This week we’re going to do something a little different from the usual “Amber Reviews Things” and “Ambers unwanted opinion”. Judging from the title of this post you could already guess that this week is going to be all about self love and changing your perspective on how you view yourself. It’s going to be a two part post, the first part focusing more on the mental health and the second part will be a skin care routine that comes hand in hand with the positive habits I built to help me shift they way I viewed myself and my physical appearance.
Around three months ago my skin started acting up I was breaking out, my skin was flaking off of my face and it was even red raw at one point from exfoliating so much. I was embarrassed, I felt judged by people I knew and people I didn’t know. I even stopped leaving my house because I couldn’t be bothered explaining my whole life story to everyone who asked me what was wrong with my face.
“But Amber thats a bit melodramatic, not leaving the house, everyone has issues with their skin your not special.”
Which if you’re thinking that, you would be so right, a lot of people have skin issues like acne or rosacea. People have birth defects or even worse have suffered at the hands of other people resulting in being disfigured for life. I know it sounds dramatic, because for myself it was dramatic, it was a huge obstacle, I’ve never had a great relationship with my physical appearance to begin with.
Living in a society that rejects flaws and blemishes and promotes quick fix options like botox and injectable cosmetics, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not being content with the way you look, or that your lips are slightly uneven and that you have expressive eyebrows so at the age of 22 you already have a permanent lines. The strange thing is it took losing my clear skin and having to face the harsh reality that I will never have completely clear skin again for me to find peace in my appearance.
I did a lot of things over the past three months to get my skin back to being clear again but the most important thing that I have done over those months is worked on the inside out and I wanted to share that with you first, so here are four things that you can do to help improve your relationship with yourself.
Art by Duong Thuy Nguyen -A Hiroshi Yoshida inspired illustration about mediation.
Number One – Meditation.
I learnt very quickly that when you need to steady the mind and change your perspective meditation is the only way. Most people think meditation is hard and that it takes a lot of effort to get into a meditative state but that is a complete falsehood. Meditation can be done in a number of ways, you can meditate in the shower. Standing anywhere, try a deck, a patch of lawn or a different room in your home. Under a desk, no one needs to know you’re there or comfortably on the floor while stretching out your body. Meditation isn’t about where or how you do it, its about how it feels to you and how you mentally allow yourself to relax.
After I reached breaking point with my skin, I felt ugly 24/7, I was hysterical every time I looked in a mirror and I couldn’t calm my mind, I was so focused on how I looked that I was actually making the problem worse. I grabbed my yoga mat and sat on the floor for ten minutes stretching out my muscles and focusing on my breathing with a candle lit. At first I didn’t think anything had changed, but just by acknowledging my body, steadying my mind and creating a space of neutral energy I didn’t think about how I looked for a whole 12 hours after that. I did this every day for two weeks, when ever I could and I noticed I focused less and less on my skin and had more clarity each day. I made it a rule that if I had time to scroll on social media, I had time to meditate, which I would say this is probably the second most important part of healing your mental health and shifting your perspective.
Art by ieafy -Faceless.
Number Two – The less is more rule.
When this first started happening, my instincts where to cover up my face with as much make up as possible, to hide and disguise as much as I could because if other people couldn’t see it I wouldn’t think about it. After a week of constantly covering up my skin and washing it off it made my skin worse, it made me feel terrible every time I took off the expensive mask I had spent hours putting on just to run an errand. I thought that covering up the problem I would feel better, but what ended up happening was I felt worse because it was a band-aid solution. So I made it a rule to wear no make up when I wasn’t doing anything that required grooming and when it did I was only allowed to wear mascara and fill in my eyebrows. It allowed me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. After a couple of extremely uncomfortable weeks I stopped apologising for my face and started enjoying the moment more, I wasn’t concerned about how I looked, I was more focused on what I was doing and who I was with.
Number Three – Do something you love for the sake of doing it.
This is something that I think a lot of us try to do to help create a ‘safe space’ for us mentally but aren’t doing it in a way that is actually beneficial for us. I think when we take up hobbies or we start something we love at first it’s great, its therapeutic, it makes us feel special but then the benefit of it being something new runs out and we start over analysing the task at hand and look for things to let us down. So when I say do something that you love for the sake of doing it, I mean without anything in it for you other then doing that thing. Don’t look for the outcome, or expect something in return, there is no gratification for doing something you love it should just be something that your doing. Take up gardening or scribble on a note pad for an hour, write a short story, read your favourite books over and over again. No matter how ridiculous it is, what ever you do make sure it’s something that you love. This is also a form of mediation because you are simply there, in that moment. You’ve allowed yourself to be present and simply just let yourself be, and remember if you have time to scroll you have time for something you love.
Cover art for Sad Girls: A Novel by Lang Leav
Number four – Take a break from social media.
I think I saved the most important one for last and the reason for that is social media is so damaging to the way you perceive your own appearance and the way we view others. We are constantly bombarded with beauty guru’s with clear skin and perfectly portioned facial features that we often forget that, that isn’t reality. It is a choice that people make personally to change themselves or to alter the way people perceive them (Which is in no way a bad thing, it does how ever add to the pressure of beauty standards.). Social media was a huge factor for the reason why it was so hard for me to stomach my own appearance, chasing some kind of acceptance from strangers standards to determine whether or not I was beautiful. I don’t expect you to delete the apps that you frequently use, or completely switch off all together, I just think limiting the amount of time you spend on apps that are branded around making money off of your mental health and insecurities will be extremely beneficial if you’re serious about shifting your perspective.
So there you have it, my first part of a two part post on how to love the skin your in, if you found this at all helpful please let me know. Leave a comment on some things you’ve done to help shift your perspective on things, especially when it comes to appearance and perception of ourselves. – Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list to stay updated and get notified when new post come out. Stay tuned for part two – The saviour of skin care routines.