The Perfectionist’s Pimple

life is wonderful skindeepstory.wordpress.com

I remember reading Louise Hay’s Heal Your Body A-Z: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Way to Overcome Them a few months ago and being really touched when she explained that it is the perfectionist and hyper-critical types who tend to get skin disorders.  This really struck a chord with me because that is exactly who I am.

(By the way, I love Louise Hay and secretly wish she was my wise and loving grandmother.  I bet she bakes a mean apple fritter… but I digress.)

So, the hardest thing for me, as a perfectionist, has been “coming out.”  The only people that know the severity of my acne are my parents.  They are really supportive and I am so grateful for that.  But for some reason I have intense shame about this imperfection.  I have always strived to be beautiful, thin, successful and basically perfect, and can’t imagine letting people in on the big secret. I am anything BUT perfect.

hiding acne with ski mask skindeepstory.wordpress.comWhen you have severe acne, there is NO way to hide it.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  I immediately know if a room has a dimmer switch. I scout out soft and dark lighting.  I have grown my hair out and styled it in such a way to try and cover my face as much as possible.  I try to only hang out in social situations at night when it’s darker.  If I have a “good side” then I will make sure I am always facing that side when I talk to you.  I avoid mirrors at all costs, and I’m just waiting for burglar-style ski masks to come back into fashion.  Do you think they ever will?

If I were giving advice to someone like me, I would say “Wake up!  Your whole life is passing you by because you are obsessed with the impossible task of being perfect.  You are chasing an unrealistic goal.”  Easier said than done.

On the advice of a total stranger on acne.org (but someone who I am very thankful to have met) I decided to let go of the perfect facade for a minute and I “came out” to my sister yesterday.  I told her that I have PCOS and acne that has been ruling my life.  As soon as I said it, I realized there was nothing to be scared about.  She was so understanding and non judgmental.  I let her know that I am not a perfect sister and that right now I am 28, I have acne, I lost my job and I live with my parents.  And you know what?  It felt good to tell her about it and just laugh.  And laugh I did! I mean, this is kind of hilarious…

Strong Beautiful Woman with Acne skindeepstory.wordpress.comYes, this is probably the low point in my life, but with a little change of perspective, and a little loosening of those perfectionistic tendencies, I can see that humor and the gift that is my situation.  Acne is teaching me something new every day.  I let my need for perfectionism create unhappy and unhealthy situations at work, in my relationships, in my social life, family life, and personal emotional world.

Little by little, I am letting go.  Life is not about being perfect.  If you live that way you are constantly dismissing what’s right in front of you:  The beautiful imperfections that make up your story.

Daily Affirmation: I love my imperfections.

Are YOU a perfectionist?  Check out this article about the Top Traits of Perfectionism.  This was quite an eye opener for me…

Love to hear your feedback.  Feel free to comment below!

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Gratitude

Gratitude - Skin Deep Story

Wondering why I’ve been absent recently?  Here’s why.

In the past week I lost my job, moved in with my parents, and got diagnosed with PCOS.  Yeah…that’s a whole lotta whole lotta.  Let’s just say I needed some time to process.

So you’re probably wondering what’s with the title?

I have two choices here.  I can wallow in self-pity or I can focus on what I do have.  I choose both – sort of.

wallowing with ice cream - skin deep storyQuite honestly, I’ve been wallowing.  Big time.  I stayed in bed, watched way too many movies, ignored all my friends, cried, ate a truckload of chocolate, and now, honestly, I’m just bored of it.  Wallowing gets old really fast.

I’m ready to move on and move up.  And the best way to do this is to witness all the amazing aspects of my life that I can be grateful for.

Today I am grateful because (drumroll please…), my skin is finally improving!  With the PCOS diagnosis I chose to go back on a pill I used to take called Spironolactone.  To some this may seem like “cheating.”  This is a holistic site for curing acne, right?  Yes, it is.  And I have tried every holistic and natural diet potion, lotion, herb and meditation out there.  I am thin with PCOS so unlike most overweight people who have this disorder, I’m not able to diminish the symptoms by simply losing weight.  Believe me, I’ve tried it (see my last post).  So I made peace with the fact that for me, going semi holistic is my path.  And I am fine with that.

Anyway, that’s a little off topic, but what I really want to say is, I’M SO GRATEFUL!  My skin is finally improving.  I’m noticing the changes every day.  Yes, I am looking at tons of red marks that I pray will eventually fade.  And there are a few new pimples that arise but they are smaller and not as physically (and emotionally) painful.  And I will have to continue to cover up with makeup while my skin heals.  But wow.  This is the first hint of light I’ve had for months!

