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How to Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

From the time I was a little girl, people told me I was pretty, but I never believed them.  Instead, I scrutinized myself in the mirror searching for ways to look better, not realizing that what I was really looking for was a way to be me and feel good about myself.

As I focused even more on my looks throughout my twenties, I became increasingly self-conscious and dependent on how others perceived me.  If someone complimented me and gave me attention, I would feel confident, but if I went unflattered or unnoticed, I would return to the mirror in an effort to figure out why.

I had often heard the expression “what you are inside shows on your face.” However, I didn’t know what these words truly meant until one day at the age of 35.

That day, I took another long look in the mirror, and suddenly something clicked: My looks were not the problem—they never were.

Somehow I understood that what I didn’t like about my face had nothing to do with my physical features. It was something else; something within myself that was reflecting out and causing me to feel unattractive, ill at ease, and unconfident.

At that moment, I knew there were two things I needed to do. The first was to stop staring in the mirror. The second was to look at what was going on inside.

Soon, a friend recommended meditation, so I gave that a try. I sat, breathed, quieted my thoughts, and shared my feelings in a nine-hour course, which I soon followed with a two-day silent meditation retreat.

It’s possible that a silent retreat may not be for everyone, but, for me, it was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. The two days forced me to meditate, reflect, and “be” with myself in an environment that did not permit social interaction, not even eye contact.

There were also no distractions, such as telephone, TV, books, or computers.

Was the experience disagreeable? Initially, yes. Was it painful? Sometimes, but it allowed me to bring forth a lot of valuable self-information and one remarkable realization: I became conscious of how unnatural I felt.

In the time I was there, I recognized that I was not uncomfortable in that setting because I didn’t know how to be with myself. I was uncomfortable because I didn’t know how to be myself.

This was also why I often felt unattractive and ill at ease with others.

I was frequently projecting someone who didn’t feel “like me,” and that projection habitually depended on who I was interacting with.

It was this realization that launched my journey to authenticity and the discovery of a beautiful me.

Slowly, I started to learn about myself and the things that make me happy, and I found that I had a rhythm. I could hardly believe it, but I actually had my own beautiful flow, and as soon as I began to follow it, my authenticity started to build on itself.

I gradually began to feel less self-conscious around others and much more comfortable with myself.

For the first time in my life I started to feel well and beautiful—and it showed. I saw it in the mirror. My husband noticed it in my body language. He said I carried myself differently, like I had more confidence and ease.

Of course, many practices assisted me in my journey, but the ones that helped the most are the ones that keep me grounded in myself today.

If you’re also looking to feel more at ease with yourself, I recommend:

Honor your body

I can never say enough about how important it is to celebrate my body. Every day, I thank it for all that it does, and honor its needs through 30-40 minute runs, long showers, flossing my teeth, and drinking lots of water.

Make a list of the things you need to do to take care of yourself so you feel healthy and grounded, and then schedule them into your day. It’s easier to feel good about who you are when you make your needs priorities.

Maintain a healthy, positive mind

Along with running, creative writing has contributed greatly to my journey. It keeps my mind filled with positive thoughts, and so much of who I am comes out in the characters I write about.

I also love to read, learn new things, and travel to different places, even if just new areas or neighborhoods near my home.

What practices make you feel passionate and positive about the way you’re living your life? Doing what you love is an important step in loving who you are.

Maintain a happy, healthy spirit

Without inner peace, authenticity is fleeting. Consequently, I meditate daily and do my best to live where peace is found—in the present moment. I also make a point of watching a couple of funny movies every week.

Nothing helps my spirit soar as much as laughter. It helps me see the world through younger eyes and reminds me that, no matter what, every moment contains hope and possibilities.

Take time out to nurture your spirit, whether that means practicing yoga, walking on the beach, or simply relaxing. In order to be comfortable with yourself, you first need to be comfortable just being.

And always keep in mind…

Finding your authenticity—finding yourself—will help you feel your beauty. When you endeavor to be who you are and be true to yourself, you will automatically feel attractive and unique.

Also, it is important to remind yourself that beauty is never dependent upon the approval of others. Quite the contrary, beauty is very much self-defined and self-created. The only person who can ever truthfully tell you “you are beautiful” is also the only person who can “make you beautiful.”

You are the only person who can do this.

The power to be beautiful lies not in the eyes of others.  It comes from deep within you.

