Hopefully you found the time to take a gander through my soul baring article I posted two days ago about my new life in Australia with my boyfriend’s parents, my subsequent loss of control over my eating habits, and my mini freak outs. If not, I suggest you read it here.
The theme of that article was that I came to realize how much I control my food in order to control my skin. There’s nothing wrong with not liking acne and there’s certainly nothing wrong with healthy eating – but the truth is that I can tell now that I’m not really doing it to control my acne, I’m doing it to keep a handle on my FEAR of the pain that bad acne causes me.
If I can control, then the pain cannot control me.
The fact is though – trying to control things that either a) cannot be controlled or b) are in the realm of someone else’s business is what causes serious anxiety.
We spend a lot of our time swimming upstream against reality. We constantly fight what is.
For most of us acne sufferers, reality is that our skin is not in an ideal state, and we hate that reality. We can’t stand that reality. It makes us feel desperate and sad. It makes us feel out of control.
Being out of control is horrendously difficult. It feels very scary and in order to feel okay, we tend to choose something within our reach that can be controlled.
For me, that is my food and this is common amongst acne sufferers. For those of us with acne who are not taking the holistic approach, our control is often exerted through the use of products and medications. For people without skin problems, they may choose to control other people, their routines, or even their response to the weather.
But it rarely works the way we want and that leaves us reeling. Even if things do go according to our plans, we’re still left with that anxiety and fear about what could possibly happen to us if we lose our steel grip – if we cannot eat according to plan, or if we cannot wash our faces and apply our medications in the usual way.
So how do you just let go?
First of all – I want to address this fairly obvious objection that is probably cropping up in your mind right now – is there a difference between letting go and giving up? Are you asking me to stop trying to get rid of my acne?
No, I’m asking you to try to:
Accept How Things Are
Control What You Can
Let Go of The Rest
For me, this means accepting that I may not have complete control anymore, and that even if it results in a bit more acne, then that is how it is. It won’t be forever.
The second part is eating relatively healthy because I want to (which has nothing to do with being fearful), but not having a perfect, strict diet (which IS based in fear). In other words, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch – because I can. I am also making a point to get lots of physical activity in to offset any dietary discrepancies.
The third part is choosing not to be anxious about what we’re eating for dinner with my boyfriend’s parents, because I can’t control that. I mean, I guess technically I could muscle in and take control, but I don’t think I should do that – I feel it’s unnecessary and that that would just be me giving into my fear.
Okay… is it really a choice though? Can you just turn the anxiety off?
Well here is something I was thinking about the other day…. why are so many people religious and have a close relationship with God? I’ve never been a religious person, and can’t say I ever really “got” it.
But I had a bit of an epiphany the other day when I realized that this is how people just let go of their worries that are beyond their control. It feels good to leave them with a higher power to deal with…. to sort them out for you, and to feel faith that whatever happens, it’s all going to be okay because whatever is out there has got your back.
Whether any higher power – God, the Universe, Gaia, Spirit – is objectively a “real” thing is not really important – it’s more the spiritual connection that can help you to transcend your anxiety that is.
Personally, I am not about to go to church or join an organized religion because that doesn’t resonate with me. I’m more of the ‘new agey’ type, so I prefer the Universe.
You have to find whatever works for you.
Whatever it is, you have to believe that this higher power is a friendly one. There is no point putting your faith into a negative and volatile entity – you must learn to have faith that this power is on your side.
In fact, I tried this the other day in a real life situation and it definitely helped.
You see, about a week before I was to catch my plane down to Australia, my passport somehow ended up in a pool of water on our kitchen table.
However, when my boyfriend, Luke, found the passport in the water, he freaked out considering there was no time before our flight to get a new one. He called Passport Canada and they told him that any damage at all and the passport was unusable.
However, I didn’t think it was that bad – there was a bit of smeared pen, but you could still see all the important stuff. Would they really turn me away because of this? Don’t they have bigger fish to fry?
So it was all well and good, but when I was actually standing in line at the airport, of course my anxiety began to bubble up.
What IF they said something about it? What IF they actually turned me away?
But then I thought – you know what – that hasn’t happened yet. It’s likely nothing will happen, and if it does, worry about it afterwards. I then decided to give my worries to the Universe. I can’t control the outcome – let the Universe do it. I asked it to take my anxiety and give me a positive outcome.
I immediately felt better. And hey, I made it through – no one even mentioned the passport. But even if they had – would it really be the end of the world? Would it be something I couldn’t recover from? No. It would suck, but life would go on.
Okay that’s it. Do you have a special way of letting go, or surrendering your control?