Most of us are not truly happy with who we are.

Maybe we are overly critical, or bury our problems under alcohol or food.

Some of us have such poor self-esteem that we let others tread on us.  Maybe we cover up insecurities with arrogance or lash out to alleviate our own pain.  These are very different behaviours and can range from major to minor, but the root of the problem is always an internal state of discontent.   So many of us are at odds with ourselves and just don’t feel comfortable in our own skin.  Simply, we are experiencing a lack of harmony.

Chinese philosophy embraces both mankind and the cosmos as fundamentally perfect and whole underneath all of the confusion and details.

An even deeper explanation would say that the universe is not separate from us, rather it is something that lies within.  When attuned to this wisdom, we experience a state of wellbeing.  It is at these times of equilibrium that we feel at ease with ourselves and life in general.  It is easy to accept ourselves and live life on life’s terms.  Balance can be achieved no matter the circumstances.  It is relative, meaning that it looks different for different people depending on their situation.  For one person it is being in peak physical condition, having a great job, and being wealthy.  A person with a terminal illness could find a state of harmony by accepting the disease, managing the symptoms, and appreciating positive support from loved ones.  Ultimate harmony is an enlightened state beyond all fear and doubts.  Few are ready to tackle such a momentous task, but no worries.  We can always do the best we can with what we have and find peace at this stage of the journey.  Another idea crucial to the Chinese way of thinking is the interconnectedness of all things.  Nothing operates in isolation; what affects one affects all, so being in harmony with yourself means being in harmony with the whole and vice versa.  There is an emphasis on being aligned with nature for good physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  The third major principle is the idea of yang and yin.  Yang and yin are elements whose interaction forms the basic building blocks of all things in existence.   Nothing is completely yang or yin, and one cannot exist without the other.  Instead the pair of opposites fluctuates in reaction to the other, like a see-saw.  Yang is hot, light, and active, and yin is cold, dark, and passive.  A balance of the two is necessary for a harmonious existence.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) applies the ideas from broader Chinese spirituality to individual functioning.

TCM sees the body as equipped with innate healing powers so the goal of TCM is to realign the system to a state of equilibrium.  When this happens, the mind/body/spirit becomes aware of its wholeness and heals itself.  Any mental agitation will automatically be treated by adjusting the physical system.  Health is harmony.  The human body is seen as a microcosm of the universe, complete with the same elements, natural cycles, rhythms, and processes you find in nature, and TCM seeks to regulate these while simultaneously aligning the patient with their environment and encouraging lifestyle habits that will maintain balance.  Not feeling comfortable with yourself can manifest in many ways.  Poor boundaries can make you feel confined and frustrated, and correcting weak liver energy may free you from this burden.  Maybe your shen (a person’s spiritual aspect) is disturbed and needs to be calmed to feel better about who you are.  Blockages in the heart causing low self-esteem may need to be removed.  No matter the cause, a variety of TCM treatments can help guide you back to balance. Click here to make an appointment.

Much of this work can be done mentally and it is best to be proactive.  Take a moment and think about life.  Imagine a brilliant light burning within all creatures.  Think of the universe as a vast, elaborate web in which we are all connected.  Look at the fluctuations of yin and yang.  How intricate and beautiful!

Now look at your own life.

  • Do you think of yourself as something whole?
  • Something precious?
  • Is this a concept you can even imagine?

If you are struggling, practice, self-acceptance, and self-appreciation.  There is no reason to reject something so glorious.  We cannot divorce ourselves from our surroundings.

Start examining the relationships in your life.

  • Are they positive and nourishing or negative and draining?
  • What is your relationship to your family, friends, community, occupation, and finances?
  • Are you aware of the rhythms of nature?
  • Do you know how to live harmoniously with them?
  • Are you aware of your own body’s patterns and rhythms?
  • Do you have sound lifestyle habits that support health?

Finding stability with the yin and yang of life can be so delicate.

  • Do you balance work and rest, seriousness and play, the inner and the outer?
  • Are you living an authentic life?
  • Are you making choices that feel good in your soul?

This can seem pretty complicated and overwhelming

The simplest way to feel comfortable in your own skin is to love.  Harmony is love, loving yourself, loving others, loving everything.  The world opens up in delightful and unexpected ways when we love because it immediately moves us towards a state of harmony.  It’s also good to be patient with yourself and remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.  It’s a process.  There is an important Chinese concept called “wu-wei”.  It translates as “not doing”, but means “not forcing”.  It says that things open up by themselves, according to their nature, and describes a state of being where our actions align effortlessly with the natural order of things.  It is the pinnacle of “going with the flow”.  We feel both relaxed and focused, and are able to easily respond to the ever changing climate of life.  Let yourself blossom.  It will happen if you allow it to be so.