Yes, you read that title correctly. I was surprised to discover this myself. In fact, if you would have told me ten years ago, or even five, that my future self would say she loved it when her face broke out, younger me would have laughed in your face.
And yet, here I am, slowly getting over one of the worst breakouts I’ve had in years, and actually appreciating the experience. Let me explain.
It started just before the holidays. I first saw how bad it was a mile above the earth, flying to the east coast to spend Christmas with my boyfriend’s family. In the (really unflattering) light of the airplane bathroom, I caught a glimpse of my face.
“Oh my god! Where’d all these spots come from?!” My face and neck were covered in red marks and pimply spots.
Eep! My face hadn’t been that covered in years! I felt horrible because I was going to look like I had measles during the holidays.
As luck would have it though, my skin calmed down enough by Christmas eve that some cover up hid most of the remaining spots, and it seemed by Christmas day I was almost back to normal.
“Phew! That was weird,” I thought. It must have been a weird allergic reaction. The rest of our trip my skin was looking great – perhaps even better than normal (being away from the harsh Los Angeles water often helps my skin.)
But then, just 24 hours after arriving back in LA – the spots were back. Now, I pride myself on being an acne detective, but I was stumped! I had no idea what was going on with my skin or what to do about it. And soon, an old familiar pattern of thoughts came creeping up.
What if this never gets better? What will people think when they see me? Will my boyfriend think I’m less attractive? Am I doing something wrong? I don’t want to be seen like this. I look awful.
Looking in the mirror several days after the return of the spots, I felt a lump rise in my throat and tears well up in my eyes. And then – I started laughing. Laughing!
It occurred to me to do what I tell my clients to do. Ask yourself, “what is your acne trying to show you?”
Of course! This was the perfect opportunity to practice what I preach! I am constantly telling women that the condition of your skin does NOT reflect the person you are. You CAN feel good about yourself and your life, despite dealing with spots on your face. You get to choose whether or not your skin ruins your day.
I had an instant change of attitude. I actually thanked my skin. “Thank you spots and pimples and redness for testing my sense of self worth. But not today. Today you will not make me feel less than. Today I will be reminded that you have no power over how I choose to think about myself. And that feels wonderful. So thank you very much!”
I’m grateful for “the episode”. It has given me a renewed sense of what my clients are going through. Prior to this, my skin had been behaving fairly nicely for the past several years, so I’d almost forgotten what it was like. It’s one thing to tell people, “this is what you do to feel better about your skin”, and a complete other to actually do it. I hadn’t had to do that work in quite some time.
Thank you, skin, for the refresher.
I have no idea what caused the onset of spots and pimples. I’m still guessing it was some sort of allergic reaction. To what, I have no idea.
The breakout lasted a few weeks, but after that moment of realization, it was only a minor nuisance emotionally. Just as I tell my clients, I kept telling myself, “stop, that’s not helping” any time one of those old crappy thoughts came sneaking up. I distracted myself if I started to focus on it too much, and I stopped staring at my skin in the mirror. Never underestimate your own power to change the direction of your thoughts, and thus how you feel.
I have no way to prove it of course, but I personally feel changing my attitude and my perspective and letting go of the stress about my skin likely helped everything calm down faster. What a wonderful lesson to be relearned. And I also know that going forward, I’m going to love it when my skin breaks out. It will be another chance to ask myself, “what is my acne trying to show me?”
If you’d like help in doing this for yourself, please reach out to me. I’m happy to help you do this wonderful work for yourself.
Until next time my friends.
Main image courtesy of m_bartosch at freedigitalphotos.net