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How To Be Happy in Your Own Skin

September 18, 2019 by

The expression “happy in their own skin” has been on my mind recently because of a youth scholarship awards ceremony I attended. One of the recipients related how she enjoyed working in cosmetology because she could make people “happy in their own skin.”

It’s got me thinking. Does being happy in your own skin imply smugness? Or a personality full of itself? (Horrors!) No – at least, that’s not how I understand it. I’m thinking of people who are at peace with their abilities (or lack thereof) and have given up comparing themselves with others and trying to match others’ accomplishments. They are happy with who they are and only cultivate skills that would build on their natural gifts, like learning a language or getting in shape for a mountain climb. Some people are naturally athletic, others are naturally musical; some are actors, others are anglers; and so forth. There’s no use in trying to imitate each other or to compete – there are far better motivations for self-improvement. Be yourself and you’ll have zero competition.

A great deal of unhappiness is created by people who are trying to be popular (and therefore become victims of their own floundering efforts). They flip-flop wildly in their opinions and positions depending on whom they are with, and they gain respect from nobody. If you’re serving a cause that requires you to plaster on cosmetics, undergo aesthetic surgery, or say things you don’t believe, you’d better find another cause, in my opinion.

Farrier replacing a shoe on a horse

In our short stay on earth there is one thing we should surely accomplish: we should embrace authenticity. No one else can be us; that is up to us entirely.

This does not mean being cranky and whiney about things we find uncomfortable. No, as adults we can do better. Being happy in our own skin means being honest about what we enjoy and creative in spreading our satisfaction, peace, and happiness. Of course, last I checked, the world was still a cauldron of war, suffering, and intense frustration – but it only adds to the frustration if we refuse the part destiny draws us to fulfill.

“All the world’s a stage, and we the actors in it,” to mangle Shakespeare. How exciting it is to play our own part and how much more natural and empowering when we do.

Be yourself and you’ll have zero competition.

Being happy in one’s own skin is extremely rare in today’s world. We complain about the color of our hair, or about the fact that we cannot sing like Pavarotti and Bon Jovi, or about minor illnesses we think we shouldn’t have, or about responsibilities that others have and we don’t – and on and on. We bury ourselves so deep in a well of unhappiness that when it’s time to climb out, the climb is an arduous knuckle buster. Still, it’s well worth it, and – as Isaiah so cogently says – How dare the fragment of a broken pot argue with the Potter (Isa. 45: 9)?

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About the author

Simon Mercer

Simon Mercer

Simon Mercer is a free-thinking Anabaptist, would-be poet who lives at the Maple Ridge Bruderhof.

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  • Well said bro, I struggle with this. Love the Isaiah quote.

    Johnny stahl
  • A wonderful piece of writing! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Pat