Getting Comfortable in Your Own Skin

What does it mean to be comfortable in your own skin? It's about expressing yourself in a way they feels the most appropriate.

When we think about expressing ourselves, we automatically think of the superficial ways. How we dress. The way we wear our hair. The car we drive. If you wear jeans and a T-shirt one day and a business suit the next, what is it expressing about you? Is it that you are sophisticated one day and unsophisticated the next? Actually, your outer appearance expresses very little about who you truly are.

Instead, when we talk about expression, we should look at what's harder to change about ourselves. Our habits. The words we use. How we treat people. And, most importantly, how we express our spiritual gifts.

Ah, spiritual gifts. That elusive term. It's also known as your calling. But how do you express those properly? We could each have similar gifts, but decide to express them differently. For example, let's say that 3 women are trying to figure out the best way to express their calling of teaching. One woman might become a high school teacher. Another might teach English in a foreign country. While another woman might home school her own children. Who is expressing their spiritual gifts properly? All of them. It is a personal decision.

You might say that the first two women are career women. Some women might look down on the woman who chose to be a stay-at-home mom. But is this fair? Does that mean that the way she is expressing her spiritual gifts is any less fulfilling or any less valid? No, not at all. The concern about others judging us is often what stops us from getting comfortable in our own skin. What if our family doesn't like what we're doing? What if our friends think the path we're taking is weird?

Too many of us are embarrassed about what others will think of our spiritual journey. We end up sabotaging our own happiness. We are missing out on the great opportunities that will open up once we get comfortable in our own skin.

As you begin reflecting on your spiritual gifts it's great to keep track of your progress. You can do this throughout the day or at the end of the day. You could add your thoughts to a journal or record them on a microcassette recorder.

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself to begin the process of getting comfortable in your own skin:

1) "Have I taken the time to identify my spiritual gifts?" Get in touch with those inklings, those glimpses of what your calling might be. For example:

  • topics that you are continually drawn to, but you aren't sure why;
  • what you do in your spare time that makes the day more enjoyable;
  • things that you do that make it easy to lose track of time when you're doing them.
  • 2) "How am I expressing my spiritual gifts?" Remember that there are many ways to express who you really are. You might try one way for a while and find that it isn't a good fit. If something isn't working, don't be afraid to make changes at a pace that is appropriate for you. Expression of your gifts is so personal. No one has the right to tell you that you are doing it right or wrong.

    3) "Am I genuinely happy with my personal and professional life right now, in this moment?" Are you just postponing your happiness until you accomplish your goals? Maybe you're even envious of what others have accomplished in their lives. Happiness isn't in the accomplishment. It's in the journey. If your goal in life is to become rich, you might be so focused on your current financial state that you are missing out on the lessons to be learned in the journey. If you are striving to express your spiritual gifts, life will seem almost effortless. You will meet the right people and find the right opportunities. That is where you will find your happiness.

    I started out by mentioning the superficial ways we can express ourselves. What's so interesting is that when you are expressing your spiritual gifts, people will notice a change in your appearance. They will start mentioning how much happier you look or that you look younger. They'll notice something different about you, but they won't be able to put their finger on it. You truly will be comfortable in your own skin -- inside and out.

    Leila is co-owner of Data-Scribe(tm) in New Mexico. Their newsletter, the "Micro-Business Gazette" provides tips and resources to empower small businesses. Leila's unique approach to professional development is captured in her workshop program and forthcoming book called "Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel" - http://www.datascribe.biz.

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