You can just tell that some people are OK with themselves. They seem sorted, together, calm and… at ease.
It’s tempting to get annoyed with them or beat yourself up that you’re not quite there yet. But actually, it might be easier than you imagine to get to the same place they are. You’re probably closer than you think.
What little tweaks could you make to get you to the point where you are regularly displaying these traits?
They Are Genuinely Happy For Other People’s Success
The world is a competitive place. Our economy is built on it. Social media, if you peel back the surface, thrives on it. And yet deep down we know that the only person we really have to please in this life, is ourselves.
Not in a selfish way. Not in a “get out of my way, me first” way. Not at all. If you can work out what you genuinely value, then lead your life in ways that chime with it, then you will find serenity. And you’ll stop worrying that others are treading on your dreams.
“To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.” — Albert Camus
Instead, when you see someone doing well, applaud them, and take heart from the fact that people in this world enjoy life and are happy.
After all, someone else succeeding is just another bit of evidence that success is possible.
They Tend To Look On The Bright Side
Are you someone who writes yourself off as a glass-half-empty person? It’s just the way you are, you can’t ever change. Do you find it ever so slightly cloying to see people smugly smiling as they go about their lives?
Maybe they’re not smug. Perhaps they are just making the best of things.
People talk about “toxic positivity” but I wonder if that says more about them than the people they are using it to describe.
Look, no-one’s life is perfect and it’s valid to question the accuracy of someone who is happy with everything in their life, but shouldn’t we at least admire their positivity?
“Your end can be greater than your beginning: butterflies are the greatest proof of this.” — Matshona Dhliwayo
Being happy in your own skin has a lot to do with acceptance. There are things we won’t ever be able to do. But there are millions of others that we could.
Consciously or unconsciously, people at ease with themselves have worked this out. By doing so, they’ve freed themselves from the chains of feeling like they will never be enough.
You get to look on the bright side if you want to as well, you know.
Us humans, we’re great triers and we never know when we’re beaten. Superb traits when the rocket is pointing in the right direction, but on the other side of this double-edged sword is control freakery.
If you think that happiness will finally arrive for you when, and only when, the world bends to your will, then you are in for a long wait.
It’s good to plan, be organised and strategise, but if things don’t work out for reasons beyond your control, you have to be able to roll with the punches.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein
People comfortable in their own skin have a kind of confidence (not arrogance) that they trust in themselves to adapt. OK, plans have changed, you’ve been let down. It happens, move on.
Think about how much you admire and appreciate flexibility in other people. Now be that person to everyone else, and you’ll be well on the way to being happy in your own skin.
They Don’t Mind Pushing Against The Flow
When you see someone do something that is different, and completely own it, it’s inspiring. From not drinking when everyone else is, to sticking to their style whatever the occasion, or even changing their mind when it causes hassle— it takes guts.
If you’re at ease with yourself then you’ve worked out what works for you. They may have been tough lessons to learn. In younger years you might have been bullied. In work contexts you might have missed out on opportunities.
But in the end, who wins? The person who does what the world expects of them? Or the person who does what they truly want to do?
“Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from.” — Jodie Foster
We are all individuals. Think about it — there are some things you like, do or think which others think are a little odd. Let them. They are what make you… you.
There’s an added bonus here. Once you’ve worked out who you are, what you stand for, what your style and approach is, you don’t just get to feel it… you get to express it.
So do the work. Think, reflect, experiment. Then nail your colours to the mast, go out there and be you. You’ll be the person coming across as happy in your own skin.
Even if you think you’re miles away from being at ease with yourself, you could be closer than you think. You’re likely to be at least half-way toward regularly displaying these attributes, so just nudge yourself a bit further:
- Be genuinely happy for others’ success — know that in doing so, you just displayed a key attitude that’ll help you progress yourself
- Look on the bright side — there’s two ways to look at any situation so why not pick the up one?
- Be flexible — stop trying to control the world, but roll with the punches and look for unexpected opportunities
- Push against the flow — do the work to know yourself then go out and express it
This is not another checklist of tasks to add pressure. It’s the permission and invitation you need to start fully enjoying being you.