Over the last few years, I’ve found that doing these four things have helped me control my social fear and anxiety over my acne. It’s a process, let me tell you, but taking these baby steps may slowly make you feel more confident about going out and being yourself, acne and all.
#1 Remember to Make Eye Contact
A friend of mine once told me that he knew that I wasn’t confident. I asked why, thinking that the answer was going to be “your acne, duh.” To my surprise he said, “you never look anyone in the eyes.” It was true. I felt avoiding the gaze of others made me and my acne invisible. (Silly, huh?) Since then, I’ve made an effort to meet the eyes of people I interact with. Not only do I feel more confident, but this same friend (unprompted!) told me that I looked a lot more comfortable in my own skin.
#2 Go Without Makeup
Ok. I have to admit, this one is easier said than done. However, I noticed that the more I left the house without makeup, the more comfortable I became in my own skin. What does this mean, exactly? To me, it indicates that I accept my flaws for what they are, and even though I am working to make my skin better, I know that it is not going to happen overnight. So, as my journey toward clear skin continues, why not embrace who I am right now? Try it. You may find it to get easier and easier each time.
#3 Join an Acne Forum
There are loads on the internet! Sometimes, it helps to hear that other people share the same struggles and insecurities as you. It helped me to know that there were people out there who not only understood me, but who didn’t know me. They have no notion of how I used to look before acne, so I don’t feel as though they’re thinking, “Whoa, what happened to her?” like I often find myself thinking when I’m around my friends and family.
What does this have to do with social anxiety? Understanding that there are people out there who can relate to my journey has shifted how I see the whole world. I began to realize that we all have insecurities and mine happens to be acne. It’s made social situations so much easier for me.
#4 Let Go
It’s as simple, and difficult, as it sounds: let go. Like it or not, you have acne. It’s there, on your face, for the world to see. You’re working on it, but for the time being, it’s not a secret, it’s an accessory. Let go of the thoughts that only make you feel worse about yourself. Let go of the comparisons you make when you see someone else’s flawless skin. Let go of thinking that your situation sucks. I’ve been there. I know exactly how it feels. But, I’ve found, dwelling on these things don’t make it any better. It doesn’t change anything. In fact, all that stress over these concerns can actually make your acne flare up even more. Breathe and let go.
I hope these things, though simple, can help another person dealing with the insecurities and social anxiety that often come with acne. Do you have other tips and tricks you use to help calm the nerves of social situations? Please share them with me in the comments.