Are Your Negative Beliefs About Yourself Causing Your Acne?
Posted Aug 31 2009 10:09pm
Today’s guest post is by Anna Conlan who blogs on psychic development, healing and spiritual development. And like most of us, Anna has also been through a long journey to clear her own problem skin. Here is her clear skin success story …
It’s been proven that stress has a negative effect on the body, weakening it and contributing towards illness.
If you’re an acne sufferer, you probably know all about the connection between stress and your acne. At times of stress and anxiety, it gets worse… and not just because you’re more likely to pick at it.
What if I told you that certain types of negative thoughts (and the stress they cause) can be matched to specific types of ailments, like acne, in the body?
Thought patterns like ‘I’m not good enough.’ Or ‘I can’t be myself’.
They both cause a lot of stress for your mind and body.
Science might dispute the idea of specific patterns of thought contributing to specific ailments, just as it disputes the existence of chakras and the energy body. But this is something that many practitioners of mind-body medicine, believe to be true.
And I have seen through working with clients and from my own healing journey, that changing specific negative thoughts and beliefs associated with acne, such as ‘I’m not good enough’ (and eliminating the stress they cause) is one of the keys to healing acne.
I first learned about the mind-body connection several years ago from Louise Hay, when I was doing research into how to heal my own acne, which I had on and off for around ten years. Louise Hay is a well-known publisher, speaker and author on healing and the mind-body connection. In the 1970s she was a religious science practitioner who was counseling people. Through working with clients, she began to notice consistent correlations between the physical ailments that clients had, and the types of negative emotion they were carrying with them. For example, she found that people with cancer always had some sort of longstanding hurt or resentment from the past that needed to be released. Even minor ailments like the common cold she associated with a perception of being overwhelmed in life - ‘too much going on at once’. She compiled all of what she noticed into her book and she came up with affirmations for those clients to use.
And as I mentioned above, the emotional pattern she noticed consistently among acne-sufferers:
“Not accepting the self. Dislike of the self.”
So, am I really suggesting that you have acne because you don’t like or accept yourself?
If you’ve tried many things and nothing works, then it will be a factor. Illness is in our body to wake us up to an imbalance that exists physically, emotionally or spiritually. If you’ve addressed the physical and nothing gives, then it is time to look at the emotional or spiritual aspects of your skin condition.
Any and all thoughts and emotions of self-rejection and self-criticism and a lack of support for the self are associated with acne.
So, if you suffer from acne, let me ask you…
Are any of the following thought/behaviour patterns very familiar to you?
Feeling not good enough – not as adequate/blessed/lucky/attractive as other people
Sacrificing yourself and putting yourself last on your list
Hiding who you are because you’re afraid other people won’t approve of you
Neglecting your self-nurture and self-care – not taking time out to give back to yourself
Feeling like you can never do things well enough/chronic perfectionism
Criticizing yourself and beating yourself up
Do you treat yourself as well as you would want others to treat you? That is the question to ask when healing acne, and eliminating the stress that contributes to it. It’s all about your relationship with yourself.
How I used the mind-body connection to heal my acne
I spent a lot of time and energy learning about the mind-body connection, especially in the area of acne, as it’s a condition that I had myself on and off for ten years.
I began getting acne at the age of 14-15. When I left school to go to University, most of my friends no longer had acne, but I still did. It got really bad around the age of 23, when I was working as a languages teacher in Spain.
I actually tried so many things to resolve the acne – food sensitivity tests (I cut out dairy and meat), I tried the raw food diet for a while, I tried the ‘Clear Skin’ diet, I tried supplements and I tried colonic irrigation.
I was really obsessed, chasing a solution, but nothing was working.
Around this time, I saw an energy healer who told me that my acne was a gift that was showing me where my perspective was out of balance. Now that was a new way of looking at it!
He told me that I had acne on my face because the face I was showing to the world was not congruent with the person on the inside. He said that I was living a false persona, while there was the real Anna inside, wanting to get out (and feeling rather rejected.) In retrospect it was totally spot on. At that time I was a languages teacher, but I was also training as an intuitive and energy healer. I hid my real interests and self from people and even from my family and friends for fear of disapproval.
I was also a people-pleaser and I hid anger and suppressed negative emotion in order to keep others happy. I had a lot of things to say to certain people but much of the time I contained my real opinions and feelings, which didn’t help at all.
To make it worse, I was a chronic perfectionist and my self-esteem was based entirely on what I achieved and how well I did things. Self-esteem would rise and plummet on a weekly basis according to how well my life was going. It was a stressful way to live!
Perhaps you can relate to some of these mindsets and behaviours.
