Did you know that you can control your life? You’re probably thinking, “Well duh, it’s my life,” but when was the last time you actively thought about how to make a change in your life? For me, the answer used to be not often. I knew where I was going and how to get there, so I pretty much ran on autopilot. There were things in my life that bothered me, but I just took them in stride. But over the last few years or so, I have been realizing more and more what a passive role I’d been taking in my life. Today, I would like to share a story that I hope will inspire you to take a small step towards creating a life that you want.
I have been dealing with eczema my entire life. For those of you who don’t know what eczema is, it is also known as dermatitis. It’s the body overreacting to irritants causing inflamation, itching, and dry scaly patches on the skin. Super not fun 🙁 Irritants can be itchy materials, sudden temperature changes, animal dander, household products, and some foods. As a kid, I had red, scaly, cracked rashes behind my knees, inside my elbows, on my fingers, and random other places. It was extremely itchy, and when the skin started to crack and bleed it was also painful. Before bed, my parents used to apply the creams the doctor gave us to the rashes and then wrap me in plastic so that throughout the night my skin would absorb it better and I couldn’t scratch.
As I grew up, the severe rashes cleared up, but I always have had one or two patches of skin with varying degrees of dryness. It seemed as soon as one cleared up (after a few years), another would pop up. I never really thought about what could be causing it, all the dermatologist or my parents ever told me was to apply the cream and don’t scratch; there was nothing I could do. Unfortunately, the not scratching part is much easier said than done.
Then, as I started my third year of college, we had a serious heat wave. My skin became inflamed all over, I couldn’t stop scratching and rashes popped up everywhere. I went to the doctor and all they did was give me a stronger cream. That helped significantly lessen the severe patches, but wouldn’t get rid of them completely. With the heightened awareness of my skin, one day I realized that my skin felt extra aggravated after showering. I thought, maybe it’s my pomegranate scented body wash. I went to the store and grabbed a bottle of Dove dermatologist recommended unscented body wash. Boom. It was magic. Instead of feeling inflamed and itchy, my skin was calm for the first time in days! I immediately threw out any scented body products I had and watched as the rashes provoked by the heat wave finally dissipated. I still had a dry patch here and there, but it was nowhere near as bad as it had been.
This experience was one of the first to show me how my choices directly affect my body. Since then, I have learned a lot about taking care of myself and the effects of things I put on and in my body. I think it would benefit everyone to take the time to think about how their choices directly affect their bodies and their lives. Once you’ve accepted that you are responsible for your own body, you must take responsibility for your choices. My journey of accountability has made me feel more in control of myself and my life which is both terrifying and exciting at the same time.
I started with one small change, so now I challenge you to take a look at your own body or your life. Think about something that has been bothering you for a while that you’ve just accepted as permanent, maybe it’s recurring acne, or that person you see every day that doesn’t notice you. Brainstorm time. Think about the last time it bothered you, and what triggered it. Was it something you ate? Something you wore? It’s possible there were multiple triggers. Choose one, then figure out how you could change, reduce, or eliminate it. If it’s a food, stop eating it and see if your body changes. If you feel self conscious because of your clothes, make an effort to only wear things that make you feel confident.* Pay attention to your body and feelings, they’ll tell you if the change you made was good or bad. Whether you get the effect you wanted or not, you’ll have learned something about yourself, and that could be the first step in creating the body and life you’ve always wanted. Let me know about your change in the comments, and sign up for the email list to get notified of future posts!
* This issue probably has many triggers, but you can make a big problem easier by breaking it into smaller more controllable pieces. Choose one that you feel confident you can affect today, worry about the rest later. (More on this in a later post).