For the last six years, I’ve been traveling down the bumpy road (pun intended) of managing cystic acne and the scars it leaves behind. When it began in 2010, I was in a very emotionally raw place in my life, not feeling too great about myself. And of course, the onset of blemishes everywhere didn't help that.
The next four years were spent trying everything—and I mean everything—I could get my hands on. Chemical peels, product kits, all-natural ... everything would work for about a week, and then slowly stop, leaving me feeling repeatedly let down, which would then lead to a vicious cycle of picking, guilt, depression, and so on.
(You know what I’m talking about.)
At the time, I was working with a therapist-of-sorts named Thomas Jones, who ironically reminds me of Indiana Jones with a charming and characteristically witty sense of humor. During one session, he leaned back in his chair, folded his hands in his lap, and with a big, sly grin asked, “Isn’t it time to declare peace with your body?”
That question stuck with me. I realized that even though I had switched to more natural products and cleaned up my diet, I was still attacking my body because all my motives were driven by fear rather than because I wanted to take care of myself. And because they were driven by fear, I was still picking like crazy, still standing two inches away from the mirror and inspecting every little bump, still eating in a very disordered and neurotic way.
He was right. It was time to declare peace.
Over the last year, I’ve been on a gradual journey back to self-compassion, something that wasn't an overnight change (although I believe it can and may be for some). For me, it was a road of trial and error. My reality was one step forward, two steps back, until it began to become two steps forward, one back.
Slowly, through a consistent practice of Kundalini yoga, meditation, journaling, and other healing modalities, I began to feel that my motivation was changing. An inner shift began to alchemize and I felt a genuine desire to take care of rather than attack myself.
Even though there are still physical signs and symptoms healing is still taking place, I feel better, more optimistic. I can see my skin healing. I can feel my heart healing after years and years of self-hate and self-sabotage. By finding motivation in self-care rather than through self-sabotage, the uphill battle slowly begins to disappear.
Here are a few tips on how to start treating your skin and yourself better: