Manisha: Learning to Stop Self-judgment

Manisha is a skin-positive influencer from New Delhi. But, during the last 6 years, she has shifted to Rhode Island. She shares with us her ongoing journey of self-acceptance. 

"Since I was a child, I was a very introverted person. If someone said something to me, I would accept it. I was a people pleaser who kept everything in my heart. I remember being in college, and one girl said to me, “I do not like your skin. I like someone else’s skin better.” As I glanced over at the girl she was comparing me to, I saw glowy skin that was all clean and clear. So, even though I only had pimples here and there, I guess it was major compared to everyone else.”

“I used to look at other girls and wonder why I couldn’t have their kind of skin and hair. Like, there are some girls that are very pretty and tall. They’re everybody’s favorite, and I used to look up to them in high school, but they were never my friends. I always felt excluded. Once social media got popular, I still aspired to be them, and still, I wondered…why can’t I have that type of skin?Even though I wanted skin like theirs, I never did much with my skin. Honestly, it seemed like I was meant to live with acne. On top of that, I didn’t feel like there was a place for me within beauty. So, I started looking on social media for more people who were sharing their stories and journeys. I even saw people with more intense acne than me, but they had accepted their skin. Since then, I have learned that self-acceptance is very important, especially when you’re on social media. If you just go through comparing yourself, you will feel like you don’t have a place or like you don’t belong.”

“Fortunately, I saw so many things on social media that told me my skin was normal –  that you have to love yourself. You have to try again and again. You have to be consistent and look for progress and good things. Hearing positive affirmations have definitely helped me to see something positive and worthwhile when I looked in the mirror. I realized that I was looking for the acceptance of others instead of my own. So, I started sharing my journey with skin positivity because I wanted my page to show who I truly am. I want people to learn from my page. I want them to see that they are not defined by the judgment of others.”

“Over time, I’ve come to understand that people who truly love you — won’t judge you for how you look. For example, when we first met, and I had acne, my husband was really sweet to me.

He would say,you are the most pretty girl I’ve seen.”

“If I’m not wearing makeup or just lying on the couch, my husband and kids will still love me because they are accepting of who I am. They are not judging me. 

“They don’t say, you need to put on makeup, you don’t look good, or your pimple is popping out. They don’t say all of these things.  So, over these past years, I started my page to bring that same energy to people. I want to share my journey and tell people that acne is not a crime, a punishment. or something to be degraded for.”

“This is so important to me because I used to feel so insecure about my face and body not being perfect. When you go out, you see pretty girls, pretty faces, and good bodies, and you hear people giving them compliments.

Everyone says to them,oh, you’re so good-looking.”

“Every time I was around those situations, I would think about how my skin was not perfect. My hair was not perfect. I just remember thinking, wow, everything is flawed. But, that’s where self-acceptance comes in. It’s all about what you think about yourself. Self-acceptance is more important, and we have to start loving ourselves. When you care less about what other people are thinking, you become more at peace. 

Whenever I start comparing myself, I think of the positive things like,I’m a good mother.  I’m a good wife. I’m a good daughter.” 

“These are things that make me feel good when I get thoughts like, you are not worthy.  Even when I look at social media, I see people living their lives and advancing in their careers. But, right now, I am not working. I want to spend the whole time with my family and raising my kids. I want to see them after school. So, to all the stay-at-home moms, it’s okay if you don’t have an office job. It's okay. If you’re feeling isolated, go out and make friends. If you’re feeling pressured, you can stop looking at social media or manage your feed. You can also read about how to self-help or do a daily positive affirmation.”

“Positive affirmations were especially important to me after my second pregnancy because I had postpartum depression. Before pregnancy, my skin was smooth, my hair was good, and it was growing. I had a full volume of shiny hair. Then, after my second pregnancy, I got melasma, pigmentation, acne scars, and big pores. Ever since childhood, prominent pores were always a skin concern for me.  I have oily, combination skin. So, even if I don’t apply moisturizer, my skin is oily. In India, it’s very warm weather so my skin was especially oily when I lived there.” 

“So, I used to wash my face again and again, but it made my skin worse, and nobody was there to guide me. Instead of looking at my face, some people would just look at my pimples! It’s like they were scanning my face thinking –okay, she has that pimple and that pimple.  It really bothered me. I was never the girl who didn’t care. I didn’t think to myself,well, it’s my skin. It shouldn’t bother you. I know what I am. 

No, it sat with me. “

“I never had that courage. But, in COVID, I learned so many things. When you feel negative, you will see so many negative things. But, when you feel positive, you see positive things.”

There are days where you feel negative, but you have to come up with positive attributes. You can even put something on to make you feel good-looking. You'll wonder what people think and you'll feel shy, but just go out. You’ll feel much better than holding yourself back.   You have to step up and make yourself feel good. Nobody is going to do it for it you, and you owe it to yourself.”