Acne is extremely physical. When you have it, you feel it, you see it, and you do everything in your power to try and hide it. And when you can’t seem to hide it, the next best thing is to hide yourself. There’s this innate fear about being seen when you have acne, and even when your acne is gone, it’s hard to step back out and face the world.
But what if this fear of being seen is actually a causative factor for your pimples?
We can all agree that having acne is emotional, but there are also psychosomatic links to the root cause of your acne. One of these is the fear of being seen.
The Fear of Being Seen
What exactly does this mean? Well there’s the literal explanation of not wanting people to see your acne, for the shame and embarrassment that it drums up inside you. It’s easier to hide than to really feel these feelings.
But then there’s also the fear of being seen on a more personal level. The fear of letting people see YOU, see what’s in your heart, see the fabric of your being.
When you choose to be vulnerable and expose this part of you, you open yourself up to judgement, ridicule, and rejection. So instead you hide behind a mask, playing different roles that will allow you to blend into the background of your family, work, and friends with little to no tension, discomfort, or drama. It’s safe to hide.
And at the core of this denial of who we really are, this emotional imbalance, this knot within us, starts to bubble up to the surface and fester on the skin as acne, eczema, dermatitis, etc.
It’s your body’s way of screaming at you: You want to wear a mask? I’ll give you a mask!
But what about the other possibilities of being vulnerable. What if people see your shadow, and in your shadow they can also see your light? What if instead of rejection, you find love, acceptance, and belonging?
And what if stepping into your truth, embracing your individuality wholeheartedly unravels the knot within you, and your skin responds by letting your acne resolve?
This is all possible, but it takes one thing. Courage.
I am so grateful to Brené Brown for the work that she does in the realm of courage and shame. Her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead is a must read. This quote from her book is everything:
One of the hardest things I have ever done was starting my business (yes, Skinspired Society is my business baby). I have never opened myself to uncertainty and the possibility of failure more so than hitting publish on my website, and telling people I was now doing this “nutrition skin thing”. And for months I would try something new, put it out there, and close my eyes and hope that it was received well. And it usually was, but I knew I was playing safe, playing small. I’ve never really talked about my own personal struggle with my skin, and instead kept things pretty factual and pragmatic. I also found myself stalling, feeling isolated, and not making progress.
And my skin started to suffer. Even though it was summer, the season when my skin really clears up, I kept getting breakouts on my neck, chin, and this one stubborn zit in the same spot all the time on my left cheek.
I was starting to feel really unhappy, and questioning whether or not I should throw in the towel. But before I did anything too rash, I decided to sit with the question: what would make me happy?
In the silence I started to get answers like:
-Be still. Be quiet.
They were simple answers, but there was so much possibility within them. Play. That one really stood out to me. In all the stress of trying to figure out how to have a successful business, I forgot that I’m allowed to play.
I’m a DIYer at heart. So I decided that to have some fun I was going to start playing with making my own skincare products. I bought ingredients, did research, and started playing with recipes. It was so much fun, and from this I found new energy. I’ve since started writing again. I’m playing with photography and video. My Instagram feed has been revived! And I’ve written a program teaching others how to make their own Skinspired Beauty Basics (link coming soon) at home.
And my skin has honestly not been this clear since I was on birth control many years ago.
There’s a part of the real me that I’m allowing myself to express, and I fully believe that it’s reflecting in the health of my skin.
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy. I second guess myself all of the time, and every time I go to hit publish I wonder if I’ll get a mean message or criticized. But there’s also a part within me that I’ve stirred awake, and it’s helping me drum up the courage to keep going. Courage – it’s so damn powerful!
So the next time you have a breakout, or maybe you have one now, before you head to the Google machine to look up best supplements to heal hormonal acne or best creams to heal acne fast pause for a moment and do a gut check: have you been hiding?
Grab your journal and use some of the prompts below to freely write. You may find some answers, and a bit of courage to take a baby step or two forward. This is by no means easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
- If I was free of all responsibilities and worries, and had the freedom to design my perfect day, it would look like…
- When I was little, I wanted to be a…
- The last time I felt pure, unadulterated joy, I was…
- The one thing that scares me the most, but I would love to do is…
- If I didn’t have acne, I would imagine my life would look like… I would feel like…
Know that I see you, and I accept you, and you belong here.