Photo by Hannah Nicole [Aspire]

Avatar of Mary Dunlop

About Mary Dunlop

Mary Dunlop is a passionate student of life with a keen desire to learn, share, and grow. She believes everyone has a special gift. Hers is writing. Her first novella, The Beauty of Twin Soul Love is currently being published.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • http://twitter.com/justsalas Justine Salas

    This makes so much sense!  I feel uncomfortable a lot in life, and when I think about it, it’s true: I don’t know how to be myself.  I don’t know who I am.  I don’t let that worry me too much though, since right now I’m trying to figure all that out.  I guess I just have to be patient with myself.  Good post, I enjoyed reading it.  :)

  • Meghan

    Thanks for this post. Self-acceptance (both physically and mentally) is something I struggle with on a daily basis. I admire you for going on the meditation retreat, hopefully I will be able to do something like that someday.

  • Carolinechapman

    I can really relate to this…thanks for posting and sharing your wisdom!

  • Inspired

    Very inspirational post. Thank you so much for sharing your strategies. It’s all about that first step.

  • http://losing-civ.blogspot.com Sarai

    I’ve definitely shared this post! I had the opposite experience – when I was little, people used to tell my little sister she was pretty and tell me that I was smart. It worked into my psyche early on that I was never going to be considered pretty. It was only after realising that even the most beautiful women still beat themselves up in front of the mirror that I realised that it’s a choice – you’re as beautiful as you think you are, nobody else’s opinion matters. I chose to be beautiful everyday – and I say it out loud to myself in the mirror. Thanks for sharing!!

  • http://www.alwayschallengeunhappiness.blogspot.com Lovesingin

    Loved this.   My favorite part…”Slowly, I started to learn about myself and the things that make me happy, and I found that I had a rhythm. I could hardly believe it, but I actually had my own beautiful flow, and as soon as I began to follow it, my authenticity started to build on itself.”   Oh, that flow.  I long for it.  I can feel it creeping in every now and then. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahneanbruceDOTcom Sarah Nean Bruce

    everyday i am becoming beauty & discovering beyond. 
    i always knew my beauty was dependent upon the approval of me, 
    but i couldn’t quite get there for years. 
    a few years ago i started to take care of me 
    solely for the sake of «me» & Voilà!
    Merci for the lovely article Mary.

  • Anonymous

    “Freedom lies in understanding yourself moment to moment” ~ Bruce Lee

    And I would add that self-acceptance is just as important.

    Andrew Menaker, PhD

  • Mary Dunlop

    That was the way for me too Justine.  And, yes, self-patience and self-compassion helped big time! :)

  • Mary Dunlop

    Day by day Meghan.  Eventually, you will if you want to.  Like I mentioned in my comment to Justine, self-patience and self-compassion make a big difference ! :)

  • Mary Dunlop

    Thank you Caroline! :)

  • Mary Dunlop

    Absolutely!  Thank you Inspired :)

  • Mary Dunlop

    It’s a realization!  That’s for sure!  Thank you Sarai :)

  • Mary Dunlop

    That’s how it started for me :) …slowly.  What a wonderful feeling it is!  Thank you Lovesingin :)

  • Mary Dunlop

    Thank you Sarah!  Now that’s beautiful! :)

  • Mary Dunlop

    Thank you Dr. Menaker :) I totally agree!

  • http://www.OneMansWonder.com Jeffrey Willius

    Thanks for this great post, Mary! It’s so pertinent to both women and men. I would just add a couple of additional practices to maintain one’s mental and spiritual balance: volunteer to help others and get outside and experience Nature. Self-awareness, barring the erroneous messages you note, has its limits. Sometimes you just have to get OUT of yourself. Have a wonder-full day!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Jeffrey, I agree.  When I run, I try to run outdoors as often as possible. I love to feel the wind against my skin.  Also, something I noticed throughout my journey is that the better I felt in my skin the more I found myself running towards me rather than away from me. :)

  • Karen

    I’m still working on this, but my Aha moment was when I was looking in the mirror and realised that it wasn’t that I didn’t like what Isaw, rather it was that I didn’t like who I saw! It’s not an easy journey from this position, but at least I no longer recoil when I see my reflection!  Thank you for this post xxx

  • Anonymous

    Karen, I so understand.  It is certainly not easy and it can often be unpleasant, but for you it sounds like it’s already getting a little better and that’s fantastic! :) xxx

  • Megan

    Thank you so much for this. I’m 15 and as a teenager you always see bad things about yourself but if we learn to do this at a young age hopefully everyone can grow to love themselves (or at any age not just young). Thank you :)

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely Megan!  My dear, you are most wise!  Bravo! :)

  • Moonbear602

    I loved that someone has been through the same issues as I – and learned from them as I have. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long – here in the autumn of my life – But I’m here and finally able to say, “I love me.” I am confident and happy now in a way that I never was before. The journey into self-realization and authentication of ME was a long, but fruitful one. Thank you for such a wonderful article!