I used this new awareness of the mind-body connection that energy healer gave me, to make changes in my life and things began to get better from there, at least in how I saw things. I began to feel better because I wanted to, instead of waiting for my acne to improve so that I could feel better.
How my acne eventually cleared up – healing the emotions and spirit
I began by abandoning the focus on diet initially as I wasn’t getting any further with that. Instead I focused on emotional healing, reducing stress and getting my life back on track to where I wanted it to be.
I did little things that seemed like they wouldn’t have much of an effect on my acne, but which actually helped me to be a lot less stressed in the long run.
I saw Louise Hay’s movie ‘ You can heal your life ‘, which inspired me to tell the critical and mean voice in my head to get lost. I replaced that self-criticism with a more compassionate way of thinking – towards myself and others. It took many months and a lot of consciousness of my own thoughts.
I also made some big life changes. I left my teaching job and instead set up my own business as an intuitive. I did get a little of the disapproval I so feared here and there from people but in the end it was worth it because I was being true to myself.
I began caring for myself in small ways – like looking after my body and giving myself treats, taking more care of what I eat (not just to get rid of the acne, but just because I wanted to care for myself). I began looking at myself in the mirror and sending myself unconditional love, telling myself ‘Anna, I love you’.
I accepted my acne and stopped resisting it. I thanked it for what it was trying to show me. It still wouldn’t go away, but I kept the belief that I had acne because I was not in balance but was in the process of healing the imbalance.
Then eventually I made the decision to leave the UK (where I grew up) in February of this year. I had wanted to leave the UK for a long time, as most of my family were abroad anyway. It was a spur of the moment thing. I just booked a flight to Australia and left London.
Within a week to ten days of arriving in Australia, my skin had healed. I was amazed at how quickly it healed. I still don’t know why it healed. Was it lack of pollution? Was it the sun that healed my skin? Maybe it was because I had finally done what I wanted and left the UK and I was no longer unhappy.
I don’t know what it was, but I believe that moving to Australia was one of the final pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that healed my acne, after the inner work I had done. I still get the odd zit from time to time, but over the last six months, my skin has been about 95% clear, which is a massive improvement.
My story is fairly typical. I have seen from working with clients that healing any physical ailment, including acne, is like doing a jigsaw puzzle – with many components, including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
When healing a physical ailment, you need to do some inner work, especially if treating the physical symptom isn’t working.
This is because all levels are reflections of one another – spiritual, physical, mental and emotional. In the case of acne, learning to love, like and accept yourself (and authentically being you) is in the ‘inner work’ – and by doing that, it’s like you are finding some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and putting them in the corners and around the outside.
Then all of a sudden the other pieces in the middle are easier to put into place – and those pieces usually represent the physical healing, which can happen through changing your diet or through other ways, like caring for your skin. Or perhaps simply through finding the courage to make the decisions which make you happy and reduce stress in your life.
It makes sense not only on an energetic level, but logically as well. For example, if you are not self-loving, how can you be motivated to treat your body with care on a long-term basis? How can you make the choices which support you in mind, body and spirit and reduce stress?
So, if you’re not seeing results you want just from changing physical aspects like diet and skin care, do your ‘inner work’ too.
Here are some starting points for doing emotional/spiritual work on acne:
Get into the habit of treating yourself with loving kindness. A good way to begin to do this is to have one day dedicated to doing the things you love. Treat yourself with loving kindness. Prepare your food with loving care. Accept and bless any negativity that arises in you. Practice bringing that way of being into your life.
Speak to yourself kindly. If you wouldn’t tell another person that they’re useless/inadequate/unattractive, why speak to yourself like that? Even if it’s in your thoughts. With practice, you can control the thoughts you’re having so that they become more loving. You can choose your thoughts according to how good they feel to you. There are many teachers who have published material on this, such a Louise Hay, Esther and Jerry Hicks, Wayne Dyer to name a few.
Ask yourself whether you’re bringing yourself and expressing yourself fully in the world. Let who you are in the world be a reflection of who is on the inside. Sometimes that can mean a whole change of career, as it was for me, or little tweaks in your life here and there. Surround yourself with people who appreciate you – including any kookiness, or eccentricities, and that which is unique about you. You are who you are for a reason.
Remember that you don’t have to ‘do’ or ‘be’ anything in order to be deserving of love, from yourself or anyone else. Your self-esteem doesn’t need to be based on how much other people like you, or how well you think you’re doing in your life. You are inherently worthy of love and good things. Look at yourself in the mirror, in the eyes and send yourself some love. Say your own name and tell yourself ‘I love you’. Do this regularly. You might feel silly while you’re doing it, but it’s really powerful.