Things often get worse before it gets better! Part One
Making positive changes in life requires goals, followed by action and commitment.
I took one look in the mirror and there it was - inspiration to write this article.
For years, I've been lucky enough to be categorised as someone with relatively good skin. Not perfect, but decent enough to receive a compliment here and there, but such feedback had stopped entirely. It took me a while to realise this because I was now stuck in my not-so-commendable ways. I'd stopped investing in the right products, experimented with this, and that forgot about once a week facial masks. My diet also left a lot to be desired. Life! Thankfully, I woke up from my slumber and decided to buy the Clinique 3-Step-System. Mind you, this is not a sponsored post.
I've been using the Clinique skincare range for more than a decade, and the products rarely disappoint. The only downside is that they don't come cheap. However, when you look at the bigger picture, the primary skin products (facial wash, clarifying lotion and moisturising gel or lotion) are worth every penny. You can go for months without the need to replace anything, but likely to feel the pinch when you run out of something, especially when you're broke.
Counted my pennies and bought the 3-Step-Skin-Care package to nurse my skin back to the way it used to be. Feeling somewhat motivated, I resumed exercising and drank an extra glass of water or two per day. What could possibly go wrong? I was expecting to see an improvement and be rewarded for my efforts. Instead, here I was, staring at a severe breakout.
"What's the point?" I wondered. "How come I've been doing the right things, yet my skin looks worse than before?" Walked away from the mirror, feeling somewhat deflated. Suddenly, it hit me...
I was going through a healing crisis!
How is that related to life?
Making positive life changes require a goal (better skin), action (purchasing the right products) and process (regimen). You also need some form of commitment, but often, we want to see positive outcomes before committing to anything.
However, life doesn't always present us with instant results. I expected to immediately see glowing skin a few days into the regimen, just like many people would. However, correcting wrongs or reversing damage caused over time requires patience. You also need to be willing to go through moments of discomfort before achieving your goals. Cue, healing crisis! According to my revelation, the regimen was working, but not in the way I had expected.
What is a healing crisis?
I first came across this term when I experimented with a detox plan which involved healthy eating and exercise. Had embarked on the journey with a clear vision of a healthier version of myself, which was very encouraging. Was proud of my efforts until I began to experience unpleasant side effects. Junk food cravings intensified a few days into the new regime. Although I drank more water, my sweat became pungent. The researcher in me went on a fact-finding mission. Was surprised to learn that most people experienced the same side effects and more. It was, in a way, usual.
A healing crisis is also known as a detox reaction when your body gets rid of the nasty stuff that makes you unwell. As you go through a cleansing process, the toxins in your tissue or body will find their way into the bloodstream, causing a reaction that is typically accompanied by unpleasant side effects. When healing hurts! Unfortunately, that's when most people give up. In extreme cases, one might need medical care to deal with the side effects. That is why most people who struggle with drug and alcohol dependency and other vices find it extremely difficult to give up.
Although I was dealing with what could be referred to as a 'vanity' problem, I still had a crisis on my hands. How did my average looking skin become zit infested almost overnight? It took me back to the first time I booked an appointment with a Clinique skin consultant many years ago. She went through a questionnaire to determine my skin type before recommending the right products. Clinique 3-Step-System typically provides for four different skin types: Very Dry to Dry (Skin Type 1), Dry Combination (Skin Type 2), Combination Oily (Skin Type 3) and Oily (Skin Type 4).
You see, we might look the same on the surface, but we're so unique. Nevertheless, the Clinique consultant explained that I would most likely suffer a reaction after using their products for a few days. On average, one notices a positive change two weeks after first committing to the programme. True to form, I experienced a severe reaction, but I didn't give up because I was mentally prepared. I was informed, hopeful and patient enough to wait. Before I knew it, my skin thanked me for self-love, and so a glowing epidermis became second nature. But something happened along the way, and I'd lose the excellent skin status.
When life gives you lemons
Maybe you, too, have experienced situations where things used to be OK, but now, the reality on the ground is so unpleasant it's hard to believe that things used to be good. It could be because of environmental factors outside your control. Maybe your unfortunate circumstances are consequences of bad choices you made along the way. That person you married anyway, even when your heart initially screamed, "NO!" That friend you kept entertaining, even though they drained you each time you interacted with them. The extra chocolate bars, cake or other sweet nothings you gobbled up, even when your body was screaming to stop. How about those other things you've done in secret that no one knows about? Despite the alarm bells, you still went ahead anyway. Now you're in too deep, and you don't know how or if you'll ever get out of it. You might choose to bury your head in the sand because, let's face it, confronting problems isn't for the faint-hearted! But I'm not here to shame anyone; stay with me.
As you go through a cleansing process, the toxins in your tissue or body will find their way into the bloodstream, causing a reaction which is typically accompanied by unpleasant side effects.
Healing Crisis: Survival Guide
The purpose of this article is to encourage you never to give up when you decide to make positive changes, but the going instead gets tough. Experience has taught me that you have to want healing with your heart, soul and mind to get better. You have to accept that you've had enough and be willing to fight for what you want. It's not about what others tell you; the real force comes from within. For example, I've seen a TV programme where extremely obese individuals proclaim that they want to lose weight. Despite being surrounded by the best doctors and encouragers, they continue to sabotage progress by reverting to old ways. Only you can make that choice to make a change, any change in life.
However, it's often easier said than done. If you're trying to lose weight, be prepared for severe junk food cravings as your body adapts to a healthy you. If you're trying to get closer to God, maybe through fasting and prayer, expect more distractions and drama to discourage you. Or perhaps you're trying to leave an abusive relationship; you're likely to encounter more ill-treatment from the abuser. Every good deed is often countered with an adverse reaction, especially when you're still at the early stages of your journey. Leaving something that once used to protect or provide for you, however flawed, can be accompanied by an unpleasant outcome such that you'll be tempted to revert to your old ways.
I took International Business Strategy as one of my modules towards my masters. Mergers and Acquisitions always fascinated me. I was awarded a Distinction, if I may say. But how is that related to the topic under discussion? Learnt that mergers are fraught with complex issues that go beyond operational or financial matters. Human egos and different cultural problems are the leading cause behind the disintegration of once-promising business relationships.
However, most companies still form partnerships with local companies as part of an internationalisation strategy. Sometimes, you have to take risks (calculated) to experience growth and profitability. However, Foreign Direct Investors (FDI) often enter into such relationships armed with not just a business strategy or any other strategy for that matter. They also draw up an exit strategy in case things go pear-shaped somewhere along the line. Why? Because wisdom has taught them that people can turn nasty, even when a relationship no longer serves its purpose. It can be tricky to sever particular ties.
Similarly, most people will encounter some backlash if they decide to make changes for the better. You may not be trying to leave an international business relationship, but moving away from the old into the new can be challenged by all sorts of forces. When the children of Israel left their oppressors, there was intense retaliation. As they made steps into the promised land, Pharaoh sent his best army and chariots after them. I'm trying to say that your crisis could be a sign that you're close to your destiny. When all hell breaks loose, remember that it's darkest before dawn. Stay focused on your goals and where you ought to be, not what was.