  • Anonymous

    Moonbear, you took the words right out of my heart :)  I thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Moonbear, you have taken the words right out of my heart :) I thank you!

  • http://www.OneMansWonder.com Jeffrey Willius

     Thanks, Mary — how nice of you to respond! I love your image of running, and in which direction!

  • http://www.wiseatwork.net Susie Amundson

    Mary.
    I so enjoyed your lovely writing as you explained how you came into your beautiful self. It’s just the reminder that I needed as I’m only a year out from a mastectomy and I’m noticing that I need to whisper encouragement to myself about being attractive, from time to time. I’m going to spend a little more time honoring my body each day.
    Thanks so much.

  • Anonymous

    This works well for me. It’s amazing how well our bodies respond when we show them that we love them. Thank you Susie! Sending you my very best wishes for your surgery and a speedy recovery!

  • Sheerin Manack

    Thank you for shareing this wisdom,it’s awesome.Im thank full to my Higherself that Im now free of old pattens.I had the same experience as you.I now love myself just the way I am.I send you love and wish you joy.So be it.

  • ava

    Thank you. I’ve never read anything that so exactly described my experience of struggling with my looks and authenticity. I, too, always looked in the mirror for everything and my day was made or ruined depending on how I looked that day. When I was in my early 20s I put self compassion into action, took care of my body and spirit, and became my true self, and every day was just amazing. Unfortunately I lost all that and wasted years due to drug addiction… now I’m over 4 years sober, getting off methadone, and still am struggling to begin to find my way back. I dread someone thinking I’m unattractive, and I cling obsessively to male attention to my looks. Everyone always tells me I’m attractive, but its hard to believe them because I don’t feel healthy inside. I remember how I got to that blissful place of compassion and acceptance for myself and all living things, but I’ve felt powerless to travel that path of transformation again. I feel so lucky to have felt self acceptance at a young age. Now I’m 31 and hope I can find the strength to get back there. Thank you so very much for your insightful article.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll get there Ava, I just know you will because you remember how.  Concentrate on that memory, visualize it, write about it – how it felt, and draw strength from it.  Sending you lots of love and my very best wishes!

  • Anonymous

    Amen Sheerin!  I send you lots of love too and joy.  Wishing you all the best always! 

  • http://ponder-the-pre.posterous.com Kate Britt

    My mother died 17 years ago. In recent years, she has reappeared — in my mirror! It’s disturbing at first, realizing you’re now nearly as old as your old mother and are truly looking more and more like her. Yikes. Like many older women feel (or so I’m finding out), what’s inside is ME, and I mean a not-old me, somebody who still thinks and feels like I’m much younger than the calendar says. My inside (mind, soul, spirit, beingness) don’t match the outsides and certainly not the mirror.

    I also figured out that if I get a new mirror, I’ll still see in it what I see now, LOL. Where’s the magic mirror when we need it!

    So I’m gradually learning to adjust and to love the older-looking me. Happily, my mind and my spirit are in good shape re: the things you wrote above about them. So I’ll keep working on honoring my body, on letting my inner laughter show, on body carriage and other body language, and especially on accepting the aspects of my external-me that were handed down to me by my mother.

    Thanks for some great tips, Mary Dunlop!

  • Anonymous

    A good photographer will say that the true secret to showing a person’s beauty is to see more than what’s skin deep.  It is our spark, our essence which makes us beautiful and I think that, when this spark starts shining through, the mirror along with everything else turns magical. Thank you for your beautiful spark Kate!  Wishing you and all a wonderful weekend! :)

  • Anonymous

    This is awesome!!  Such a hard life lesson, but one worth learning

  • http://FourLeafCloverBlog.com Eva @ Four Leaf Clover

    Speaking of beauty… this was a beautiful post. I’m so glad I found TinyBuddha.. it’s already improved my life in the few short weeks since I’ve started reading the wonderful articles on here. I don’t know why we ever started to think such negative thoughts about ourselves, but I’m working on it and hopefully I’ll be there soon! Also, can’t wait to find a quiet place to start meditating. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about meditation and know it’ll benefit my life immensely. Thank you for thist article, Mary!

