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How psoriasis changed my life… for the better

Accepting my psoriasis was the first step in accepting myself

If you're reading this post and have ever felt suffering in your life, I want you to brace yourself for a second. Because what I'm about to share may be hard to swallow and may be even hard to relate to.

But let's walk through this together, shall we?

When I was diagnosed with psoriasis 25 years ago, I was only 10 years old and was certain that my life had just been ruined. Although psoriasis is a common skin condition, the version I got completely covered my body — from the tip of my toes to the top of my head. It made it impossible for me to participate in sports — I had to quit most after-school activities. Sleeping over at a friend's house was a nightmare rather than a nice thing to do on a Friday night. And going to the pool where I once loved swimming lessons was now a place that I dreaded for fear of people staring.

So even though most people think of psoriasis as just a skin condition, it ended up being the sole focus of my life, defining every move I made. For many years, I felt sorry for myself, was deeply frustrated and believed that this was punishment for something I'd done as child. That last part about being punished — I think it's something that a lot people feel when something negative or traumatic happens in life.

We immediately think: Why? Why did this have to happen?

I was kind of satisfied with taking the blame for many years. But through much introspection and binging on self-help, I realized I could actually choose something different. Sure, psoriasis has changed my life and in some ways it's made it more challenging — I've had more moments of physical and emotional suffering than more people I know. But it's also shaped me into the person I am, and I honestly wouldn't take it back for anything.

I see now that having psoriasis has made me a deeply compassionate person on a level that helps me take care of others with more love than I ever knew was possible. It's also made me tremendously responsible in my life. The amount of care I have to give myself is much more than your average person, so at a very young age, I had to cultivate discipline and responsibility for all areas of my life. Something I've continued to carry with me to this day.

If you're dealing with a challenge in your life that's bringing you down, I want to give you three steps to choose a better way. They've worked wonders for me.

1. Get honest

Write out your frustrations, fears, disappointments, sadness — every single negative emotion. I believe that in order to have a real shift, we have to get really honest with ourselves. Slapping a positive affirmation over pain won't do a damn thing.

2. Gain clarity

Next, write down all of the things you wish you could feel in your life. It could be as simple as, I wish I could laugh more or I wish I felt more lightness in my life. Or I wish I didn’t feel so much pain. Or I wish I felt really connected to other people. Nothing is too big or too small; write it all down.

3. Act as if...

For the next 3 days, I want you to start examining your words and actions. How would you act and speak differently if you were choosing the life you actually want to have? Oftentimes we're so stuck in our old patterns and thoughts that we blindly choose negative words and actions just out of habit. So in this exercise, it's time to start choosing a different vibration that will align you with the life you want. It can be as simple as watching funny videos on YouTube to add more laughter to your day. You can do it!

Yes, when life throws you lemons, it's not always the easiest thing to make delicious lemonade, but we do have a choice in the matter. So whether you're struggling with something right now or you know someone who is, let's all be aware of the choices we're making and perhaps we can begin to shift into a more positive place.

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration.

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