Happy Skin Deep Story

This reminds me how important the title of my blog is.  Skin Deep.  The state of my skin is not a shallow issue for me.  It hits me on such a deep level.  It’s been a source of pure and utter depression.  It’s caused me to isolate myself.  Binge eat.   Abuse drugs.  And limit my life to a self-punishing standard of living.  What I know is that my skin is a true gift.  I am so grateful because if it didn’t literally get “in my face” and tell me my life is on the wrong path, I would never have woken up.

So today I have immense gratitude for my skin.  Not just because it is clearing, but it showed me there is so much more to life.  I’m ready to start the next chapter and learn that life does not have to be a painful battle to make it from one day to the next.  I choose freedom, happiness, adventure and love. 

Losing my job and getting this diagnosis has been a total blessing. I get a fresh start to map out the life I’ve always wanted but never had the courage to go after.  Can’t wait to see what life brings me now!

I finally got the courage to start Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles book today – so with that said my affirmation is:

I am willing to witness my fear.

So far I am loving this book.  You may want to give it a try too 🙂

New Year’s Resolution

2013 New Year's Resolution - SkinDeepStory.Blogspot.com

I’ve been ODing on The Love Vitamin videos (I really love this girl – see below for more info) and feeling guilty about all the poor diet decisions I’ve made these last few days just waiting for inspiration to kick in so I could write this New Year’s Resolution post.  I don’t want to make the same old “I’ll eat better” or “I’ll exercise every day” resolution.  This type of restriction causes more harm than good and ultimately implodes on itself.  So…how do I make a powerful resolution that I can actually keep?

By simplifying.  With all of the challenges I am facing trying to change my lifestyle, my mindset, my physical and emotional health, and, of course, my skin, I found one simple tool that I can implement to really make a difference in ALL of these areas.

I am always able to see the big picture after I’ve done the damage.  I’ll binge on a bunch of sugar or go overboard with exercise or procrastinate at work until I just end up stressed and working late.  Later on I can see that I made a poor decision based on emotional stress, but at the time I can’t stop myself.  But this is exactly it.  I need to STOP.  If I can just recognize in the moment when I am about to do something I might regret and then, here’s the best part – STEP AWAY FOR A MINUTE – then I can lose that negative momentum and make a better choice.

So my resolution this year is to hit the pause button. Whenever my actions are not reflecting my goals I will literally STOP in my tracks, walk out of the room if necessary, and pick up my journal, breathe, pour a mug of hot tea, or do something else that will calm, soothe and bring perspective into my decisions.  I might decide not to eat that extra slice of cake OR I might decide that it is okay.  Either way, I am at least doing so mindfully.

That’s it!  It sounds simple, but I know it is an incredibly powerful resolution.  I’m truly excited to put this into practice.

What’s your resolution?

P.S. Here’s my favorite Love Vitamin video – this girl has been such an inspiration for me on my journey and I really appreciate all of her tips and encouragement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-KDbq2psZE

Plan B

free happy woman holistic cure for acne

These last few days I’ve been relaxing, just enjoying life, not worrying about my diet like crazy – in fact I’ve eaten things I would NEVER have before.  I just let go.  I gave myself permission to do this and I didn’t punish myself.  And…my skin is looking much better.  Proof that my anxiety has a huge toll on my skin.  Sure, physical things like diet, sleep and exercise make a difference – but the biggest improvement always comes from just relaxing.  Managing my stress and enjoying life.

I listened to a lot of Eckart Tolle yesterday and I am realizing it’s imperative that I learn to take quiet time and be more present.  Right now these distractions are possible because it’s a holiday and I don’t have to work.  But when the time comes when I must be present, when there is an issue at work or I have to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time, I need to prepare myself to be totally present and at ease.

Eckart’s whole strategy is when you find your mind wandering and the anxiety creeping in, it’s only because you are not being fully present.  Just allow yourself to be aware of these thoughts, recognize that they exist but that they are not you, and bring yourself back into the present moment because “in the now” no problem can possibly exist.

So, plan B.  I thought I could just “be more present” in my life, but now I think I need to kind of schedule it.  Now, I don’t want to create any rules the way I always do, but I am aiming to get at least 10 minutes a day of being fully present.  Every day.  I can fit this in whenever.

And in general, I am just going to pay attention to my thoughts and notice when the anxiety comes in.  It’s true that it is always about something I am worried about in the future (or sometimes the past) and never the present moment.  If I’m not living for the present moment, I am not living.

Intention: To become aware of thoughts that do not serve me, and to live right now, in the present.  This is my Christmas gift to myself.

Affirmation: I have the power to heal myself.