  • Anonymous

    It was the most worthwhile lesson of my life Betty!  Thank you!  I’m glad you liked the post :)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Eva!  You can also try meditating by walking outside (if it’s not too busy or noisy).  Allow your thoughts to come and go and try to be conscious of each step while remaining focused on your breathing and surroundings.  This is such a wonderful way to start the morning, greet the evening or afternoon, or take a break during the day. :)

  • Gsalemi1954

    When you make beauty (in your mind) you make ugly. When you make “you” you make a wall separating you from everyone else. You have held this thought of beauty for many years. It will not be so easy to put aside. Try to see the universe as yourself. Cast away good and bad, ugly and beautiful. “Waves come and they go. There are big ones and small ones. They are born and die in the ocean of water. Enlightenment for a wave is the day it realizes it is water.” Thich Nhat Hanh. The sun shines on the beautiful and the ugly…and so does your bright smile.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Gsalemi.  Namaste.

  • http://FourLeafCloverBlog.com Eva @ Four Leaf Clover

    I definitely live in a quiet place so I’ll have to try this. Any tips for quieting the mind? I just can’t seem to do it.. too much always going on up there! Thanks for replying, Mary! : )

  • Anonymous

    I do, Eva, because I have trouble with this too, so what helps me calm my mind and body prior to meditating (making meditation easier for me) is running.  Now, brisk walking (aerobic walking) is just as effective and fifteen minutes of it is plenty before gradually slowing down and easing into that meditative walk. Let me know how it goes : )

  • http://FourLeafCloverBlog.com Eva @ Four Leaf Clover

    Thank you for the tip! I’ve started a little series on my blog about meditation where I’m “documenting” all of my findings and what works for me so I’ll definitely have to try this out & include it!

  • http://alwayswell.wordpress.com Sandra / Always Well Within

    You’re very courageous, Mary!  The only way to truly find our beauty is to look within.  That’s not always easy as you describe in your first experience of a meditation retreat.  How admirable you persisted and came into alignment with your true self.

  • Dana

    A beautiful post, i really enjoyed reading it.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great post, and one that I think most women can relate to. I experience this professionally every day – I’m a personal trainer – and see how easy it is for us to constantly criticize ourselves and our body’s.

    I see that my clients try to honor their body through exercising, but like you said Mary, we need to have positive thoughts in order for all of it to manifest.

    Bravo on the post, and cheers!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Sandra.  It’s true that it wasn’t easy, but it was so worthwhile.  Life is a gift to be treasured and lived with joy and I had a hard time doing this before coming into that alignment.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Dana :)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Sirena :) Indeed, positive thinking makes dreams come true.

  • http://www.wiseatwork.net Susie @ WiseAtWork

    Mary.

    What a lovely reminder for each of us to keep moving in a little closer and closer to our authentic self. This genuine connection provides so much grounding in body, mind, and heart and therein, the beauty lies. For me, it can be meditation but usually I just need to find that stillpoint — on a walk, in a yoga mat, with a friend.

    Thanks for a great post.

  • Anonymous

    You’re very welcome Susie. :) 

  • Link

    this may have changed my life. thank you :)

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  • Anonymous

    Link, you’ve made my day. Thank you! :-)

  • Sean

    I have been looking for a long time to see if someone else had the same problem. Reading this blog was just amazing. It was like reading my own thoughts through someone else. I have had the exact same problem. Always been told I am good looking but when I  went through periods when I was not complimented I would feel there was something wrong and my confidence levels would go through the floor. I keep looking in the mirror for faults. I keep saying to myself I am not good looking. I would just like to thank you for giving me perspective. I have always felt I really don’t know who I am and until now had no idea how to go about learning about myself. So thanks for the giving me some direction.
    Cheers,
    Sean

  • Anonymous

    You’re very welcome Sean!  Getting to know myself has been the greatest gift ever. My very best wishes to you. Cheers to self-discovery!

  • Anonymous

    This is full of crap. I’ve been to a lot of therapists trying to fix what’s wrong with me and they don’t help. Nobody likes me because I’m naturally sensitive and uptight. And people avoid me. I hate being how I am, but no one helps me change, instead they want me to accept myself, that nobody likes and avoids.

