Soumya Parker inspires me to be comfortable, not only in my skin and being, but in my life and with myself. When asked about the staples in her closet, she says,
“Kurta, jeans (black and blue), T- shirt, Stoles/dupattas, one great pair of indian footwear and one pair of good black heels. And I can’t live without my earrings! Also pajamas man! What is life without comfortable pajamas?”
I couldn’t agree more. People, asked about their ideal days, will give you a laundry list of things that will happen. And that’s perfectly fine, because rarely to do people admit that a day of peaceful me-time is just what they need. Miss Parker’s ideal day is “[lounging] alone with a good book and nibbling on an unending supply of good food.” Such simplicity and lack of duplicity is rare. I honestly can’t define what an ideal day for me will be, but I’m encouraged to openly embrace and admit whatever I find that may be.
Notice this around you – people look the way they feel, even with the makeup. When I think back to the NIFT years, it’s apparent to me that Soumya has always been effortless. She never apologizes for who she is and moves with grace even when she is behaving like a monkey in the courtyard. Soumya is confident, and has always been able to move with poise. I recognize this more now, as I have become more comfortable in my own skin as I’ve grown into it.
There are actually a few stages here – there is the uncomfortable, neutral, and the comfortable. To be clear, saying “I’m not uncomfortable” is not the same as “being comfortable”. It’s okay wherever you may be in that, but let’s make an active decision to become entirely comfortable in our skins.
1) Be good to yourself, and to other people. Start to focus on what you absolutely love about yourself. Instead of seeing the zit or blemish when you look in the mirror, look for the best in you.
2) Give that woman in the mirror some support. Get your best friends together – and instead of lamenting about how “fat” you are or how scragly your hair looks, raise a toast to what’s fabulous about each of you. No more bashing.
3) Image matters. No matter how much we claim otherwise, there is a definite “feel-good” quality to looking in the mirror and liking what you see. So, find fashions, and hairstyles, and makeup that fit you. Don’t try to fit into styles – find the one that works best for you.
4) #3 actually doesn’t just apply to fashion; it applies to anything in life if you want to excel. Find out what’s a good fit for you. As Debbie Ford often says, “Anything that you can’t embrace about yourself gets to use you. Any part of you that you deny, hide, or suppress will come back to use you or haunt you. You can’t get rid of it completely – ever. Either you’re going to use it, or it’s going to use you. […] There is a reason you are the way you are. In order to deliver the gift that you’re meant to deliver to the world, [to your family, to whomever or wherever] – you must be at peace with yourself.”
5) Work through your mistakes – trust me, I make the most mistakes in my family. I recognize that it’s not always easy, but the goal is to learn from your mistakes and move forward. You WILL feel better about yourself, having done this. And then, with your family and loved ones, feel free enough to be honest about your shortcomings and your talents. They will love you no matter what.
6) Get to know yourself. Use a journal to log your thoughts, freely. Or whatever helps you become one in your thoughts and actions. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities you have. That’s right. Do the SWOT analysis for yourself, or your style, or anything. Whatever works.
7) Move your body. Dance, cycle, run, walk, swim, jump rope, or do yoga. Do whatever it is that you enjoy doing to use your body constructively. Not only will you feel more comfortable in it, you will also grow/age gracefully.
8) Prioritize yourself – Love yourself – Treat yourself. Take a bubble bath, or treat yourself to a massage and steam room. Buy lotion in a scent you love. Eat dark chocolate, or whatever makes you feel good inside. Take time for yourself – it will do wonders. Create a personal space and time for “me time”. Everyone needs time for themselves – it’s not a luxury, but a necessity. To feel at home in your own skin, taking time and space for yourself (however that may be), is important.
9) Always always – drink lots of water. It has healing powers that we will never truly be able to recognize.
10) As my father always taught me, laugh loudly. And as mother always says, stop slouching and make eye contact!