Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Clothes Really DO Make the Man (or Woman)

So what, exactly, is the right thing that one should wear that presents confidence, and a well-adjusted self image? Is it an expensive suit? A red (power) tie? Polished shoes? Or a sharp hat? (I'm a wearer of hats, so I had to include that in the list.) As for the ladies, would the same items, outside of the tie, be on the list?

Any of the above would most likely work, but what if I told you that the one, sure-fire item that you could wear was your "birthday suit"?

My wife is the most beautiful woman on the planet. Of course, I'm biased: I'm madly in love with her. But what was it that drew me to her? The person I fell in love with was (and is still today) confident, beautiful, and enjoying life. It wasn't what she wore on the outside, but what she wore underneath her clothes. She was (and is to this day) what I would call "comfortable in her own skin".

She laughingly says that I came along and ruined her plans. She had no intentions of getting married until she was 80. We were acquainted with each other in high school, but didn't get together until our 20-year reunion. Two years later we were married. We halved her plans! But why me? She says the same thing: I was comfortable in my own skin. I've told my wife that I'm so glad we didn't try to get together 20 years ago. I don't think she would have liked the person I was. For one thing, I was not comfortable in my own skin back then.

So, what, exactly, does it mean to be comfortable in one's own skin? It doesn't mean you have all of the answers. It means you are okay with knowing what you do, and not knowing what you don't. It doesn't mean that you have reached the pinnacle of growth. It means you are comfortable in the position you are in in life, and are open to the changes to come. And it doesn't mean that you are necessarily happy with the way you look in the mirror. It means you are respectful of the image you see, but are not afraid to give it the T.L.C. that it deserves.

My youngest niece is 15 years old. I personally can't believe it. She is in her freshman year of high school, whereas I keep thinking she is just going into first grade. But that is my own hang up; her being my youngest niece. In reality, she is an incredible young lady. One of the coolest things about her is that she is her own person. She doesn't follow a crowd, nor does she see the crowd and "rebel" against it. She is, at 15, comfortable in her own skin. Do you have any idea how rare that is?

If you have been a reader of this blog for a while, you may be asking how I can say I'm comfortable in my own skin, after making the decision to go on this sabbatical from "intellectual Christianity" (see: "Oh to be Ignorant", "Hey, Babe: Take a Walk on the Quiet Side", and "Where Do We Go From Here?"). Please understand, it takes BEING comfortable in one's own skin to make a decision such as this. This was not the action of someone who was looking for something to make himself a "whole" person. A person who is "co-dependent" on something - even church - could not make such a decision. That type of person would simply be running away from things - or running towards something else. You know, looking for something to make them "whole".

Life brings many opportunities and challenges. With those opportunities and challenges come decisions that can turn out to be wise or foolish. The secret is, that no matter the outcomes, you have to be okay with who you are.

Learn to be comfortable in your own skin: it's the only "power suit" one ever needs to wear.

© Emittravel 2014

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