  • Anonymous

    @ Anonymous – The first question to ask yourself “is why do you hate being how you are”?  Is it because you’re sensitive, or because you’re uptight, or does it have to do with the thoughts and actions of others?  Think about that, write about it.  See where this leads you.  Remember, by taking what others think and do personally, you are allowing them to have power over you and it doesn’t matter who you are, that’s never going to feel good.  Most of the time, what others think is not very important.  What is important is how you think of yourself.  Your thoughts help create your reality.  I’m sorry that you are not thinking good thoughts about yourself right now, but try to figure out why.  You deserve to be happy.  And you never know, getting there might not be all that complicated.  Perhaps you will discover that all you need to do is learn how to relax, have more fun, and not get too upset by little things that go wrong when you’re around people.  
    “Today is life – the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.” – Dale Carnegie… You owe this to yourself.

  • Guest

    Mary, I can’t thank you enough for this post. There could not have been a better time for me to see this post. Everything you said in the first half of your post I found myself agreeing with. I’m a college student, about to graduate and head into “the real world.” In the past 2 years I’ve noticed myself standing in front of the mirror, hours on end, picking apart every flaw. There have been times where I didn’t go to class, or work, or an extra credit opportunity because I couldn’t bare the thought of having other people see me, when I couldn’t stand to look at myself. It is all about how you portray yourself though. I know if I actually ‘liked’ myself I would be ‘beautiful.’ How do you start the positive thinking? I’m afraid I’ve been a negative thinker towards myself for so many years, I wish I could snap my fingers and start thinking positively, but I’m not sure that can happen. Any tips on how to ease into positive thinking? And to eventually have it come second nature?

    Again, I can’t thank you enough. Your post has opened my eyes. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • guest

    Thanks for such a wonderful read. What good vibes flow from it and it’s exactly what I needed to be reminded of: the basics. I am recovering from near death experience plus invasive brain surgery and in the process of rediscovering myself while battling many demons. Thanks for reminding me where they are.

  • Mary Dunlop

    I’m so sorry to be replying so late…I’ve only just seen your comment.  True, it’s not exactly a snap of the fingers process, but what’s helped me the most is meditation (including Chakra balancing meditation), writing (I’ll soon be publishing a book…I can hardly believe it) and exercise (I’m a regular jogger).  All of this has really helped to keep me feeling very positive towards myself, and as a result, very positive towards others too.  My very best wishes to you.  Many thanks to you!  

  • Mary Dunlop

    Thank you! I hope you’re doing well and I send you my heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery and wonderful self-discovery!  Keep me posted… If you are a Facebook user, please feel free to friend me at:  
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656335967

  • Mary Dunlop

    If anyone wishes to connect with me on Facebook, please feel free:  
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656335967  

    My very best wishes to ALL!

  • kimmiejay

    Thankyou, you have quite literally inspired me to change the way I live my life.  I struggle with the exact same issues you spoke of. (I am also struggling with the leftover struggles of disordered eating which I feel pretty much stem from the same place) . Lent just started about a week ago, and this year I decided to give up makeup.  My reasons had to do with wanting to stop agonizing over my looks and to trying to accept myself as I am.  For the first few days of doing this, nothing changed- it was just me going around with no makeup more vulnerable and insecure than ever.  What your article made me realize is that it’s not the makeup (wether I wear it or not) or the approval of my appearance from others that makes me beautiful.  Instead it’s my choice to be beautiful, it really is all on me!  All these years searching for acceptance, and I didn’t realize that the only person I had to convince to accept me was myself!  A very hard thing to realize, but once you do and accept it, it’s such a relief knowing that you no longer have to engage in the daunting task of getting the whole world to like and accept you.  I feel like I have this sudden power over my own self worth and self confidence- it’s wonderful! I have started to look in the mirror and simply say; yes- I accept!
    Thankyou so much for sharing your experience 

  • Mary Dunlop

    Kimmiejay, that’s fantastic!  Always remember that your self perception has the greatest influence over you, more so than any other.  That’s how powerful you are!   My very best wishes to you, Happy Easter!

  • Shanellebelle

    Thank you for this posting! Having had a bad marriage and a nasty childhood… I can say that I am truthfully on the way to a more intense self discovery. I am always concerned with trying to please others that I always forget about me and what makes me happy. Now I am in college and on my own, I am responsible for myself financially, socially and academically. After reading your post. I feel like I am now on the way to becoming more on my own and focusing on myself. I feel like when I put my focus on other people, I give into what they want from me (like being a housewife…etc)  Those words of wisdom and just even you coming forth to write how you got to find comfort with yourself is a blessing to all of us! I

  • Madison

    This was immensely inspiring, I have these same problems, and I have been wanting to change them for so long. I’m 16 and I truely do not want to spend my life feeling unconfindent, and uncomfortable. Thank you for this lovely blog post, you are an amazing and inspiring women.

