The French have an expression I love – bien dans sa peau. The literal translation is “well in one’s skin”. It means to feel content, comfortable and at ease with yourself.
I love this expression because it conjures such a wonderful image of a strong, healthy, positive, happy person – a person without artifice, without self-consciousness, without acrimony.
The French seem to have a knack for it. So do some other Europeans. I haven’t seen it too much in North America. I suppose it has a lot to do different societal expectations. What is considered attractive in Europe is not the same thing as what is considered attractive here.
We seem to insist that everyone have straight, blond (unethnic) hair; an unlined, artfully made-up face; and be slim and gym-toned. In other parts of the world, different things are important.
Perhaps this makes it easier for them to be feel good about how they look, and because of how they feel, it makes it easier for them to look good. Because what is more attractive than someone who seems happy, healthy and confident?
Nothing, that’s what.
How about you? Do you feel comfortable in your skin?
It’s something to strive for, I think. And it shouldn’t matter what your shape or size is, or whether you look have the face of a model or a face that looks like a bag of hammers. If you feel strong and confident and healthy and happy you’ll feel good in your skin.
But can you still feel good about yourself if you believe others are looking at you and making judgments about you based on your wrinkles and bulges and other various and sundry flaws?
I think it gets easier as you get older to be more accepting of your body, regardless of what others might think of it. But there’s always something that causes a bit (or a lot) of discontent, isn’t there?
I usually feel pretty good about myself. I haven’t always. I was a shapeless stick until I was in my 20s. Then I developed some padding – not all of it where I wanted it, of course – but enough that people finally recognized me as female without a lot of intense scrutiny.
I don’t go in for a lot of fancy cosmetic products and like to keep my hair as natural as possible and that makes me feel good. But I have to say that I don’t feel so good if I don’t exercise regularly and eat right. That padding I developed in my 20s seems to duplicate itself with each passing decade…. but still never where I actually want it, of course.
So, I have to be more careful about my diet every year and make sure I run regularly and make sure I get some strength and flexibility training in and just generally make sure I keep moving in between.
And when I get to where those habits become routine, I feel pretty good. But then something interrupts that routine and I get lazy for a few weeks and then I don’t feel so good.
What do you suppose the secret is to feeling bien dans sa peau? How do those French do it? Coffee and cigarettes? Wearing black? Is it all a sham? Do you know anyone who is truly comfortable in his/her skin? Can you ask them what their secret it, please?