A few months ago I read a book on self-compassion, which has always been a topic that's been really interesting to me (one of minors in college was Psych, so I'm really interested in this kind of stuff). Anyway, one of the tools that the book discusses to cope with self-judgement is treating yourself how you would treat a friend.
So, for example, if a friend came to you and said something along the lines of:
"I'm so ugly with acne."
"I don't want to draw any attention to myself, so I'll just stay in my house or keep quiet in public."
"I just want to live in a bubble for three months until this problem (hopefully) goes away."
I've said all of these. Especially the last one. How nice it would be to go into hiding during the healing process. Where you can clean your face twice a day and wear no makeup and no one will see you and you'll emerge with a clear face and smooth complexion.
But there aren't any bubbles (wahhh). And people with acne are still beautiful. And they should try their absolute best to keep their spirit.
That's probably something you would tell your friend, right? Well, hopefully.
Anyway, enter in the letter to yourself. I just started the regimen two days ago, and when I took the pictures to document my journey, I noticed how bad my acne had really become. The worst of my life. I went into that awful spiral of negativity. I noticed I've been staying in more so I don't have to go out with acne. I've been keeping my head down when I walk anywhere instead of smiling at people and saying hello like I used to. I miss the old me and it's been difficult to deal with the pain.
So, as I was midway through a spiral of negativity last night, I remembered the self-compassion book and decided to write a letter to myself. But as I was writing, I wrote as if I was writing to a friend who was going through the same situation.
And you know what? I felt way better after I finished. So I thought I would share it on this blog in case anyone wants an example. I doubt a lot of people will read this, but if I can help one person in their struggle, I'll be happy. I write in a journal (yup, old school!) just before bed, so I can go to sleep and wake up on a positive note, ready for the day ahead. So here it is:
November 8, 2013
Just take a deep breath. The kind where you close your eyes and feel your belly expand and then hold it in. Then release, let it fall. Your breath is always yours.
Stop worrying what people think of you acne. What's the worst they can think?
"She's not healthy."
"She doesn't wash her face."
Stop worrying about when people's eyes circle around your face. They will judge you for a few minutes and then go back to their own insecurities. If anything, they'll take away an appreciation for their own skin.
And what a beautiful thing.
To give someone that gift.
Even with acne on your face.
Stop worrying about drawing attention to yourself.
Remember that quote? That some people's purpose may be to simply spread joy. To smile at strangers. To smile through bullshit. To smile every day.
Don't play the victim in your own life. Lots of people endure things that aren't fair.
Be grateful for the health you have. Keep:
Running with music.
Going to yoga.
Walking around the lake.
This will keep you strong physically.
But remember it's okay to have a bad day. To cry. To want to stay home. To lay in bed and watch crappy reality television.
You're only human after all.
Be proud that you gave your self and body the time and chance it deserves. You would have always wondered and you would have gone down this path at some point anyway.
Be proud of how you've changed your body. You improved your diet three years ago and you're still sticking it out. You committed yourself to working out and you're still at it every week.
No insulin problem or pre-diabetes for you!
Remember to stay strong. Don't give up on yourself. You are worth it.
Be patient. For now, accept what is and accept that you're doing your best.
Progress is beautiful.
Breathe through it and don't be controlled by time. Keep living and striving and being. Don't wait. Let this pass and keep living, or it will make your life pass by.
Always find your peace, create your happy, and share your love,