It’s soooo easy to throw yourself a pity party, when an uninvited pimple parade shows up on your face. You’ll hide your face behind pounds of makeup, or even turn down social situations altogether. You get mad at your skin, and cry because it’s frustrating, it’s embarrassing, and hell, it just ain’t fair. You’re an adult after all, not some hormonally-enraged teenager!
I know the easy thing to do is to embrace the emotion and allow yourself to be swallowed up by the depression and anxiety that acne can bring on.
But sometimes, the easy thing, isn’t always the right thing.
That’s why I’m challenging you today to look your acne square in the face, and instead of seeing it for the red, puss-filled, inflamed asshole that it appears to be on the surface, I want you to ask yourself some serious questions that reflect on the positive gifts that your acne has given you.
Gratitude is the New Attitude
Gratitude has been shown to be incredibly transformative. In fact, a 2003 study by Emmons and McCullough found that when folks intentionally tracked their gratitude everyday, they reported an increased sense of well-being, better sleep, willingness to accept change, and a reduction in their symptoms of physical pain. 
So what does this have to do with your acne? Well, the way I see it, is that when you can reframe your problematic skin in a positive light, you will start to feel better overall. In my own personal experience, when I feel better, I tend to have better daily habits and disciplines that serves my skin instead of exacerbates my acne. This may mean that you are less inclined to binge on sugar because emotionally you feel blue, or maybe your anxiety is lessened so you’re less inclined to pick your skin.
Identifying some of the key ways that your acne has had a positive effect on your life can help ground you, and help you in your healing process, when things seem extra shitty.
Why I Am Thankful for my Acne
To help you understand this whole grateful-for-your-acne business, I wanted to share with you the 5 main things that came up for me when I did this exercise.
My acne made me get serious about my own health. Your acne is your body’s way of communicating to you that something isn’t right in your body. Like a check oil light in a car, my acne made me take pause and do some serious investigation as to what was going. This involved my own research, countless years of experimenting with different birth controls and drugs, and engaging with doctors and naturopaths, until I finally understood the imbalances in my body that were at the root of my acne. Once I had this awareness, I was able to take corrective action and improve my diet, take the right-for-me high-quality supplements, and learn to manage my emotions better.
It literally changed my life, and took me back to school. I never thought I would return to the classroom as a student, especially at the age of 29. But once I started taking the power back over my own health and body, I couldn’t help but wanting to go deeper and learn more about the holistic practices that were healing my acne. So I enrolled at a nutrition school in my city, and began my intense studies and working with volunteer clients. Seeing my own clients make amazing transformations based on the knowledge I was sharing with them and the commitments they were making to their own bodies gave me an enriched sense of purpose! I feel like I have found my calling, and my purpose, and I don’t know if I would have found it if my acne hadn’t pushed me in the direction of holistic healing.
I fell in love with food again. Once I removed all the inflammatory, processed foods from my diet not only did my skin clear up, but oh-my, did my tastebuds and the rest of my body thank me! Without the empty calories, excess salt, and rancid fats from processed foods to cloud my culinary experiences, my food blossomed into a delight that I looked forward to at every meal. Plus, I became aware of the foods that felt good in my body and ate more of them, which gave me way more energy, a clearer mind, and reduced the bloating and constipation I was feeling every day. Food became my ally, my friend, and not my enemy that I was fearful of because who knew if it would cause a disastrous breakout the next morning.
I stopped stressing. It’s easy to say that I was less stressed out because my acne had gone down, but that’s not what I mean. I became way less stressed about the zits that I did have or would pop up. I had the knowledge, and felt empowered, to be able to take good steps to help my acne heal faster. I didn’t change my diet and then all of sudden never get a zit again – no! I just became better equipped to manage my acne, and the stress went away.
I saved money. I wish I had saved my pre-acne grocery bills, and my post-acne grocery bills to show you the proof! When I stopped filling my cart with the easy-from-the-box meals, and focused on filling my plate with whole foods, I saved a ton of cash. There’s definitely a price you pay for convenience. Plus, there’s this amazing thing that happens when you change your diet and see results, where you then start to look at other areas of your life where you can also make positive changes. For me, after I felt good about the foods I was eating, I started to clean up my personal care products by making them at home. Where I used to spend around $80 a month on facial cleansers, toners, etc., I started making my own products with simple ingredients. For example, I now make my own deodorant which costs me around $0.50 a stick!
How to Find Gratitude for Your Acne
Let’s play in the land of imagination for a second and personify your pimples. Let’s pretend that they are a real person, and you are going to write an honest letter to her.
Step 1: Get out a piece of paper, and at the top write down the word acne, and give it a human name. Then address your letter to that name.
Step 2: Start by giving your acne a piece of your mind. Tell it all the ways it has pissed you off. How has it frustrated you? How was it played into your deepest and darkest fears? Close your eyes and really feel these emotions in your body, and then get specific and tell your acne exactly how it makes you feel.
Step 3: Write down all of the things that your acne is holding you back from doing. For example, is it stopping you from going to the dance class you really want to try? Maybe you’re afraid to set up your tinder profile but really long for a partner. Dump all of your worries and negativity out onto the page.
Step 4: Now that you have all that out of your system, we’re going to shift to the positive. Reflect and think about specific things you have experienced or enjoyed, or people you’ve met that can be attributed back to your acne. Perhaps you’ve met some bad-ass peeps who also have acne, and you’ve built some solid bonds over it.
Step 5: Lastly, ask yourself: What is your acne trying to tell you? What is your acne trying to teach you? This is an opportunity to just free-write whatever comes to mind. Don’t try to edit it, just let the thoughts come and spill out onto the paper. Let your unconscious reveal it’s magic.
How’d that go? I’d love to hear if you did the exercise and what you thought of it. Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. And if you liked this post, I have a TON more content that I want to give you in my FREE 5-Day Course. Just use the box below to signup and you’ll get the daily lessons straight to your inbox.
 Counting Blessings vs. Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life, Emmons and McCullough (2003)