The term “lovingkindness” has long been a staple within the spiritual community, with experts like Jack Kornfield basing their life’s work on teaching it’s power to the masses. Especially in the last decade, the concept of mindfulness as a whole has surged in popularity; even our youngest generations are learning emotional intelligence & self-acceptance at a speed unlike ever before.
After I was taught the concept of lovingkindness – which, in a nutshell, means to allow things to be as they are and accept them as they come – I was fascinated by it’s simple yet powerful message. As I sunk deeper into its teachings and started applying it to my own life, I began to wonder: can you really cultivate a better relationship with the world around you just by changing your perspective?
As someone who has dealt with everything from cystic acne to severe eczema, I’ve had my fair share of low self-esteem moments. By applying the teachings of mindfulness and lovingkindness to all facets of my life, though, I’ve been able to bring back a new, improved type of healing that I, truthfully, never knew I needed – even when it comes to my skincare ritual.
Looking for ways to improve your relationship with your skin? Tired of feeling frustrated and defeated when you look in the mirror, despite how many expensive oils and treatments you lather on? It might be time to cultivate a healthier relationship with your skin and start accepting what you can’t control (aka, everything). Here’s a few quick ways to apply the concepts of mindfulness and lovingkindness to your ritual and start loving yourself 100%.
Speak Kind Words
The way we speak to ourselves really does make a difference in our overall wellbeing. After all, if you’re spending all your time hating your skin and critiquing every “flaw”, you probably aren’t going to feel very good about it, are you? Instead, here’s permission to give yourself a break in the form of a compliment.
It sounds silly, but there’s a reason the word kind appears so much in the practice of mindfulness & lovingkindness. We often extend the most grace to others, but when it comes to ourselves, we tend to fall short. We’re even less likely to do so if there’s something that we don’t like about ourselves, such as our skin.
The next time you see something you don’t like, refrain from being critical of it right away. Instead, find something kind to say to yourself in that moment. Although it seems small, even one moment of kindness towards yourself can plant the seed of self-love, which only blooms the more you do it. Give it a go for a week and see how you feel after.
Slow Yourself Down
It’s easy to blow through your day without paying much attention to the little things that happen, especially when you’re juggling multiple important tasks at once. But part of mindfulness is about slowing life down and being intentional with each action you take, so why not take advantage of this concept in your skincare ritual?
Even if you can’t slow down the majority of your life, you can carve out a few extra minutes to give your skin the attention it’s craving from you, especially if it’s irritated or inflamed. Even if your skin mood isn’t ideal, taking your time applying each cream and lotion is an act of self-love in itself. Appreciate the feeling of every product – what does it feel like to apply your moisturizer? How does your skin react to your nightly oil?
Bringing mindfulness to your ritual is a way to press pause on the hectic hamster wheel of life and gives you a chance to truly relish in the luxury of taking care of your body with intention. Most importantly, taking a break from the constant go-go-go of life is important to managing stress, a major contributing factor in angry skin moods.
Find Your Moment Of Zen
Even if you slow your ritual down, you can still feel distracted or otherwise occupied while going through the motions – and that’s ok. Part of mindfulness is observing your thoughts and feelings as they occur, but not attaching yourself to or judging them.
If your skincare ritual feels too involved and you can’t relax while you do it, there’s other opportunities to practice lovingkindness and mindfulness that are beneficial. Love a good mask moment? Why not put one on for 15-20 minutes and sit with your thoughts while it works it’s magic?
If you’re familiar with the practice of meditation, you can use this time to do so – apps like Headspace make it easy to fit meditation into whatever pocket of time you have. If meditation isn’t your jam, though, no pressure – you can simply sit in a quiet, calm place and observe your thoughts as they come. Be sure to notice your breath and be intentional with each inhale and exhale, as well.
Keep A Skin Journal
Putting your thoughts on paper can provide a valuable perspective on your relationship with yourself, especially when it comes to your skin. Jotting down your thoughts can help cut through the static of everyday life and get you to the root of why you feel the way you do. It’s also a great way to log any changes to your complexion, which is a great way to ensure your ritual is still beneficial, or if it could use some tweaking to better serve you.
Try setting aside 5 minutes after you complete your skincare ritual to check in and write about your feelings towards skin. It doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it, so don’t get stuck in the minutiae – the important thing is to lay it all out and observe your thoughts afterward. What patterns do you notice? How do you feel after re-reading your own words?
Whether it’s adding extra “me” time or logging your perception, you may be surprised at what you notice when you’re intentional with your actions and incorporate the art of mindfulness into your skincare ritual.