You’re happy with who you are —warts and all.
No one is going to rain on your parade with their unsolicited opinions.
Yep, being comfortable in your own skin is the ultimate goal.
Here are the strong signs you’re already nailing it…
1) You can keep your inner critic in check
Sometimes when I’ve just woken up and I’m standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I catch myself saying:
“Yikes, look at those bags”.
Or I see the ever-increasing lines on my face as a woman in her forties, and I notice my own self-judgment.
We all have this little devil on our shoulders who feeds us unkind thoughts about ourselves.
Often we’ve lived with it so long, we don’t even notice it anymore. We just accept what it says.
It’s no wonder then that living with this negative self-talk day in and day out can seriously affect your self-esteem and mental health.
But when you’re comfortable in your own skin you learn to call that critic out.
You answer it back, rather than take what it tells you as fact.
It may not ever go completely, but you manage to keep it in check.
2) You’re not prepared to dim your light for anyone
In the very early stages of my writing career when I started to get published, a so-called friend fell out with me.
At first, I had zero clue what was going on.
And when I did, I was still just as perplexed by the whole thing.
She felt like I had “stolen her wisdom”.
Yep, that’s right.
When I began to express my views and experiences in my articles, she felt like she heard a lot of her own voice reflected back at her.
As a writer, this is actually what you’re aiming for.
But I suspect what was really going on was that she had an image of herself as the “wise” friend.
And she didn’t like me moving out of my lane and encroaching on what she saw as her territory.
The unfortunate truth is that there will always be people who feel threatened by your own development.
It can be tempting to stay small rather than take up space. But when you are comfortable in your own skin, you’re not prepared to do that.
In the words of Marianne Williamson:
“You playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so others won’t feel insecure around you. As you let your own light shine, you indirectly give others permission to do the same.”
Perhaps this whole situation would never have happened if it wasn’t for the curse of comparison.
3) You avoid comparing yourself
Here’s a very quick recipe for cooking up some misery in your life:
Compare yourself to others.
And it’s not because everyone is so much better than you that comparison steals your peace of mind.
It’s because the game is rigged.
Look at it this way:
Every single one of us is unique. Every single one of us is on our own journey in life.
That means there are literally infinite combinations of circumstances happening around you at any given time.
And sadly that means that there’s always going to be someone that you can look at with envy.
Whether it’s the popular girl at school, the muscly guy at the gym, or your super rich neighbor.
When you’re comfortable in your own skin, you realize that there’s no need to compare.
You understand that the only real competition in life is with yourself.
4) You don’t judge others
The more comfortable you become with yourself, the less you judge others.
Because it’s one of those little psychological quirks that we project what is inside of us onto the outside world.
When you aren’t happy with who you are, you’re constantly judging yourself.
You chastise every single perceived flaw as not being good enough.
And so you do the same with other people too.
You’re hyper-critical of others, because deep inside, you’re hyper-critical of yourself.
You cannot show yourself the kindness, compassion, and non-judgment you deserve.
And what you withhold from yourself you withhold from others.
That’s why when you mind your own business and live and let live it’s actually a reflection of your own inner self-worth.
You know that nobody is perfect and that’s ok.
Instead of judgment, you have compassion for everybody’s imperfections.
5) You wear what you like, rather than dressing to impress
Maybe you love to follow fashion and keep up with the latest trends.
Perhaps you couldn’t care less and just throw on whatever feels most comfortable (and happens to be clean).
But whatever you wear, it’s for you and no one else.
What we wear is ultimately a form of expression. Even when that expression is “I couldn’t care less about what I wear”.
It might not sound like such a big deal.
But in many ways what you wear is a part of your identity.
It’s not about fashion, it’s about expressing yourself.
There’s a certain freedom in knowing you’re doing that authentically.
6) You know how to be vulnerable
Here’s the funny thing that researchers have found about showing vulnerability:
When we do it, we worry it’ll be seen as a weakness.
But when we see others being vulnerable, we really appreciate and value it.
As summed up in The Atlantic:
“Often, there’s a mismatch between how people perceive their vulnerabilities and how others interpret them. We tend to think showing vulnerability makes us seem weak, inadequate, and flawed—a mess.
“But when others see our vulnerability, they might perceive something quite different, something alluring. A recent set of studies calls this phenomenon “the beautiful mess effect.” It suggests that everyone should be less afraid of opening up—at least in certain cases.”
If you can show other people your “beautiful mess” then it is a true sign of confidence.
Because the reality is that it takes real courage to share parts of yourself that feel more tender.
7) You’re prepared to voice unpopular opinions
It’s easy to say what you think when everybody else agrees with you.
It’s far harder to stand up in a group and contradict the general consensus.
I know this first hand.
Ever since a young age, if I see something I don’t agree with I can’t help but speak up.
And I really mean it when I say I can’t help it.
It’s like there’s something inside me that is compelled to speak.
And the truth is, it doesn’t always make you popular.
As an 11-year-old kid I reminded my littering peers that if everyone threw their trash on the floor, we’d be wading our way through it on the way to school.
Imagine how well that went down.
The truth is that it takes inner confidence (or in my case, inner compulsion) to be able to stick your neck out.
Perhaps you voice your opinion, even when others don’t agree.
Maybe you stand up for what you think is right, even when it’s easier to keep quiet.
If so, it’s a sign you are confident enough in your own skin to put aside what others think and stay true to yourself.
8) Your biggest source of validation comes from within
It’s so much easier to not care what other people think when you don’t rely on them for your self-esteem.
Seeking constant approval outside of yourself puts you at the mercy of others’ opinions.
But when you seek your own approval before anyone else’s you’re clearly comfortable in your own skin.
It’s a sign that you trust yourself and have self-belief.
And it frees you from so many people-pleasing behaviors.
You can have clear boundaries and say no to the things you don’t want to do.
You don’t have to worry the car you drive “isn’t good enough” or the job you do doesn’t have the “right status”.
Because your sense of self-worth comes from a much deeper authentic place.
So you don’t need to chase the trappings of external validation.
9) You say sorry when you mess up
Accountability is a huge sign of being comfortable with who you are.
Because it means you’re able to admit to yourself and others that you’re fallible.
It’s actually the most insecure people that struggle to take responsibility.
That’s because their ego is too fragile to handle the knock. It needs to protect itself by denying any wrongdoing.
Being able to back down and hold your hands up shows that you can accept your own imperfections.
And that’s crucial in being comfortable in your own skin.
So when you can admit to your mistakes, apologize and make amends it’s huge.
Because, as we’ll see next, “not caring what other people think” does—and should—only go so far.
10) You take on-board constructive feedback
How do you feel comfortable in your own skin and not let anything influence you?
So here’s the bad news:
I’m not sure you can be so comfortable in your own skin that you never let anything influence you.
But here’s the good news:
I’m not sure you really should.
The truth is that, to a certain extent, we should care about the feelings and thoughts of others.
We are social creatures after all, and our relationships rely on cooperation.
It’s more about choosing in which ways we take on board other people’s opinions. And of course, whose opinions we listen to.
Some situations we need to learn to shrug off.
For sure, there are plenty of things and people that aren’t worth your time and energy.
For example, if some random person on the street doesn’t like what you’re wearing.
But other scenarios are worth giving more thought to.
For example, if your mom says you’ve been acting a little inconsiderately lately.
Because part of growing is being able to take on constructive feedback.
If we try to numb ourselves to it in order to protect our ego, it’s hard to develop as a person.
That’s why in many ways, being truly comfortable in your skin is about having the strength to take on board well-meant feedback.
Even when we may not like what we hear.