  • MaryDunlop

    Madison, absolutely!  Feeling unconfident, uncomfortable, and dependent on how others perceive you is not a good place to be.  It robs you of many precious moments.  Always remember your own special beauty…it is who you are and the real value of what you have to offer.  My very best wishes to you always! 

  • MaryDunlop

    Way to go Shanellebelle!  The journey of self discovery brings so many gifts…  Enjoy them all!  My very best wishes to you, always!

  • Angelica

    I absolutely enjoyed this and I will surly keep this in mind! Wow I just feel more confident already! Thank you so much for this!

  • Douglas88

    So many of the lessons we learn as children miss the more important details of good living. Perhaps the most important lesson that so many miss is that the greatest relationship you will have in this lifetime is with yourself.

  • cj

    This is a great post… I am 31 and a mother of two. My kids are getting older and at the point I have time to think more about myself. I am exactly as you describe – the “before” version, not comfortable in my own skin. This article was helpful letting me know I am not alone, and there are ways to change. 

  • Jonesjer64

    I have had two bad marriages, because of the way I feel about my looks. I too have had an emotionally rough childhood. I have been overweight most my life, and was made fun of for it. However, during my senior year of high-school, I lost over a hundred pounds. I got a lot of attention. I was told by girls that I use to have crushes on that I was very good looking. After my first marriage that failed, I lost the weight again and received a lot of attention which again made me feel confident. I meet a beautiful girl, got married, gained the weight back like during the first marriage, and failed again. You see, I started to believe my thoughts that they where lying about my looks and would sooner or latter leave me for someone else. Therefore, I started pushing them away. It has been many years since my last divorce. I am still over weight, lonely, and in bad health with no motivation to change. I want to lose the weight and change my life, but I think I am scared of failing again and repeat the cycle again. How can I be comfortable on the inside, when I am uncomfortable on the outside. Mary, any advice would be great!

  • MaryDunlop

    @ Jonesjer64, One of the biggest lessons I learned from my journey was that I was uncomfortable on the outside because I was uncomfortable on the inside.  Therefore, I suggest you immediately change how you think about yourself – change your thoughts a.s.a.p., and meditation can help a lot with this. Find yourself an experienced meditation instructor who will help you focus on the development of unconditional self-love and acceptance and who will offer you both guidance and feedback. Once you recognize that you are not your past and see yourself for the beauty of who you truly are, you will also see that your future can be very different.  Psychospiritual counseling such as Voice Dialogue can also be highly effective in getting you to that special place within yourself.  

    Believing negative comments, what others said about you in high school or any other place from the past, is choosing to see yourself in a false light.  Don’t do that.  Instead, work at seeing the beauty of who you really are, because once you do, you will no longer feel lonely, you will most likely see improvement in your health, and you will look pretty good in the mirror too.

    My very best wishes to you!

  • MaryDunlop

    Always, CJ, change is forever available to us :-)

    Wishing you the very best!

  • MaryDunlop

    Absolutely Douglas88…the greatest and the longest :-)

    Wishing you all the best for a very fulfilling self-relationship!

  • MaryDunlop

    You are very welcome Angelica!  I’m happy you found it helpful.

    My very best wishes to you!

  • Edwin

    I have been feeling lost, uncomfortable, unconfident, sad, alone, and almost terrified to live a daily existence thanks to the same problems and issues you had mentioned. Reading this, you may have saved my life. I’m so inspired and this is now my game plan to live a healthier life in mind, body, and spirit. Thank you so much :)

  • MaryDunlop

    Edwin, your words touch me deeply. You can do this! I did, so certainly you can too! Just remember each step you take is a victory in itself.
    My very best wishes to you,
    Mary

  • Kate

    Dear Mary,

    It is really hard to put into words the feelings this article has created within me but what I can clearly articulate is words of thanks. Truly, thank you. Lately after just turning 21 I’ve come to realise I want come to understand myself and I want to accept myself for who I am because doing the opposite (which I have finally come to terms with) is doing nothing for me as a person.
    Thank you again for your wisdom and for pushing me into the right direction.

    Kate

  • james

    i did not expect to be helped atal by reading this blog, i am taken aback by it and excited to start my journey properly :) i am 24 and have been uncomfortable and paranoid 4 about 2 r 3 years. thanks very much for this information.

