If you struggle to love yourself – and especially your vitiligo – you aren’t alone.
I found myself in that same mind space this fall. After a particularly stressful summer, my vitiligo was spreading and I was filled with insecurities and self-doubt. Every time I looked in the mirror, I could only see the spots on my neck and the lack of pigment on my face. I felt like I either looked really pale or like I had too much makeup on. My non-pigmented lips looked washed out if I didn’t apply lipstick on a daily basis. I was feeling insecure about posting photos on social media unless they looked absolutely “perfect.”
These negative thought patterns were overwhelming and I realized it needed to stop. I needed a mental break to reset my thoughts and find a way to love myself – and my spots. This moment of clarity sparked a 30-day journey of self-care that gave me the ability to love myself again. Here’s how.
Forgive yourself and forgive others
I tried to hide my vitiligo for years because I didn’t feel accepted. I also held on to a lot of anger toward the people who spoke negatively about my vitiligo. Yet I recently learned that it’s important to forgive in order to let go of pain. I needed to forgive myself for believing others’ hurtful words and I needed to forgive them for saying those words. Only then was I able to release the all-consuming grip that these people had on me and return to a place of love.
Unplug and reconnect
Constantly checking updates on social media? Guilty. Unfortunately, it’s a habit that can be more detrimental to my mental well-being than I might think. Scrolling through my social feeds, I’ve fallen into the trap of feeling sorry for myself more than once, comparing myself to others – even people in our very own vitiligo community. During this period of intentional self-love, I decided to shut down my electronics and reconnect internally instead. I shut off my phone, closed my computer and turned off my TV. Instead, I used that time to read a book and take my Corgis and beautiful daughter for a walk. It turns out the “me” time made all the difference.
Let go of perfection
I often find myself fixated on perfection. I put a lot of energy into trying to look and be ‘perfect.’ I feel an endless pressure to look a certain way to be accepted. However, this mindset is unhealthy. We have to let go of perfection. We do not need to be perfect to be worthy. We need to change our old self-perceptions and use our energy to remind ourselves that we’re good enough. By being my authentic self and honoring my values, I was able to let go of perfection. I am a good person and that is what truly matters. Most importantly, I now try to avoid describing myself and others as being “perfect” in the first place.
Build a community
For 17 years, I felt very alone with my vitiligo. I never knew there was a vitiligo community filled with positive and encouraging people. Yet as soon as I reached out, this community quickly became my family – and they can become yours too. There are people out there who share the same experiences and who are on the same journey. Our community is our safe place. It is where we find support and comfort with people we trust. We do not have to do everything ourselves. We can connect and learn from others when building a network. When I feel down I turn to my family, friends and supportive network. Whether it’s a short phone call, a text, or an in depth conversation, I always find warmth in their wisdom, guidance, and love.
Tiffany Posteraro Grant is a New York based entrepreneur and owner of Perfect Penguin Consulting, a digital dating consultation company. In her free time, she enjoys fitness, reading and time spent with her husband and two corgis.