Don’t be so hard on yourself

Don’t be so hard on yourself

I’d originally planned a What I Eat In A Day post for today. However, something has been happening over the last week or so that I feel the need to write about, so we’re going a bit impromptu.

I am a huge advocate of self love. As someone who used to be a massive perfectionist, it’s something I strive to practise daily. I try and celebrate life every single day, and congratulate myself when I achieve something, no matter how small. Noticing the good things I do helps to keep the ‘you’re not good enough’ demon away.

Sometimes, however, she crawls back out of her deep, dark cave and takes prime position on my shoulder. Her voice is often louder than the kind, self-loving soul on the opposite shoulder, and there are times when I just cannot shut her the hell up.

The skin on my face is really sensitiveIf I put too much stress or pressure on myself, it gets red, angry and inflamed. It started when I was 20, and over a period of several years, doctors and dermatologists prescribed me various pills and creams. Nothing worked, until I had cognitive behaviour therapy in 2015. This was when I discovered what I’d been doing to myself through the insane amount of stress and pressure I was putting myself under, trying to do everything perfectly. When I let go of this, my skin miraculously cleared up.

For the most part, my skin is healthy now, because I look after my mental health. But sometimes when I get stressed or I start trying to be perfect again, it does still flare up, and I end up feeling like a pizza face. Ironically, my skin flaring up causes me to get stressed, which only makes it worse. Funny that.

For the past week to week and a half, I haven’t quite been feeling myself, and it’s showing on my face. It’s fine to not always be happy and bubbly and 100% positive all the time. But what isn’t fine is how I’ve responded to that.

I’ve been covering my inflamed face with make-up, as it makes me feel so self-conscious.  Then I’ve been getting cross with myself when the make-up hasn’t completely covered it – redness is pretty easy to disguise, but the bumps and inflammation not so much.

Then, I listened to a podcast by Davida from The Healthy Maven, and she was talking about accepting herself as she is. She has struggled with adult acne, which she talks about very openly on her blog. I don’t have adult acne, but I imagine the effects on self esteem are pretty similar. She’s comfortable going out without makeup on a bad skin day, because she accepts herself for who she is, and if her skin isn’t looking so great, who gives a damn?

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Davida, so after hearing this I found myself thinking things like “I should be doing that” and “I can’t do that because everyone will stare at me and think I’m having some kind of allergic reaction.” It seems there are some days when I can’t help but pile the pressure on myself.

Do you know what I thought earlier today? I was having a conversation with Luke, and as he was looking at me I thought “Oh my God. He’s looking at the state of my face and how it’s a mess and I look disgusting.” I would never think that about a person, so I don’t know why I think other people would think that way about me. Especially Luke, who is probably the least judgemental person I know.

I have been behaving like a prize bitch to myself all week. This afternoon I recognised what I’ve been doing, and now I just feel sad. I wouldn’t talk to anyone like that, so what makes me think it’s okay to do it to myself?

With this in mind, I’m taking control and putting my Self Love Hat back on. My skin (whether ‘good’ or ‘bad’) does not define me. It doesn’t make me any less of an awesome person just because it’s suffering. There will be days when it’s blotchy and red, and there’ll be days when it’s glowy and clear. And that’s okay.

The most important thing is that I stop being a TOTAL STINKER to myself.

So, here’s my plan.

  • I’m going to switch my phone off
  • I’m going to run myself a nice hot bubble bath
  • I’m going to light a candle
  • I’m going to make a list of the things I love about myself
  • I’m going to meditate
  • I’m going to read my book
  • I’m going to give myself a manicure
  • And I’m going to spend the evening hanging out with Luke, Toby and Lola whilst snuggled up under a duvet on the sofa. I might also watch an episode (or 3) of Friends, because we all know Friends makes everything feel better.

I used to see a therapist who once described the meany on your shoulder as a ‘poisonous parrot’, which makes me chuckle. It’s hard to take that demon seriously when she looks like a parrot!

Remember to be your own cheerleader. And in the words of the wonderful Jess Glynne, “don’t be so hard on yourself, no.”

We all deserve patience, love and kindness.

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