  • Searching

    This was a great article! Thanks:)

  • MaryDunlop

    You would never want to be someone other than yourself, Kate. Trust me on that. The more you travel on this journey, the deeper you will come to know this and, as you do, you will blossom into perfect beauty.

    “Like a lotus in the sun, you will blossom into a radiant Sacred Woman.”

    My very best wishes to you,
    Mary

  • MaryDunlop

    You are so welcome, James. Just know that, no matter what, you are perfect. The journey is just a process of remembering that perfection.

    My very best wishes to you,
    Mary

  • MaryDunlop

    @9128f40ed63304bd82e55f7d3ca9087a:disqus, You are very welcome.

    My very best wishes to you,
    Mary

  • Jonah

    Great post! So inspiring! And i also love how much i relate to how you used to feel. I’m 17 and all i ever think about is what others think about me. I’m really freaking tired of it.

  • MaryDunlop

    Dear Jonah,
    This might also help. Years ago, I read it in a book called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, and its wisdom continues to serve me well:

    “When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

    We take things personally when we agree with what others have said. If we didn’t agree, the things that others say would not affect us emotionally. If we did not care about what others think about us, their words or behavior could
    not affect us.

    Even if someone yells at you, gossips about you, harms you or yours, it
    still is not about you! ”

    My very best wishes to you,
    Mary

  • Charlie Victoria

    Thank you!

  • MC

    Funny that I hear so much about the need for silence in people’s lives and the extra effort that so many go by to attain silence. While my quest is quite the opposite – I feel as though I’m surrounded by silence on a daily basis. I’m only spoken to at work with quick requests at my feet and rarely do I get a chance to speak. I only have a few friends…very few and although they are wonderful, they unlike me have other networks. So what is your answer to this dilemma? And please don’t say something like: be more open and approachable, put your shyness away. I am actually a very outgoing person and consider myself approachable but not exactly sure why I’m not likeable…

    I listen to what my friends have to say…okay, I admit that on occasion I’m overly excited to be in their company that I don’t let them complete their whole thought but most times I contain this…I am just overly lonely and I’ve been this way since I can remember. It’s annoying and sad especially at my age. I should be socializing and creating opportunities for others to connect. I’ll have enough time to be alone in my old age. Sadly though I often feel cursed with the loneliness in every way possible. How do you come out of that?

  • notemaker

    Thank you Mary:) This is the first time i’ve ever registered an account after reading a post…you pretty much just described everything I feel about myself, how i stand infront of a mirror for 20 minutes at time, hoping i’ll perceive myself in a different way. When people in conversation say “wow he’s attractive” i don’t believe it, and it’s because my mind chooses to focus on the few in perfect things about my self. It’s like it’s all i see. It consumes my life. I don’t know how long it’s been since i’ve looked in the mirror and truly looked into my eyes to see my soul, because all im directed too is some minor imperfections that seem like catastrophes to me. I feel as if when i go out it’s all people notice about me. I don’t know how to let these things go. I excercise and that makes me feel good, but there is certainly something going on deep down that is reflecting out like you said. I’m going to try meditation. I hope it’s something that my soul will automatically know to do, and once it discovers those inner issues, will know how to cleanse itself. Thanks so much for caring enough to write a post like this:)

  • Beth

    Oh, you’re filling me with tears! I go through phases of accepting myself thanks to getting back on track with meditation and positivity (and not binging on ice cream/cookies), and then I get back into an ugly rut. Usually it’s that I want to be as skinny as one of my old friends.
    Just… this post has helped me. Hopefully this time I can maintain an optimistic life :)

  • MaryDunlop

    Dear MC, To me, meditation is not as much about attaining silence as it is about tuning into my inner world. And, once I started doing that, my outer world began to transform. Meditation has helped me know my own value. So, I no longer worry about doing or saying the wrong thing or even the right thing. It’s all good. How many people do you know who don’t sometimes get excited and interrupt others? I don’t know any. Hey, we’re all human. Be likable to yourself, work on that, find the way, and others, the right people, will like you too. :-)

    My very best wishes to you,

    Mary

  • MaryDunlop

    Charlie Victoria, You are very welcome!

    My very best wishes to you,

    Mary

  • MaryDunlop

    Dear Notemaker, That’s what I was doing too, trying to perceive myself in a different way. The mind does play its tricks, but as soon as we begin having healthier self-thoughts, it is amazing how everything transforms. Everything is in the mind’s eye.

