Feeling Uncomfortable In Your Own Skin? Feel Better...

Sometimes you just want to crawl back into your shell. (If only humans had shells.)

And that's OK...it happens to all of us sometimes.

It takes strength to admit the little bit of insecurity we all feel from time to time. Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin is a natural part of the human experience--and so is learning how to be comfortable in your own skin--as we grow from noisy infant into testy teenager, and finally into awkward adult.

(We're all a little awkward, aren't we? Well, some of us are a lot awkward. Anyway...)

The important thing is knowing your propensity for that insecurity. That's what will make all the difference between enjoying your days and moping in misery.


Photo credit: peoplearestrange on Flickr
Photo credit: peoplearestrange on Flickr

Why it happens

Shyness / Feeling that you're not "acceptable" enough to others

Common trap. The mystery of shyness (just one kind of insecurity) somehow manages to convince us that other people won't "accept" us as we are. At work, at school, at social events--we clam up. We hide out. We even try to avoid contact with people, fearing the negative evaluations of other flawed human beings.

The more outgoing sort isn't immune to this either. Instead of "hiding out," we might "show off" around people or put on some kind of act to divert attention from our timidity. One might observe this kind of behavior at a local bar, college party--in fact, any place where beverages with the ingredient alcohol are served!

May I offer a toast: to mutually unacknowledged insecurity and desperation!
May I offer a toast: to mutually unacknowledged insecurity and desperation!

                                                 Photo credit: Nicholas Tarling / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lack of self-confidence / feeling like you're not accomplished enough

Another common conundrum. If you don't feel like you've attained your goals in life thus far--be they about education, career, or relationships, you're more than likely wondering how to be comfortable in your own skin.

Even the simple sense that you haven't "found yourself" yet can produce that feeling. It goes something like this: You don't fully know who you are. Therefore, you don't know what image you're presenting to the world. As a result, you feel discomfort around others, not knowing exactly what it is they're seeing in you. It could be a character flaw, an unsubstantiated belief, a zit on your forehead. You just don't know, and that can be a troubling thought.

Why it's A-OK

Wasn't expecting this one, huh?  It's actually OK to feel uncomfortable in your skin.  Emotions, both good and bad ones, are generally good things, for these reasons:

It means you're human

Surprise! You're not a bird, nor a plane...no, you're not Superman either. Sorry. But you are human. And there are many great things about being human. You get to see things, hear things, feel things, and understand things. And, you can relate to every other human being on the planet. You're not the first to want to jump out of your own skin. Many of us, if not all, have felt that way at some point or on occasion.

It means you're alive

Feeling something--be it warmth or cold, confidence or insecurity--reminds you of an essential fact: you're alive. The gift of life, in of itself is a wonderful, mysterious thing.

Did you realize that you're breathing right now? (I'm betting you didn't. It's OK; I forget sometimes too.) Take a few seconds, close your eyes, breathe in and out, and meditate on the magic that is being alive.

Photo credit: ruurmo on Flickr
Photo credit: ruurmo on Flickr

It means you care

That is, you care about your own well-being. You want to make sure the image you present to the world is one that accurately represents who you are. You'd feel more at home around others if you knew you were appreciated for your faults, quirks and all.

You are caring deeply about a person; that person just happens to be yourself. But because you do care, you're capable of turning that inward, self-serving insecurity into real, fulfilling, outward connections with others.

How to be comfortable in your own skin - the path to enlightenment

Love yourself

It's hard to do sometimes. It can be a pretty nebulous, hard-to-implement idea. But it's possible. An easy way to start is to love certain things about yourself. At the risk of rehashing ubiquitous self-help advice...

...write down a list of your good traits. The things you like about yourself, your good qualities and traits, the things that other people appreciate about you. Sell yourself to yourself; treat it like a job interview. (In fact, it's pretty good preparation for job interviews anyway.) Then, reflect on that list and realize your awesomeness as an individual. Know that these things constitute value you can add to other people's lives, if you'll only let yourself.

Some more optional homework: make a list of the things you would like to change or improve about yourself, and then draw up a specific plan of baby steps to achieve those goals. Reward yourself when you do achieve those objectives.

Love others

This one almost goes without saying. Reaching outside of yourself is crucial to developing comfort with yourself. Reach out in spite of your fears. By making yourself a compassionate, progressive member of society, you enhance your own self-worth while bringing smiles to others. Remember, other people experience insecurity, too. We all do. When you understand that, you know you're not alone. Now it's your turn to make others feel less alone. The more effort you put into encouraging others, the more you'll get in return.

Get practice, get experience

It takes time, but there's really no substitute. The more accustomed you get to being your authentic self around others, the more comfortable you'll start to feel. You'll digest the knowledge that you're fine just the way you are.

