Could you ever truly love the person behind the acne?

A while ago, I received a really amazing email from a lady named Sera about this very subject.

If you’re signed up to my newsletter, you may have already received an email that I have sent out about how to stop staring in the mirror so much. In it, it describes the extra pain and suffering we are causing ourselves by continuing to examine our skin at every possible opportunity. It then goes on to describe ways in which you can break the habit. One idea is to simply get rid of your mirrors.

However, Sera replied to this email with some insights on why simply avoiding the mirror may not hold all the solutions. And I think that she’s onto something. In fact, it reminds me a lot about this post I wrote recently about accepting your anxieties.

Please take a look at what she wrote: 

Hi Tracy!

I really liked this post and thought I’d add one idea to it.

Some time ago I made a discovery (based on your main idea that stress = acne) about my internal dialog when it comes to facing the mirror. Although we can just ignore the mirror altogether in the hopes that we don’t stress as much about our acne, that doesn’t really solve the problem of feeling miserable when we look at ourselves eventually – it just prolongs it.

So how do we address the REAL issue of feeling miserable while looking at ourselves in the mirror and only seeing acne? How do we eliminate the stress of seeing yet another spot of red on our face?

The answer I found really changed things around for me (and I owe this discovery in part to you!).

The problem is, we look at ourselves and think the opposite of what we want to think about ourselves. We look at ourselves and think we look terrible, or that we aren’t beautiful, or we aren’t lovable, or one hundred other miserable stories. These stories tend to run our lives and have us racing ourselves to the mirror to get the latest update on the most recent acne.

So! The discovery I made was this: Love the acne.

I know it’s gonna sound a bit crazy at first, but honestly, ignoring the problem and imagining life without it just makes it worse when you go back to the mirror eventually and see how much acne you still have. So what needs to happen is a sort of “understanding” of the acne, or really, of the person behind the acne, because the more you understand something, the more you love it.

The thing is, you need to look at yourself in the mirror, and really see the person who’s hurting, who’s been telling them-self they are ugly and unworthy of love, because really and simply, that person just wants to be loved. So that’s what we do. We give that person love.

And how do we give that person love?

Imagine for a moment the feeling of having someone you trust, look directly into your eyes and tell you they love everything about you. Or imagine someone kissing each spot of acne on your face, and telling you they love the flawed and beautiful you, exactly as you are. THAT’S the feeling you want to have when you look in the mirror. One of gratitude that someone could love you THAT much; a feeling of acceptance for who you are; compassion for the hurting person you see in the mirror every day. That kind of feeling is the OPPOSITE of stress – which is the opposite of acne!

So really, in the end what it comes down to, is accepting your own feelings and showing compassion for yourself. And I don’t mean you in particular, Tracy, but just a general “you” to each of us who fight it.

I think we need to accept the feelings we have about ourselves and tell ourselves it’s ok to feel the feelings of fear, rejection, loneliness or worry because those feelings are there for a reason. These feelings are there to tell us something, and if we can accept them instead of fight them, we are a good step closer to living a happier life – and totally, finally free of acne!

Love from a distant fan,

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What do you think? Could you ever learn to love the person behind the acne?

photo by ohmannalianne