This is a guest post by Samantha Lahonen, a registered holistic nutritionist who blogs over at TheCoffeeandWine.com
Here is my acne story; the first time I am sharing it with the world – it’s scary but exciting! My hope is that after hearing my story at least one person will come to transform their life as I have mine.
At the budding age of 15 my body decided it had something to teach me, so it decorated my face with a bout of acne that would pursue for the next five years.
As a health nut, naturally I spent the first four of those years trying every holistic skin remedy I could get my hands on.
I switched to a vegan diet, bought an aloe vera plant, took supplements, read books on health, meditated, exercised, attended the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to become an RHN… until I lived and breathed the mantra “clear my acne.”
I spent those first four years hiding my face behind makeup, ashamed. I felt like showing my real skin was somehow offensive and that I would be unworthy of my friends and my boyfriend if they could see who I really was.
Of course, it was still noticeable and they could see it – this I came to realize when one day a “friend” stated in front of everyone that she couldn’t be vegan like I was because I had acne. Mortified, I left school early and went home and cried.
Those first four years I rejected who I was. I spent every single day frustrated, wondering “why me?” and “why was nothing working?” My skin would get better, and then it would get worse, then better, then worse again.
I moved to harsher methods –Proactiv- which only slightly helped so I ended up giving up on that.
I rejected myself to such a point that for about 6 months I spent every night before bed wishing my life away. As if a life with acne was not a life at all.
Changing Course; Learning Acceptance
This past year, the fifth year, I took a different approach. I decided to learn about self love and acceptance.
There is a difference between being healthy (eating well, proper sleep, exercise), and well-being (physical, mental, spiritual, psychological, social balance). Being obsessed with being healthy was not working to clear my skin so I started becoming more aware of my thoughts and how I would let them run on.
My acne had caused me to develop anxiety so I often found myself sitting in my room thinking, “That person ignored me today… They don’t like me… That other person doesn’t like me either…No one likes me… I don’t fit in anywhere…” and this would run on until I felt like a turtle that never wanted to leave its shell – until one day I stopped dead in my tracks.
I realized that I had let one thought turn into countless other thoughts that only made me feel worse and weren’t even actually true. What have I been doing for the past 4 years? So that day I sat on my bed and instead of running my negative thought pattern like usual, I just laughed.
You see, if you become more aware of your thoughts you take back the power you had given away and become able to change negativity into positivity, creativity, and productivity.
As simple an affirmation as, “I love and accept myself” has the ability to alter the way your brain thinks over time. You don’t even have to believe it at first, just repeat it over and over.
The more you focus on loving yourself, the more you will see that there is to love. You will come to love all that you are, therefore accepting all that you are.
Embracing My Authentic Self
I also worked on releasing the need for my acne. I realized that I always hid myself and acne was an excuse to not put my authentic self out to the world, for fear of rejection.
What I’ve also come to realize is that your end goal can’t be changing yourself; therefore it can’t be getting rid of your acne. The goal has to be love and acceptance for yourself in the face of judgment not only from others but from your own self judgment.
When you start to care more about accepting and being yourself than being “perfect,” change begins. So when your mind presents you with the thought, “I’m not worthy,” recognize it, let it go, and then remind yourself, “no, you know what, I am awesome and beautiful and special and I am worthy!”
When you feel down or find yourself falling into an old negative thought pattern that is the pivotal moment to express love for yourself. “I’m perfect as I am.”
Putting your true self out there is scary, but there is no greater gift than the freedom that comes with self love and self acceptance. There will be bad days, but then there will be you; rising up, dusting yourself off, stronger than ever and ready to conquer anything!
Beautiful thoughts make a beautiful life.
Thank you for reading. 🙂
Samantha is a cat loving Registered Holistic Nutritionist currently studying Kinesiology and a Psychology minor at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about reading, writing, photography and frolicking in nature.
A wellness nut and aspiring life coach, Samantha has a blog dedicated to helping others enhance their own well-being and flourish with self-love. Check out her blog at TheCoffeeandWine.com and find her on YouTube @ Samantha Lahonen.