The first step on any journey can be different from person to person. However, there’s one thing I’m sure about: the first step in healing your relationship with your skin doesn’t start with a new skincare product, coveting images of others with “perfect” (and perhaps photoshopped) skin, or following along with a youtube video that shows us how to cover up our fresh-faced skin.
While the first (skincare products) and the last (coping mechanisms and/or an act of creative expression) are, certainly, things we’ll encounter to some extent or another, they aren’t the starting place. Healing a relationship often starts by taking a look at what’s working and what’s not. In the case of our relationship with our skin, that gets us in the weeds.
For example, when asked “what’s working,” we might be quick to respond “I haven’t got a clue!” Perhaps we sight a product that seems agreeable with our skin or maybe this isn’t a question we’ve given any deep thought to. Thus we come up completely blank. Pondering what’s not working might bring up equally vague answers that don’t give us a crystal clear first step.
When we start listing off products that are working (or aren’t), we’re getting away from the topic at hand: our RELATIONSHIP with our skin. This is different from the appearance of our skin. That’s a topic for another post.
A better question to ask is how do we want to feel in our skin or even more broadly, how do we want to feel in general?
For example, I knew I wanted to feel comfortable in my skin. I wanted to release the anxiety and shame I had around my skin and my looks in general. More broadly? I just wanted to feel confident, content, and OK with just being me. The me that’s not based on what I look like or didn’t look like. The me who’s worth, value, and purpose isn’t tied in any way to my outward appearance. I want to have goals whose success isn’t measured by how (fill in the blank) my skin is. I want to feel energized, inspired, and generous.
Note: That the very last sentence (“I want to feel energized, inspired, and generous”) is the most important. It starts to create space for healing. Why? It points to what’s truly important to me. I can be energized, inspired, and generous RIGHT NOW, no matter what my skin looks like.
Does that mean I’m going to tell you to toss out all your skincare products, stop washing your face or wearing sunscreen, and never give a second thought to your skin? Nope! It just means that we can start to foster a better relationship with our skin just as it is; a relationship that keeps us motivated to support our skin because we want to take care of it in a gentle, loving way with no expectations in return. It’s a relationship that values unconditional love rather than an “I’ll do this for you…(treat you to a skincare mask)… if you do this for me” (don’t break out) dynamic.
It means we can start getting to know our skin outside of judgments we’ve placed on it. We can begin to understand what it needs to be healthy. Most healing of all, we can start to value it for all the wonderful things it does for us despite how harshly we may have judged it in the past.
So- how do you want to feel in your skin? How do you want to feel in general? What judgments about your skin can you (or would you like to) release as you foster a healthier, kinder relationship with your skin? Pondering questions like these are a great first step to healing your relationship with your skin.
With love & radiance,