    My very best wishes to you,

    Mary

  • MaryDunlop

    Keep working at it Beth, and you will maintain a wonderful life.

    My very best wishes to you,

    Mary

  • Skintome

    Thank you Mary, for reminding us that we are the source of authenticity. And due to this, we have the final word on what it means to be beautiful. Lovely post!

  • MaryDunlop

    Skintome, you are very welcome! Thank you!

    My very best wishes to you,

    Mary

  • insecureandscared

    Thank you for this. I’ve been struggling on how to appreciate myself for years and I’m only 16. It seems to me that society is deliberately making us hate parts of ourselves so we dont succeed and be happy (which is basically the same thing depending on your viewpoint). But this is making me realise I dont have to be insecure and unconfident to please others anymore. So thankyou its gave me the tiny push I needed to start :)

  • Kaori

    I’m 16 and as I read this again, it’s been a while but I felt my heart open up as you wrote, “In the time I was there, I recognized that I was not uncomfortable in that setting because I didn’t know how to be with myself. I was uncomfortable because I didn’t know how to be myself. This was also why I often felt unattractive and ill at ease with others.” I just need to relax and meditate more often I guess too, because I do worry that I don’t deserve the things that others have and try hard to be what I though others would see as “perfect”.

  • MaryDunlop

    My dear, You are more than welcome :-) And, no, you never have to be unconfident or insecure ever again!

  • MaryDunlop

    Dear Kaori, Eventually you will see yourself as you really are. You are more than “perfect”! And, one day, you will see that, feel it, and know it with all your heart :-)

  • livlove3

    Hi, I am 15 too and thank you very much for this article. I am in public high school and it can be hard sometimes between academics, athletics, me being shy-trying to not be awkward with my friends/teachers, comparing yourself to the “popular” girls, and feel beautiful inside and outside. Sometimes I think us girls forget to feel beautiful inside and only worry about our looks. Thank you for inspiring me to do what I love and to love yourself to feel beautiful!

  • MaryDunlop

    livlove3, What you say is very true. We quite often forget, or , as might be the case for some of us, we don’t always know how to feel beautiful inside. But, feeling beautiful inside affects every aspect of our lives, and it keeps us looking beautiful. When you feel beautiful on the inside, you radiate on the outside! I’m so happy you enjoyed the article. Wishing you the very best!

  • Eva

    Beautiful post. thank you. i am usually pretty comfortable with myself, but occasionally i start to overthink things and then i detract from society a bit. i am trying to actively overcome this issue and be true to myself 100% of the time. it’s not easy, but practice makes permanent.

  • Passenger

    I really needed this. I’m not an unconfident person but often times, during interactions with new people I meet, i have difficulties being my natural self and saying what’s on my mind. I really need to start a change and stop projecting my impressions of others unto myself. Thank you for this. Much love, xoxo

  • MaryDunlop

    Dear Eva, Over-thinking robs you of the present moment. And, it seems, that when we step out of the moment, we also step out of ourselves. Meditate :-) It helps a lot.

  • MaryDunlop

    Practice makes perfect, love. You’re doing great! Thank you. Much love to you too, xoxo

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  • nayanreza

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  • Oakley d’Artagnan Leo Sparrow

    how do you become comfortable with yourself?

  • Chel Sea

    I’ve had a great problem with self confidence since elementary school, I never feel very comfortable, sometimes even when I’m alone and what you’re saying in this article makes alot of sense. People say I’m good looking and I think I am sometimes but I dont care for myself when I’m naked because of my stomach. When I write stories, I feel very at peace with myself.

    Its my senior year at school and theres alot for me to do this year. My aniexty has been acting up alot more than usual to the point I want to get counsuling.

    I also need to get back into exercise. That would probably help alot.

  • http://marydunlop.squarespace.com/ MaryDunlop

    Dear Oakley d’Artagnan Leo Sparrow, In a nutshell, what I did: I got to know myself – what I really like and what I really don’t. I began to go with that and started to feel very comfortable and happy with myself. :-)

  • http://marydunlop.squarespace.com/ MaryDunlop

    Dear @Chel Sea, Indeed – counseling helps a lot and so does exercise. I would recommend starting with the exercising and then see how you feel. Also, never lose focus on the writing. If it’s bringing you peace, make it a priority, because once you begin to feel inner peace, that feeling will grow. It’s a seed that will blossom if properly nurtured. At the same time, writing can help you really know yourself. And, once you start knowing yourself, you start being yourself and that’s when you truly start to grow. ;-)