Are you comfortable with who you are?

Are you comfortable with who you are?  Do you like yourself?  Are you happy with your retirement lifestyle?

Or, do you find yourself wishing that you had made different decisions about retirement? Do you put yourself down when you make a silly mistake?  Are you striving too hard to cross items off the bucket list? Do you blame yourself for things that happened in the past? Do you envy the life your friends or neighbours have?

Feeling comfortable with oneself -- photo courtesy of Paul Bouscarle
Feeling comfortable with oneself — photo courtesy of Paul Bouscarle

Comfort in your own skin is an essential ingredient of retirement happiness. People who are comfortable with themselves experience more happiness and optimism.

How to know you are comfortable with yourself

1.  You have a sense of comfortableness.  You don’t worry about keeping up with others. You aren’t preoccupied about how you look.  You don’t get stressed over how your decisions are perceived.

You know your sense of style, your values, your political choices and your religious beliefs.  You know your likes and dislikes.  Basically, you know yourself and know how to be yourself.

2.  You are content with living as you do. Over 60 plus years,  I’ve developed a level of confidence about who I am, where I am and what I know.  Along the way I’ve learned to trust myself to problem solve life issues and to make good life decisions.

I know that I’m not perfect and I accept myself — warts and all. I am content.

I’ve mostly come to terms with my past and have forgiven myself for mistakes and short-comings. It’s taken most of my lifetime to understand and accept my limitations.  I no longer expect to run a marathon nor keep a perfect house, nor write an international bestseller.

3. You have a positive sense of well-being. As I’ve grown comfortable with who I am, I have an overall sense of well-being. I like myself. I am careful with my diet. I exercise regularly.  I drink lots of water.

I pay attention to my overall health, accepting that I have some health issues associated with aging and doing what I can to preserve my general good health.

Keep growing and striving

Having attained a level of comfort with oneself doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to keep striving for or reasons to keep learning. It’s important — for retirement happiness — to keep your mind open to new ideas and to keep a forward-looking attitude to life.

Learning new skills means taking risks and pushing yourself.  The learning process involves discomfort and awkwardness.

Think about how difficult it is to adapt to a new piece of technology, perhaps a new phone.  When you first start using the device it feels clumsy and difficult.  The directions don’t make sense.  But you persist and eventually master at least a few of the functions. While this may seem antithetical to being comfortable, the end result is greater self-confidence and the good feelings of self-mastery.

Growth might also mean challenging yourself to become a better person. Although I feel comfortable with who I am,  I struggle every day to overcome bad habits, insecurities and self-doubts.  I say and do foolish things that hurt others and cause me to regret my words and actions. I procrastinate and then get mad at myself for wasting precious time.

By loving myself despite short-comings, I continue to grow and learn.  Rather than allowing failings to overwhelm or discourage me, I try to focus on the purpose of my life, on making a contribution in my community, and on caring about others.  Using this simple technique help me to refocus and accept my limitations.

Having a happy retirement involves knowing who we are, making peace with the past, and taking risks to keep learning and growing.  Our lives blossom. Contentment grows.  Life is full of abundance and comfort with who we are.

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