy of your time.
This is not an easy habit to break, but you can start by looking at who and what you follow on social media and determine if each one adds value to your life. Surround yourself with things that lift you up and let go of the things that drag you down.
Let your stomach breath
If you find yourself constantly sucking your stomach in to try and appear skinner, taller, or what you perceive others to find more attractive, know that you do not need to do that. You deserve to feel comfortable with your body as it is.
We can easily focus too much on how we are seen by others and not enough on what is happening right now. We lose out on a lot of life trying to live up to standards society has put on us.
Social media bombards us with pictures of people who have flat stomachs no matter what position they are sitting in, but that’s just not how bodies work. When your stomach makes rolls when you sit down, it is acting exactly as it is meant to, that is how fat and skin move.
Give yourself permission to let you stomach be however it wants to be, there is absolutely nothing wrong with how you look when you are comfortable.
Stand and sit however is best for your body
Sit and stand however you need to because your body is allowed to take up space and be comfortable. No matter how tall, short, narrow, or wide, you are allowed to exist fully in all the dimensions that you take up.
Do not hide your body by shrinking or putting yourself in positions that are not comfortable for you because you feel that is how you should exist. Others are not in your body, they do not know what makes your body comfortable, but you do. You know your body best, listen to it.
Once we fall into the trap of putting our comfort to the side to try and look a certain way, it can be hard to stop. It means we may continue to sacrifice our comfort to ensure we fit into what society has deemed acceptable.
When we allow ourselves to put our comfort first we gain freedom, the freedom to exist how our bodies are meant to exist and freedom from outside expectations.
Your breasts, your height, your stomach, the parts of you that stick out, the curve of your spine, the length of your legs, the symmetry or asymmetry of your body, the shape of your nose, the size of your ears, the shape of your smile, or what your teeth look like should not stop you from being comfortable and confident in the body you have. All of those parts make up the amazing person that is you. Let that person exists fully in the world.
Wear the clothes you want
Do not feel the need to hide parts of your body if you do not want to. Conversely, do not feel that you need to show more of your body than you want to. Your comfort is what is most important. Wear what you want because it is comfortable and makes you feel good.
We can get carried away worrying how others may perceive us in the clothes we wear, but be true to yourself and what makes you most comfortable.
Do not miss out on a day at the beach because you felt your body was not good enough for a swimsuit. Do not spend a whole night out feeling uncomfortable because you felt pressure to wear something more revealing that you wanted to.
Others may put us down or make us feel we need to dress a certain way. Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself and reduce the time you spend with others who make you feel bad about your choices.
Your body does not have imperfections, it has parts
There is no such thing as perfection. Thinking of those parts of your body that you don’t like as imperfect is completely inaccurate and harmful. There is no magical state of perfection that you or anyone else could achieve. Your body does not have imperfections, your body has parts. All those parts come together to make the amazing person that is you.
The more comfortable you can be the more confident you become to be who you truly are, to do the things you want to do, and to wear the clothes you want to wear.
Your body was not made to be contorted and held in uncomfortable shapes. Your body is meant to support you as you make your way along the journey that is life.
This is the body that carries you along forest trails and caresses sand between its toes on warm days at the beach.
This is the body that eats homemade fudge while sitting on your kitchen counter.
This is the body that lies down next to your partner as you quietly listen to their heartbeat.
This is the body that laughs until it cries while sitting around a firepit on the first cool night of autumn.
This is the body that lifts up your pet as you dance together around the house.
Your body was made to do all kinds of things. Your body does so much for you, let your body be comfortable.