For college women
Love Yourself: The Success Secret I Rediscovered Back in 2007
By: Maria Pascucci, Founder & President, Campus Calm®
*Note:The following article was written back in 2007 when Maria was going through a difficult time in her life. Since it's been a reader favorite, we decided to keep it up for years to come to educate and inspire other women.
I have a confession to make to all my readers. Lately, I haven't been walking my talk. Allow me to explain. I preach stress reduction, body love and self-acceptance in every single one of my articles but when it comes to my own body - well - I've been having a hard time taking my own advice.
Sure, I accept the fact that I'm not a super model. I accept the fact that my chest isn't a C or a D and I have no intention of ever doing anything surgically about that. As long as I am eating whole foods and exercising, and I look good according to my own standards, then I am happy with what I see. I thought I had come to terms with the mirror a long time ago.
Then in October 2006, I underwent laparoscopic surgery and was diagnosed with Stage 1 endometriosis. Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects 176 million women and girls globally. After years of suffering major pelvic pain and other yucky symptoms I was relieved to finally have a real medical diagnosis. It wasn't just "all in my head."
However, my hormones and stress levels went crazy in the months after my surgery, so much so that my skin broke out like I was 13 years old all over again. I had horrible acne when I was a kid and I was teased mercilessly for it. Every time I looked in the mirror back then I started to cry and cursed the imperfect reflection.
Fifteen years later, here I am back in front of the mirror, cursing the imperfect reflection. I'm growing a business. I'm meeting with clients. I am a role model for women. How am I supposed to act confident with acne all down the sides of my face?
I have been hiding out in my apartment. When I pass people on the street, I hide my face with my hair. To be able to face my family over the Christmas holiday, I wore a lot of makeup, which probably only made the problem worse. Scars that I had buried years ago are now staring me square in the face and it's not pretty, both literally and metaphorically.
"I think you should try rereading some of your articles and take your own advice," my 27-year-old husband said to me last night with a sympathetic nod of the head. He was right. It was time to try a new approach. I went to my mirror this morning, cupped the sides of my face with my hands and said, "I forgive you."
Cheesy? Yes .. but it worked. I smiled at my reflection in that stupid piece of glass for the first time in weeks. And took back control over my life. What a gift to give myself first thing in the morning!
If you ever start to curse any of your supposed imperfections, try to take these words to heart: The acne will heal, the pounds will melt, the scars will fade; but the image you have of yourself lasts a lifetime. So make it a good one.
Do you resonate with Maria's story? If so, you're the person Maria's speaking to in her book Campus Calm University. It's designed to empower you to give up the exhausting pursuit of perfection (whether it's grades or body), and instead embrace the real steps to success, health, happiness and leadership. Chapters teach you how to be a lifelong learner, infuse your career search with some PG passion, love yourself, embrace risk, focus inward and surround yourself with a network of positive people who can help you reach your goals. And much more too!