THE BLOG
05/31/2016 01:31 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Confessions of a Recovering Picker

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I have a confession. I love to look into my magnifying mirror and examine my pores. I find it addictive to pick at my skin and release the impurities.

But the process begins to have diminishing returns as a small blemish becomes a third eye in the middle of my forehead. Great, I say to myself. Now I look hideous. I proceed to try to hide my creation by caking on concealer. Lovely, now it looks like I have a small tumor in the middle of my forehead. I convince myself no one will notice if I put on a baseball cap or pull my hair over my forehead.

But the universe did not spare me.

"What happened to your forehead?" My friend remarks.

I lie. "I bumped my head on the counter."

"Do you want me to get some ice?" my friend asks.

I am so embarrassed. "No, I am fine." I just wanted to ice my ego.

All because I decided to pick at myself! The entire day I became self-conscious and ashamed. I want to go home and hide for a week until the blemish decides to deflate. You did this to yourself! I rant internally.

Yes, I choose to do this to myself. I create this reality. A reality based on a belief system that if I don't look perfect I am not enough. Then I recognize something deeper about this situation. I tend to pick at my skin when I am stressed or have had a challenging day. I pick when someone has been picking on me. I pick when I feel out of control. Since I can't control my environment I decide to focus on something I think I can control.

Can you relate?

Why do we sabotage ourselves? Why must we pick? It starts innocently enough as we pick at our skin, our nails, study our bodies in the dressing room mirror, or analyze the dandruff flakes in our hair. We call it part of the beauty routine. It becomes a daily ritual we feel enhances our well-being.

But the picking process becomes addictive. Whether it be our eyebrows, cuticles, or blemish starting on our face we seem to get enjoyment out of picking at ourselves. Why?

The reason goes deeper than we realized. Somewhere in our subconscious, patterns were created that caused us to become addicted to picking at ourselves. It is extremely important for us to be aware when this starts because picking and self sabotage can cause us to spiral into chronic self judgement. This can be magnified if we compare ourselves to the air-brushed models, celebrities on the magazine covers, others in the locker rooms of our gyms, or younger women.

Confession number two, I am vain, and as I stated earlier, the Universe did not spare me. In fact it had a deeper lesson for me. It decided to take my front tooth. Not only do I feel self-conscious in business meetings but I also have to deal with a toothless grin in the evening when I remove my retainer with the interim tooth.

It did wonders for my sex life.

But, what I am learning is, surprise, I am not perfect. I can say I am thankful for the experience because I can say with conviction that I am more than my smile, I am more than my face, I am more than my body and how I look. Colleagues still treat me the same way, my husband still kisses me before we go to sleep. I am more than my outward appearance. I am enough just the way I am.

So, I say with pride, I am a recovering picker!

I invite you to explore areas of self sabotage and picking in your life.

* Track how often you pick. Yes, journal or write it down.

* What part of you or your body do you pick?

* Is there something that triggered you to pick?

* Are you addicted to picking?

* Do you feel guilty after you pick or better?

* Do you feel you are loved and enough?

* What emotions are tied to the picking?

Awareness if the first step to healing. Once you are aware of why you pick and what triggers it, you can work on changing the behavior that created the pattern in the first place.

So you are aware. Now what?

When you are in a situation where you feel you may start picking, stop and ask, "Whay am I picking? How is picking serving me?" Then look in the mirror. Look into your eyes and repeat.

"I am more than my body!"

"I am enough!"

"I love myself!"

After you have made these affirmations spend time alone and allow the feelings to migrate in from your mind to your heart. What does this feel like? You may have some new realizations about your life. Journal these and over time you will notice how you have progressed.

You don't have to go through a life changing event to realize you are more than your body. There is self-discovery and opportunity in every moment. When you stop picking or judging yourself you will understand you are more than your body you can look at the world without judgement. You may find you aren't as hard on others because you stopped being hard on yourself. Just be!