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.
When 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…
Yes, 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…
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