Mr. Phil recently invited me to guest on his television show to discuss my new book, soon to be released. When he asked me how long I could spend on the interview, I laughed and said that I can talk as long as he can listen. How can I entertain at length now when just four years ago I was having panic attacks when speaking to a few co-workers? Answer: I am comfortable in my own skin.
Eight pounds a year. That’s about how much skin we shed. I don’t know where my eight pounds landed, but the metamorphosis our bodies make on the sly amazes me. Every four months our red blood cells change, every four days our colon cells slough off and every single minute several skin cells flake off so that in a month’s time we have an entire new layer of epidermis—all of this without me having to consciously coordinate anything (which tickles me because if I had to add this in my schedule, I may never regenerate a single cell).
The skin I am in currently is slightly different than the skin I was in last year or even last month; yet, I am more comfortable in my skin every day. Why? Because there are more layers to my skin that meets the eye or than can be viewed through a microscope. The skin I’m referring to is more than mere flesh—it includes the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies that permeate each cell of this person I call me.
This three-layered skin body we can and do control. It stretches with our experiences, contorting and stretching to fit the shape we mold with our minds. Our thoughts can create a skin that fits us like a glove or one that sags, shabby, faded and too loose to provide the support and comfort we need.
Just like snakes shed their skins to allow room for growth and to shed parasites, so should we embrace changes that challenge the perimeters of the skin we are in. Only when we expand our awareness of what is possible, only when we release those parasitic individuals draining our energy and siphoning our resources without mending their own skin, can we allow the new growth from lessons learned to rise to the surface, our new skin shining with the perfect fit.
This doesn’t happen overnight, stitching and weaving takes practice. Others may not see the new, more comfortable you right away, so be patient with yourself. Try on different hats—literally. Wear an old toboggan around your upscale neighborhood and sense how you feel. Do you feel not worthy? Don a snazzy outfit to the trendy spot in town that you usually avoid because you’re not sure what’s on the menu. Feel out of place?
That’s okay. As a friend of mine says, “They can’t eat you.” And what’s the worst that can happen? Someone laughs at you? So what. Laugh with them. They may be sewing and regenerating their own new skin. Let them. You focus on yours. Besides, the resulting endorphin rush from laughing makes everyone feel good.
My wish for you is that you feel just as comfortable in the skin you’re in no matter whether you’re dining on mashed potatoes at a wooden country-style table or enjoying lobster bisque at a fancy finger-bowl banquet. When you’re skin fits you well, you will be in fashion wherever you go and most importantly, you will always feel the comfort of your own inner designer. Now, strut that new look. Self-improvement never goes out of style.
Michele Savaunah Zirkle is a native of Meigs County, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. Access more at soundcloud.com\lifespeaks.