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  • Resilient Practice

Love the Skin You are In

Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It's about knowing and accepting who you are.” ― Ellen DeGeneres.

Do you look after your skin?

Millions of pounds are spent by cosmetic companies telling us that we should, and that we are “worth it.” They are selling us products designed to pamper and plump up our skin; but let us consider the real meaning of being “worth it” and loving the skin you are in.

The skin is our largest organ. Its main roles are protection, regulation and sensation. It keeps our muscles and other soft tissues in place. It acts as a waterproofing layer and it helps control our body temperature. It is covered in sensors that send information to the brain about our position and temperature. It also warns us about dangers; for example, when we touch something hot, those sensors send a message to alert the muscles needed to pull away from the heat source. Goose bumps, the pricking of our thumbs, or a feeling of our flesh crawling can alert us to situations where we feel uncomfortable with what has been said or done; dangers of a different sort.

After birth it is recommended that the first thing a baby feels is it’s mother skin, and this continues to be important. Touch is vital in maintaining connections, and we have been without that during lockdown. A steadying hand, a warm embrace, a caring touch; these are all important.

Some people do not like to be touched, and indeed it is important that touch is governed by healthy boundaries. It should always be consensual, and we must recognise that personal body space is just that, very personal. It is worth remembering though, that touch can break down barriers.

Our skin can advertise how we are feeling, our emotional state. We may blush when we are embarrassed, sweat when we are anxious or afraid. The skin releases pheromones when we are attracted to someone else and radiates heat when we are energetic.

Our emotions and mental state can also affect our skin. When we are upset and stressed our skin can become dull and dry. Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis often get worse. Itching is a fairly common symptom of anxiety.

Our skin also highlights our physical health or ill-health. Clinicians look specifically at the skin, pallor being a sign of anaemia, yellow of jaundice, blue indicating cyanosis (not enough oxygen), and redness can be evidence of inflammation, infection or over-heating.

We sometimes describe people as being thick- and thin-skinned as a measure of their sensitivity. We ourselves will be aware of when we feel vulnerable or particularly thin-skinned. We often tell children to toughen up and grow a thicker skin. This is done from a position of love, hoping to protect them from life, but if thickening their skin robs them of valuable lessons is this the right thing to do?

From a spiritual perspective our skin represents who we are. It is the boundary between inside and out, what is visible to others and what is hidden within. It is possible to show one thing to the outside world whilst feeling entirely differently inside. This will result in contaminated messages, misunderstandings and unhappiness.

The skin is our protective layer and its ability to regenerate and heal can symbolise transformation. Should this be like a chameleon, changing to suit the environment, or like a snake, shedding the old skin as a symbol of leaving behind outdated thoughts feelings and behaviours that no longer serve us?

We have a complicated relationship with our skin. Do we love the skin we are in?

Are we happy with who we are?

This can be about what we see on the surface and how we perceive others see us. It can also be about how we think others value us and how we value ourselves; our worth.

We have talked many times about the core beliefs that govern our unique model of the world and the need to identify negative core beliefs and reframe them. This is truly loving the skin you are in, recognising your self-worth and having this shine through your thoughts feelings and behaviours.

And when you love the skin you are in others will too.

Try this

Physical skin check:

Check for changes in colour and condition.

If you have moles on the skin check for changes is size, shape and the edge of the mole. Variation in colour, irritation, itching and bleeding are also important.

If you see any changes then get your moles checked.

Spiritual skin check:

The body is the first thing to tell you if something is right or wrong. Along with a gut feeling, your skin will have something to say; if it crawls, sit with that feeling, examine why and then choose your response appropriately, consciously.

Use this as an opportunity to check in with yourself. Do you feel you are expressing yourself and communicating consciously or is it only skin deep?

Is there an opportunity for transformation?

Examine your thoughts. Identify any repetitive negative thoughts, these point to underlying negative core beliefs.

Again sit with them, explore them. Where have those negative beliefs come from?

Next, evaluate the belief. What is the evidence for it? Is there evidence against this belief?

Now ask yourself to find a more appropriate belief.

Take time to remind yourself of this new more appropriate belief on a regular basis.

Look after and love the skin you are in.

For tools and techniques for reframing and developing self-worth see ‘How to Rise – A Complete Resilience Manual

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