What is Your Eczema Narrative?
Recently, I came across a video that spoke into reflecting and acknowledging the stories we tell ourselves.
What do you mean, Ashley?
I mean that everyone is carrying or narrating their own story of how they perceive themselves and the world around them. Some people see themselves as loving, beautiful, worthy, intelligent beings. Others might be carrying around a more complex storyline that involves depression, sadness, and unlovable thoughts. Similarly, some may see the world compounding of bright, innovative opportunities, while others might see the world as a scary place that cannot be trusted.
This got me thinking about the stories I tell myself about my eczema, and what others in the community might be telling themselves too. I decided to break down how I used to perceive my eczema and how that narrative has changed over time.
The below was my narrative for over 20 years until 2014 when I decided to change that.
How I used to think of my eczema
- Eczema ruined my life.
- I’m unlovable because of my eczema.
- I will never be considered pretty because of my eczema.
- I will never have soft skin.
- No one understands me.
- I am fearful everywhere I go for I don’t know what or when my eczema will enflame.
- Everyone can see my eczema and is judging my skin.
- I’m the only one in the world with eczema.
- My world revolves around my eczema.
- I hate eczema.
- I will have eczema for the rest of my life.
How I think of my eczema now
- I love my eczema.
- My eczema allows me to reflect on what is happening internally and emotionally.
- Eczema allows me to connect with others in my community.
- There are over 30 million people living with eczema; I am not alone.
- I embrace my eczema.
- My world revolves around who I am BEYOND my eczema; eczema is just one part of who I am.
- Healing from eczema is possible.
- Regardless of how people perceive me, I love myself.
- I am lovable, with or without eczema.
- My eczema is my best friend.
I truly believe this new narrative has brought forth healing in my life to a point where I am now 95% clear on average. This is significant for someone who was 90% covered in eczema at any given time growing up.
What to keep in mind
Our perspectives aren't true or false
It’s important to recognize that the stories we tell ourselves are neither true or false, real or fake. These stories are simply collected feedback or information that reflects how we see ourselves and the world through our own perspective lens.
Our perspectives are changeable
These stories are also changeable and moldable. We are able to change the stories we tell ourselves by changing the lens in which we see them. So if I see my eczema as detrimental and unfortunate, I can focus on expressing gratitude and the lessons it has taught me, which in turn will change the narrative.
It's all consequential
Every story you tell yourself has a price tag latched onto it. For example, if you see yourself as loving, you are most likely to see others as loving. If you see the world as a hateful and scary place, you will most likely see everyone around you as untrustworthy and deceitful. If you see your eczema as chaotic and unpredictable, then you will most likely live in fear and anxiety.
What is your eczema story?
Here are a few tips on how to reflect on your current eczema narrative, change it if necessary, and inspire others to do the same.
Write down the stories you tell yourself about eczema
Reflect on what eczema means to you. How do you perceive it? How do you think others perceive it? How does eczema make you feel?
Change the narrative, if necessary
How can you alter or change your story so that it: benefits you and those around you? Promotes faith? Brings forth healing versus delay in your healing? Brings you joy versus sadness? If your story does not benefit your well-being and that of others, this is a great opportunity to change it.
Inspire others through your narrative
Share with others how you perceive yourself and your eczema. Your narration can change someone else’s. This is how we create true change and healing within our community.
Question: What is the story you’re narrating around your eczema? Share below!
Have you been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis?