Your Mind and Acne
When driving in your car and listening to the radio, what do you do when a song that you hate comes on or some annoying commercial is advertised? Do you change the station? Of course you do, you go and try to find something better to listen to that will make you feel better or soothe you.
Why not do the same thing with that little voice in your head? If you don’t like what it is saying, change it! You need to change this little voice in fact because it has a great deal of power over your actions and well-being.
If your voice is giving out public announcements to you everyday to the tune, “Uh, I wish I did not have acne, My skin looks horrible, This acne makes me feel awful” your mind is just following lead doing just what that little voice says.
Thus, you feel and look awful. This may sound too simple to believe but in the following pages, I will help you to appreciate how amazingly potent our minds are and why the ability to direct your thoughts is a primary step in regaining control over the presence of acne or any challenge you face.
Learning to Acknowledge the Power of the Little Voice
In his book, “Self Talk: Key to Personal Growth”, Dr. David Stoopes gives a remarkable illustration of the power of the mind. Once there was a man that traveled the country by hitching free rides on trains and sleeping in the carts. One night, the man followed his ritual of jumping into what he thought was boxcar and planned to go to sleep.
The man then came to see that he was not in any regular boxcar but a freezer. Meanwhile, the door to freezer had mysteriously locked. Feeling doomed and starting to freeze the man began to write a message on the floor of the boxcar that he was to never complete.
The next day, guess who finds the dead man in the freezer boxcar? The freezer repairman opens the door because the freezer was broken! It was estimated that the temperature inside that freezer never went below fifty degrees Fahrenheit, but the vagrant man imagined that he was freezing to death and that is exactly what he did.
If he had been in any other boxcar, the temperature would have probably been the same as the one inside the freezer boxcar. Dr. Stoopes remarks that, “Every thought entirely filling our mind becomes true for us and tends to transform itself into action.” In short, this man died because he thought he was already dead.
Contrast this destructive activity of the mind with the mystifying mind control of Tibetan monks that are capable of drying frozen sheets on their naked bodies in below freezing temperatures atop steep mountains. The mind is capable of untold acts, we can use it to kill us or heal us- the choice is ours.
The man in the boxcar allowed himself to be a victim of his own imagination. Clinical psychologist, Joseph J. Luciani, Ph.D., feels that most people allow themselves to become victims when they feel anxious or depressed.
If we permit ourselves to become victims, we sabotage our power and ability to help ourselves. Dr. Luciani advises that once you realize that your thoughts direct your feelings you can empower yourself and start to improve your mood. Reflect for a moment on the talks you’ve had with yourself about acne.
Have you refused to go to a social event because you said something like, “This acne makes me look horrible, there’s no way I’m go ing out like this.” Or have you subconsciously or even consciously hung your head lower because you had acne.
Or, have your refused to buy yourself nice clothes because you thought that you did not look good enough to wear them? Or, while talking with someone have you thought to yourself, “I wonder what this person thinks of this big zit on my face?”
These conversations are debilitating and evoke sentiments of self-disapproval. Furthermore they strip you of self-confidence and your ability to love yourself.
Dr. Stoops advises us that our self- talk can take on various forms. We may accuse or forgive ourselves. Have you restrained your daily activities or social events because of acne?
Do you refuse yourself certain compliments because you feel having acne makes you less attractive? Do you victimize yourself because of acne? Instead of viewing acne as a curse, you can change the statements of that little voice in your head to the following suggestions:
- Acne permits me to explore my body in countless ways.
- My beauty is revealed in my actions and words.
- I love myself.
- My skin is healthy.
- My body is expelling toxins.
- My inner joy for life is shining through my skin.
- Acne has given me the motivation I need to be more conscious about my health.
- I give more attention to my thoughts.
- My thoughts are empowering.
- With each moment, my body is growing healthier.
- When I feel uneasy about my acne, I take 5 deep breaths and with each exhale, I think “Love”.
To Believe or Not to Believe
While it is important to talk to yourself in a positive, healing light, it is equally important to believe what you are telling yourself. Before you try to heal yourself with positive affirmations, you need to believe in the power of your words. For example, in the Book of Genesis, God discloses the infinite power of words because God created everything with words, not with hands or heavy machinery but words.
If words can create clouds and stars, surely they than can heal bodies. For your words to work, you must be able to see yourself with clear, healthy skin. This may be hard to do at first, but we will do the preliminary work together so that you may go on to enjoy clearer skin. Lets start by visiting the imagination.
The French doctor Emil Coue teaches us that imagination is far more powerful than the will. Defining will as “the faculty of freely determining certain acts”, Coue provides the example of walking a plank to illustrate the implicit weakness of will to the imagination. Pretend that we have a board, 30 feet long and 1 foot wide lying on the ground. Could you walk across it?
The answer is probably yes, and moreover with ease. Perhaps you could even imagine yourself doing this. Now, imagine that this board is placed between the roofs of two skyscrapers that are 60 floors high. Do you see yourself walking cooling across this board now?
If you did try, according to Coue, you’d start to tremble before taking the first step. It is more difficult to complete the second experiment because the conditions are too difficult or scary to imagine and believe.
Thus the will to actually cross the 60 floors high board fails to make the goal a reality. With that, one cannot only wish with all their might to have clear skin, one needs to imagine herself with clear skin. Imagine what things you will do once you have clear skin.
Coue stresses, that one should not struggle with their imagination to create the image of their desires; he warns in fact that exaggerated efforts can foil your objectives. To help with this imagery, look at pictures of someone with clear, healthy, acne free skin, or skin in the condition that you would like to have.
Keep in mind this is not an exercise about coveting what another has, but a step to better help you visualize your new skin. Now, hold the image of the person’s face as an image of health and as something desirous. Now, imagine that you are this person with the clear healthy skin.
It is critical to be able to see yourself with the state of health that you desire. Imagine yourself with this clear healthy skin various times throughout the day. Even if you currently have several zits, imagine yourself with clear healthy skin. Remember, not to force the image, but allow it to come easily (just like the images on a TV screen).
If this fails, just look at a picture of yourself with clear skin. Even if you have to use your baby pictures,
use this image to remind yourself of your body’s preference for health.
To assist your imagination you can repeat a simple phrase to yourself such as “My body exudes the image of health” or “My skin is healthy and healing itself”.
The possibilities are endless, all that matters is that you believe what you say and what you say has a healing effect.
Speaking with Love
Author and holistic healing expert Louis L. Hay proposes that a probable cause of acne is not liking or
accepting the self.
To help alter this thought-form, Hay offers the new thought-pattern which involves seeing yourself as a
“divine expression of Love”. She continues that one, especially when dealing with acne, needs to love him or herself as they are now.
I realize that altering our interpersonal dialogue can be hard to do, especially if one has been verbally hurting themselves for years. But lets put those cruel or unfair words that we may say to ourselves in the context to two lovers speaking to each other. I use the context of two lovers because it is a familiar one and also because humans should love and nurture their bodies.
Imagine typical self-talk where you may say:
“I hate my body, it looks ugly.” “I am ugly.” “Acne is a curse, I just wish it would go away.”
Now imagine that this self-talk is a conversation between two lovers. Lover A says to Lover B:
“I hate you.” “You are ugly.” “You are the worst thing that ever happened to me, go away.”
After hearing this Lover B is emotionally crushed. Lover B’s heart is broken because he believes that the above statements are true. And soon an immense heartache consumes Lover B. The heart is broken because the beliefs that the heart holds as truth have become destructive truths.
A similar heartache takes place everyday when you speak to your body in an admonishing as opposed to appreciating manner because of the presence of acne or whatever your source of bodily discontentedness may be.
To alter this harsh dialogue, speak lovingly to yourself. Writer Caroline Myss, Ph.D. attests to the fundamental power of the heart as she writes: “To ignite the healing fire, you need to believe something with your heart. The heart holds the catalyst that causes the rest of the body mind to heal in chain reaction.”
Picture a time when you had you heart’s desires crushed. Maybe you were grounded on the night of the hugest party of the season, or your parents told you that they are not going to buy you a car or computer or some other object that you desperately wanted. Or imagine, the painful heartache that occurred to you or someone you are close to after a major relationship break-up.
Did your heart sink; did you loose your appetite or gain an uncontrollable one? Did you cry for days; did you feel unable to do anything; or did you need to be alone? That is the power of the heart my friend.
What you hold near and dear to your heart will be reflected in your actions. That’s again why new lovebirds seem to walk on air- they have a truth in their heart. This truth may say: This new person in my life is wonderful. They make me feel great.
You can decide what truth to give to your heart. You decide how to talk to the body that allows you to perform all of the activities that fill your life. Do you love this body? Do you respect it? Whatever you have been telling your body will be revealed by it.
On that note, the next time you see someone admiring themselves in the mirror, instead of thinking that person is conceited and has too much free time, tell yourself that person must respect their body and realize how precious it is.
Imagine all of the things that you can do everyday because you have a body: walk, run, sit, drive, smile, frown, wave to people, dance, eat, read, write etc. The body allows the spirit to explore this world and further cultivate itself. We should love our bodies. So, when you talk to your body, imagine that conversation among the lovers. Fill your heart with love so that it will be reflected throughout your body.
In the coming chapter, I will present various dialogues that will help you to foster a relationship of love with your body.