The best way to move into authenticity with ease is to roll up your sleeves and get comfortable in your own skin. No one even has to be around for this to start, it’s just about you being comfortable with yourself. The more comfortable you become with yourself, the more it becomes a part of how you project yourself outwardly to the world.
But how do you get that comfortable with yourself? Sure, maybe when you’re completely alone and relaxed, you’re comfortable with who you are. This may be true even when you’re around your family (although for many people that’s not even a “given” most of the time). Yet how are we to magically produce a feeling of great comfort “on demand” when others are around?
To become comfortable in your skin, you should be familiar with the skin that you want to be comfortable in, which means you should have a good idea of every aspect of your personality, yours likes and dislikes, your desires and goals—everything about you that is important and feels like your genuine self.
Owning Who You Are
You may have already done some past reflection of your own, and feel pretty solid in knowing who you are, with a good sense of your personal energy. Now it’s time to own that. Hold that so securely as your own that it’s yours to call on wherever and whenever you want. While you’re at it, don’t take yourself too seriously. Seriously, don’t do it. There’s just no reason to do so.
As adults we certainly have to take care of serious matters and act accordingly, but if we allow the weight of seriousness to conduct our livelihood, we’re robbing ourselves and others of the luxury of lightheartedness, and slowly stripping joy from our spirit. All of which ages us emotionally, spiritually, and, yes, even physically, by the way. It also keeps others at a distance by nonverbally conveying that they need to “stay in line” when they are in our company.
Objectively, it could be argued that someone who is overly serious is operating with an unconscious desire to be seen as important, smart, special, in charge, etc. Conversely, it might be said that someone who is always joking around and acting out, has a subconscious, underlying desire to be seen as funny, different, clever, special, etc.
Either one, when out of balance, becomes a cloak at some level and keeps others at arm’s length, which is far from being comfortable in your skin. One of the goals is to find the “genuine” in ourselves again, and then to feel comfortable sharing that with others and ourselves.
Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Some of us may remember the term “Freak Flag” from the 70s, but what does it actually mean? My understanding is that this phrase originated as an expression from the hippies that means to let your hair flow freely––or, in other words, to defy all means of “being normal” and controlled.
The definition has expanded through the years into one that now generally means be yourself, utterly and completely—with no embarrassment or apologies—stripping yourself of any need to obey the rules and letting your quirky self out to play. Not only when you’re alone and it feels safe to do so, but as an expression of who you are. It means to liberate yourself at the level where there are no holds barred or worries about what others may think.
Nobody is suggesting that you take your clothes off and dance on bar tops, or engage in other ridiculous and inane acts of defiance (not every day, that is), but rather, simply release and express the joyous, child-like freedom within you.
Once you find your Freak Flag, wave it in the wind like a kite, in celebration of it finally being unfurled. The celebration is not the finding of it, but the embracing of it fully as part of who you are.
Don't Worry About What Others May Think
Here’s an interesting tidbit about the Freak Flag: when it does take flight, it not only reveals a vulnerable side of you, but also reveals that you’re comfortable with that vulnerable side of you, and that you don’t hesitate to reveal yourself by worrying about what others may think.
One of the quickest ways to get comfortable in your skin is to start flying your flag at home. Get nice and snuggled up with the silly side of you and share it with the walls. Sing a little. Crack jokes. Maybe even dance.
The more comfortable you are letting your personality out when you’re alone, the more it will fill you up and become a natural part of your expression when you are out. Then start sharing it with your family or close friends and watch as they open up and join you, now that they know it’s safe, letting their Freak Flag out to play, too!
Some people understand this intuitively and demonstrate it naturally throughout their life. My father is one of these people. He knows how to have fun when he is by himself or with others. He delights in bringing humor and a sense of lightness to many moments.
One of the dear things he used to do, as he drove somewhere with my sister and I when we were little girls, was to spontaneously repeat the last sentence he spoke, over and over like a robot. It wasn’t until the third or fourth rollout that we realized what he was doing. It was a little game that we played, and we knew that he would not stop until one of us leaned over and squeezed his nose—a form of “rewiring” that repaired the robot’s malfunction.
After one of us pinched his nose, he would just continue the sentence as if nothing ever happened.
A No-Fail Game
Often he would then take a surprise detour into the drive-through at McDonald’s. We knew immediately what he was going to do: order milkshakes for us and use an old man voice to bring a laugh to the checkout girl. He knew that she would be expecting someone really old to show up when the car pulled around. Then he would speak in his regular voice and watch her confusion.
It was always a no-fail game that still works to this day—as I discovered recently when we were out running errands one afternoon and he pulled the same old stunt. We sipped on our milkshakes and joked about how surprised we were that the trick still actually worked, since he now really is older and fully gray. I guess the clerk was expecting someone to look even older than he looks, because she smiled as he spoke in his normal voice . . . or maybe she was simply delighted to see someone having fun, and sharing it so openly.
The sweet thing about this ride with Dad wasn’t that it was a barrel of fun or that I got to drink a McDonald’s milkshake for the first time in twenty-plus years, but that he instantly connected us through a shared memory of how freely he felt to entertain himself and others by letting loose and being comfortable in his own skin doing so.
Entertaining Ourselves and Others
Imagine how it would increase the connectedness and hope in our hearts if we did this with at least one person a day—even if that person was our self. This can be amazingly healing when such moments are fueled by love and joy.
Whether your Freak Flag is out and flying high like a kite or you’re just getting it strung up, don’t forget that it exists. Celebrating the unique things that make you, you, is a no-fail way to get comfortable in your skin.
©2015 by Tara-jenelle Walsch. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher: Rainbow Ridge Books.
Soul Courage -- Watch What Happens
by Tara-jenelle Walsch.
About the Author
Tara-jenelle Walsch is the founder and spirit behind the Soulebrate greeting card company and the Soulcialize personal development program. She speaks publicly about building emotional awareness and the wonders of living soul-first through the Soulcialize concept, which she believes creates soul connection and has the ability to enrich the world at large. Find out more at soulcourage.com.