You'll learn that the skin you're in isn't so bad after all.

Poll

Have you ever felt uncomfortable in your own skin?

  • Yes, at one point in my life.
  • Sometimes. It resurfaces in my life from time to time.
  • No; I've always been pretty self-confident.
See results without voting

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Comments 34 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Excellent and helpful hub. I can't imagine anyone except Obama who hasn't experienced feeling uncomfortable in his own skin. Well done.


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

That's why I feel that ego gets a bad rap,as it takes ego to tear ones self out of timidity to for example start a blog...


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

Great hub! Worth rereading and rereading and challenging myself to do the homework and then asking why I won't do it! I look in the mirror every morning and check out the blemishes on my face, I check out the extension around my waiste, I push myself to walk four to six miles x number of times per week to change the way my body and skin look. YEP, I'm uncomfortable in my own skin. Not that there is anything wrong with good exercise and good diet, but sometimes I am aware that perhaps I exercise and eat right for at least a couple of "wrong" or off the mark reasons. I am a firm believer that until I am totally at home with whom I am at this very moment, change will not occur. Kind of a paradox.

I'm glad you mentioned the "importance" of alcohol in supporting both the shy and "outgoing" in feeling comfortable in our own skin. I hope everyone can see the quotation marks around the word "Importance." Alcohol can be such a good friend!! I am not a tea todler, so this is not a better than thou statement, but there are times I intentionally do not imbibe just to practice being at home without alcohol. It is an amazing experiment. Everyone else looks pretty stupid!!

And I like your encouragement to practice. It all takes practice. Practice, practice, practice, and at some point, the practice can actually become "fun."

Again, great hub

Vern


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

breakfastpop: Thanks :)

Mentalist acer: You're right; a little ego isn't necessarily a terrible thing. After all, we're born with one. Why not use it both to our own advantage and the benefit of others? :)

Vern: Glad you liked it! It's funny how that paradox of progress works. But I'm learning more and more that quietness and assurance in the present moment is the best "launch pad," so to speak--otherwise, you push yourself forward grudgingly, with frustration. Much better to start from a place of strength, which comes from contentment in the moment and appreciation of what you DO have going right for you.

Interesting alcohol experiment, by the way! Some people depend so much on it as a social lubricant that they're actually practicing NOT being themselves, which is sad. And of course, it causes people to do very silly things...

Yes, the practice can and will become fun, especially as you see your life improving around you. I believe that. The key is to get out there and take action! It's the best antidote to regret!


Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas

Is feeling uncomfortable in our own skin a bad thing? Definitely not! Whether your 25 or 75, we all experience this emotion. (BTW, I'm somewhere in the middle of that age range > but closer to 75) That's the beauty of the human brain. It's telling us that there's always room for improvement. When we say WT?&*!, and don't react, is when we're in trouble. Great Hub Benny! Thanks, Ciao.


Thumb86 profile image

Thumb86 6 years ago from Wales

great hub. Well, for me its kinda different. I have some issues with a few anxiety disorders and depression so I find myself feeling this way a lot of the time! to say the least. With medication, things are a little easier. But I agree that it is totally a good thing to feel insecure and a little inferior at times..As long as it doesn't stop you from actually living your life.


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

Hey Thumb86, thanks for commenting! The anxiety and depression is undeniably hard to deal with, I know. But hopefully what I wrote here gave you some helpful insight. I think we can always take baby steps towards achieving our goals, regardless of how difficult our situations are. Sometimes our situation is VERY difficult (as depression and anxiety can make things), in which case we should scale back our efforts to manageable, easy increments. As long as we take action, we won't regret it in the long run.


BumptiousQ profile image

BumptiousQ 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

Bravo, Benny!

Keep your vibe going...


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

Bumptious: Thanks a lot man! Working on it...


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Great advice. I have often felt like a misfit, but have tried to get out there and make friends anyways. It is enticing just to sit in your room and never go anywhere, but that is when it gets dangerous. When you love others, they love you back. so true.


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

elayne001, thanks for your comment! Sometimes we need to gently push ourselves in the right direction. Ironically, learning how to overcome discomfort in one's own skin is to make oneself MORE uncomfortable by pushing past personal boundaries and inhibitions. But doing this is ultimately for the best. I'm glad you've found that to be true!


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Nice hub Benny - I like the fact you point out such shyness or nervousness is all ok and just being human and normal. Everyone is different and sometimes this go get 'em society puts too much expectations on the individual despite us all being individuala!


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

Thanks a lot billyaustindillon! The noise that "society" makes about measuring up to some artificial standard really crushes individualism and the sense that we're OK just as we are.


