I was talking this morning with my husband about how we, as individuals, tend to focus in on the things we don’t like about ourselves rather than the things that are great about us. Have you ever found yourself doing that? I mean – it could be a scar on your knee, for God’s sake. You could be a beauty queen – or man – but you zero in on that one scar on your knee and spend copious amounts of time wondering and researching how you can get rid of it, visualizing how much better you would look and how much better your life would be without it, etc.
Ok, so maybe the ‘scar-on-the-knee’ example is a bit extreme – but you get my drift, don’t you?
We all have a ‘scar’ that bothers us. That we see as a huge deal when others don’t even notice it.
I have brown spots on my face. They are quite common in people with my skin tone, they are sometimes called ‘age spots’. They are caused by sun damage and are basically irreversible once they occur. You can do things to minimize them – but they will never completely go away.
On my face, they are extreme. Or at least, that’s how I see them. 😉 At one point, they bothered me so much, that I used to think as I went about my day, if anyone looked at me, that they were thinking “Oh my gosh, what are those marks all over her face?”
I literally found myself looking down as I walked around the grocery store so that no-one would see them and stare. In my mind, they were the first and ONLY thing that people would see when they looked at me. They BOTHERED me.
I went from doctor to doctor and from med spa to med spa seeking a way out.
Ooomph!!! It turns out that as much as these brown spots are common in people of my skin tone – they are pretty much limited in treatment and resolution in people of my skin tone. In other words, they are here to stay and there really isn’t anything that I can do about it.
So, one day, I decided that I am not my face.
I am not defined by my face – by these brown spots. They do not change who I am on the inside – and they don’t make me any less Nicki on the outside…
I decided that I would not go one more day feeling ugly or limited or restricted by them. I decided to own my face. A friend said to me at the time that they make me unique. Well, that was a nice way of putting it LOL
But I did decide that they are a part of who I am, and how I look and that I would embrace it.
Do you know that now, when I look in the mirror, I honestly don’t see them anymore. If anyone mentions them now – I am a bit taken aback, because I have genuinely forgotten that they are there. And I can reply with complete honesty, “They don’t bother me!”
In fact, they are part of what makes me who I am. They are a road map of my journey, so to speak – and I kind of like them now.
This is what Nicki looks like… And I like it!
Now, that’s not to say that some other issue has not taken the place of that particular obsessive worry. I guess that’s the way we work, as human beings maybe. And I try to do what I can about these new issues that bug me. But now, more than anything else, I try to be self-aware of when something is becoming an unhealthy obsession. I try to focus on a balanced perspective of myself and to veer away from the negative preoccupations and to see myself in a healthy, balanced way.
Sometimes that means I will reach out to a good friend and say honestly “Hey, I need you to scream at me about this because I am thinking about it in an unhealthy or ridiculous way.” And I try to zero in on the things I CAN change and not get obsessed by the things I CAN’T. It’s not as simple as ABC, but I try…
“It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.” 1 Peter 3: 3-4 NCV