RESOLUTION: SLIPPING INTO LIGHTNESS
It makes me wonder if it will ever go away on its own.
Do It Now!
I have only gone back to picking my face a couple times, each time when someone told me what a terrible person I was. So for me it’s definitely a punishment. But my cuticles, I did go back to picking (after not doing it for more than a year) after my son was born. I think it was a stress management technique. Then I was off and on for maybe 4-6 week intervals. I currently just stopped again for about a week. The last time I went back to doing it was when I got a new car and then worried about how I’d make ends meet because of the monthly payment. So it was money fretting that set it off. The only good thing I can say about going back to picking my cuticles now and then is that it’s no longer unconscious. I’m aware I’m doing it and choose to do it anyway – or choose not to. You were the catalyst in helping me figure out my reasons for picking, so thank you!
I knew I was slipping again when there were blood spots on my pillow when I woke up one morning. I feared I might never be free from my obsession. What made it ok was that I was ok with that fact… I had to stop obsessing even about the obsessing… period.
From the beginning of my recovery, I slipped over and over again. But there was a different consciousness about what I was doing and gradually it grew. I would not really get full recovery for almost ten years.
Over a course of the ten years, I had become a vegetarian, cut down dairy products and cut down on sweets. I had gone to 5 different dermatologists at different stages of my disease. I applied glycolic acid treatments every night and morning enzyme peels religiously for an extended period of time. I had been counseled, re-birthed, massaged, acupunctured, and cracked by chiropractors. I had gone on a serious supplement regimens, drank tons of carrot juice and went without makeup. I did lots of writing and analysis. All of this with really no major changes in my skin. I never went so far as to take any drug or medication, because I felt that my problem must be curable by other means, although none of those other means ever seemed to work.
I was the toughest subject. I did everything that would have made anyone else’s skin miraculous, but mine wasn’t. I still found blemishes to pick somehow… even if they weren’t visible to the casual observer.
So what finally got me to stop picking? Well it was nothing and everything. The final straw was when I contacted a strange virus that looked like chicken pox and it scattered little pimples all over my face, neck, chest and back. Of course I picked at the sores and one of them left a very large pock mark scar on my forehead. And guess what? It coincided with a very stressful time of my life. I was on the precipice of a divorce and about to move out of my house. I knew then my body was simply telling the world just how unhappy I was and I released everything at that point over to fate.
I don’t remember any earth shattering moment in time when I stopped picking, I just know that around that time that I made a decision to change my life and get out of a dysfunctional and abusive relationship and to take my life back into my own control. No, my ex didn’t beat me or cheat on me. The rest of the world thought we had this great marriage, but I knew differently. I had allowed myself to stay in a relationship where I was not cherished. I was severely emotionally neglected. I knew the reason I stayed was because I didn’t cherish myself enough to leave. Basically I made the decision to love myself. And the rest as they say is history.
I made the decision that it was better for me to face being alone for the rest of my life than to be in a relationship where I was unhappy. It was a very conscious choice to love myself without confirmation from anyone else. And all that work that I had been doing for ten years finally paid off. I look at it like I was preparing the soil of my mind and my heart for healing. I just had to wait for the seeds of self love to grow and blossom.
It was such a simple easy decision, yet so life shattering and somehow through the tears I shed and the action it took for me to get my life sorted out and my house and office moved. I simply stopped going to the mirror looking for problems on my face anymore. I was too busy and too drained. I forgot about my face.
It’s been a year since that all went down and my relationship with my skin has changed dramatically. I became more gentle and loving with it. I even smile at myself in the mirror once in a while. And because I released the relationship that was making me so unhappy, I don’t get the same kind of eruptive break-outs I used to get. I know there was a correlation because I had a setback where there was some troubling situation with my ex and sure enough, within 24 hours, I had breakouts and was back at the mirror. I knew my life, my sanity, my clear happy complexion were too precious to put myself in that position again and I guard myself against it.
Adjusting to Success
It is so funny to think there is such a thing as fear of success, but there is. Many of us have it. We so desire to have that beautiful perfect clear complexion. But what will happen once you finally achieve it?
Well for one thing, you will have nothing to blame your other failures on anymore. Remember saying or thinking – the reason I don’t do this or that or I don’t have this wonderful person in my life, or I haven’t succeeded in this or that – because my skin looks like shit most of the time. If you’re skin is looking good, you have to take responsibility for all sorts of things.
Turn it all around for yourself. Try journaling or writing about the good things that will happen as a result of kicking the picking.
And allow yourself to have some adjustment time. You have probably been picking for years and years, so it may feel a bit strange not to pick and be a new you. You may feel a bit anxious and uncomfortable in your new clear skin and that is to be expected. Allow yourself to get used to it and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Relapses and Goals
One of the final things I want to discuss is the ability of habitual pickers to live in the future. We live in a chronic state of worrying about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’.
There are a lot of suggestions in this book for changing your life. It is always tempting to go out and try to do them all at once. I suggest setting up small goals which you can accomplish.
If you are a cold turkey kind of person, then by all means go for Zero Tolerance of your habit. But if you’re like so many others of us, let reducing the picking be your first goal.
Don’t set yourself up for failure so you have to beat yourself up. Set up a schedule for yourself, and be flexible when you do not meet the demands you set up for yourself. I love the quote by John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Go ahead and make your plans for change, but don’t forget to live in the present moment reaching them.
If you are so focused on that faraway goal – that is exactly what it will always be: a faraway goal. I am not telling you to forget about long-range goals like, “My skin, hands, or body will be free from the results of picking,” but keep some immediate goals simple and right in front of your face. “Today I will try to drink more water that I usually do.” Set the long range goals and then forget about them and practice working on whatever is right under your nose.
Just for today, you may not have that dreamy complexion you’ve coveted for so long, but you CAN drink more water or whatever you simple goal is. Practice setting these simple goals and attaining them over a period of several days until they become a habit. It takes time doing something religiously before it becomes a new habit. But now, I do know that when I am drinking more water on a regular basis, I find myself craving it when I forget to drink.
By making the goals simple and small you can accomplish them more easily and feel more in control of your recovery. If you don’t meet the goal, you don’t have to beat yourself up over it, because it was a small goal and it’s easier to forgive yourself for small things than huge faraway things. If you fail to meet your immediate goal just resolve to meet it tomorrow or even in the next minute. Oh, so you forgot to drink water today – go pour yourself a glass right now. Get it?
Relapses and Goals – Resolutions
Did you know that according to a study by Chicago’s Loyola University Medical Center that within a week after New Years resolutions are made, only 38% have stuck to them… And by the time 6 months has come and gone, only 15% are still sticking to their resolutions. No one said change is easy, but I bet you CAN be one of the 15%. I believe in you because you made it through this book.
Your problem of picking will not go away on its own. You have to take charge and decide to do it. And I know that you can do it.
You are a beautiful AND worthy person. So please, stop picking on you.