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI

Wonderful hub Benny- I used to be so painfully shy growing up and into adulthood. The only time I wasn't was when I was in a manic cycle (I am bipolar). But over the years I have learned to accept my shyness and come out of my shell more often. As an adult I didn't have much of a choice did I? I love this hub of yours. It is touching and kind. I so look forward to reading more from you. Keep up the great work :)


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

Yes crazybeanrider, it seems to get along in the "real world" we have to fight our way out of our shells of shyness! It's great that you eventually learned to accept yourself and gain confidence. Thanks so much for the read!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Excellent Hub - thanks so much for the clear and lucid explanations. Bookmarked under "Inspiration!!

Love and peace

Tony


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

tonymac04: Thanks for bookmarking, my friend! Glad I could inspire.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Boy am I glad you showed up in the forums, Benny. I saw your post about sales hubs vs. 'normal' ones and had to check you out.

This piece is a gem. I remember (long, long ago) when teenage angst was upon me and didn't let go. Relentless, it was! Then as the years progressed my 'comfort' came and went. Still does at 54.

I think it's simply part of the human condition-some people feel it more than others...


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

Thanks so much, lorlie6, for the comment and awesome fan mail! I think this unease is definitely woven throughout our whole lives, but I think we have hope for at least making peace with it. I can relate because I myself feel it intensely from time to time, but the more I realize that confusion, insecurity and angst bind us all together, the less alone I feel, and thus the more accepting I am of those feelings of uncertainty.


raychard profile image

raychard 6 years ago from Galway Bay, Ireland

I think the problem is fear...of being different, and being seen to be different. But it takes great courage to to be totally one's self.(Ghandi, Picasso, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela etc...) Hey, you could even get shot for it...


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

Raychard, you're certainly right...there is an element of fear involved. It really does take courage, but the great thing is we can develop that strength of character by pushing our boundaries little by little, in manageable steps.

Yes, those people you mentioned are certainly known for their extreme risk-taking...hopefully we won't get shot for it! But being oneself authentically is truly the way to live.


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

Another good article. We all have this feeling at some time or the other. Thanks for sharing.


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

lctodd1947, thank you so much for the read. I agree, it certainly is a universal feeling. It's one of those things that makes me feel integrally connected to my fellow man.


LizzyBoo profile image

LizzyBoo 6 years ago from Czech Republic

Woow I just soo needed to read this! I am not myself for quiet a long time and this practical hub just boost me to try again!

Thank you


Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

Great Hub - Life is all about developing our character through personal growth. Being comfortable with that growth - accepting ourselves now in the moment yet working on buffing the character to shine like a diamond or polished gold..... all while being comfortable with who and where we are NOW! Cool Dude you are


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

Great article! I used to be very shy and only broke out of my shell when I started teaching. I find that focusing on others (which is what teaching taught me) is the best way to forget about yourself and your self-consciousness.

Voted up and useful!


pinkdaisy profile image

pinkdaisy 5 years ago from Canada

Great Hub Benny! Feeling Uncomfortable In Your Own Skin is often the result of anxiety or low self esteem.

This is a great hub for teenagers to read!

Great Hub Benny! Voted Up :)


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 5 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

jill of alltrades: Thanks so much! You're right--focusing on bringing value to others really brings you out of your shy "shell" and self-absorbed thoughts. There's an incredible freedom that comes with stepping outside of yourself.

pinkdaisy: Thanks a lot! Appreciate your recommendation to teenagers. The earlier one applies these principles, the better!


TheMonk profile image

TheMonk 5 years ago from Brazil

This is nice. I have struggled a lot on my childhood with lack of confidence and the feeling of not been good enough to have nice friends. I may write about it as well. It is liberating to know I´m not the only one in the world that have suffered like that.


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 5 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

Hey TheMonk, thanks for your comment. I know the feeling as well--I think we all do, some more than others--and if we only keep the truths I talk about in mind, we'll feel better. I encourage you to write about it and I look forward to reading it!


ar.colton profile image

ar.colton 5 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

One of the best things about self-confidence is that the rest of the world gets to see your authentic self.

A great hub. I think everyone can benefit from your suggestions.


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 5 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

Thanks ar.colton! You're absolutely right--when you're comfortable in your own skin, relationships are stronger more authentic, because people can see and appreciate you for who you actually are (and not what you're trying to be)!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York

Good hub. I especially like your phrase "authentic self". How often we aren't! We try to be what we're not to fit in and it just doesn't work. Voted up.


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 5 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A. Author

Thanks a lot tillsontitan! Being comfortable and true to yourself--your authentic self--is always the way to go. It's easy to slip into a people-pleasing misrepresentation of the real you, so being authentic does take practice--but it's always worth the effort.

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