I have acne– presently and in the past. These pictures were taken a year and 3 months apart, and yet I can recall all of the feelings that these photos evoke. I remember the days of waking up and crying after looking myself in the mirror. I remember the pain of having such inflamed, angry skin. I remember the feeling of people staring at my face when I left the house, and never wanting to leave the house at all. Not only did I not want other people looking at me, but I didn’t even want to look at myself. Having acne as bad as I did made serious damage to my mental health. I felt like I wasn’t pretty or good enough. My self worth plummeted as I tried to find a solution to zero avail. I tried everything under the sun, but nothing worked. I lost hope with every possible solution that failed to provide me relief.
Society has made it so hard to love the body you are in. The impossible beauty standards of never being skinny enough, having acne, having stretch marks and scars, have been shown to take a toll on the mental health of so many men and women my age. Not looking like the people that are praised by social media platforms only adds to the depreciating self worth.
I was forced to make the conscious decision to not let myself tear myself apart for every imperfection that graced my face. It wasn’t easy by any means, but I knew I deserved to give myself love since the world around me was so quick to tell me I didn’t deserve it.
Self-love is a journey of acceptance. By accepting the things that you may not like about yourself (my acne for me), you take the power away from all of those hurtful people who look and start at you. It no longer bothers me when I get a new breakout or I feel someone staring at me because I have accepted that acne is part of my life, despite my skin improving tremendously over the past year. I consciously remind myself that I am more than just my skin. I am smart, kind, empathetic, selfless, driven, compassionate, and so many more things, that will not be eclipsed by societal standards of beauty.
So, I will leave you with these affirmations of self-love:
- I am a beautiful person
- I deserve love, compassion, and empathy
- Happiness is found within
- Positive thinking creates positive change
- I accept myself unconditionally