The Weight of Opinions
Consider this example: You leave the house with the awareness that your psoriasis has been flaring for some time. It is uncomfortable and undesirable for you, and your opinion is very negative. You are certain that someone is going to react to you, and you’re not sure you will be able to tolerate this. As you pass others on the street or in a store, you notice several bystanders looking at you with puzzled expressions.
Your stress and anxiety begin to gather this information and distort it. The presentation of the other people is a very subjective aspect, but your stress has you convinced that they were judging you or even disgusted by your appearance. This process ends with many problematic outcomes including:
- Increased stress.
- Increased anxiety.
- Decreased desire to leave the house.
- More negative views of other people.
- Increased anger and frustration towards psoriasis.
All of these unwanted effects are triggered by the combination of your negative opinion of psoriasis paired with the feedback of others. This is why your own opinion is so pivotal. You can never avoid all unwanted feedback, but you can modify the impact.
Another example: You leave the house with the awareness that your psoriasis has been flaring for some time. As you leave, you tell yourself that you are okay. Though you may encounter some glances and stares during your outing, it will not take away from the positivity of your day. As you pass others on the street or in a store, you notice several people looking at you with puzzled expressions.
Since you were expecting these responses, you are better able to manage your reactions. You note that the majority of people had no reaction to you. You can imagine why people would be looking at you this way with explanations like:
- They have never seen someone with psoriasis before.
- They were curious about your condition.
- They weren’t actually looking at you. Your condition is making you more self-conscious.
- They were looking at you, but it was for a positive reason. Maybe they like your outfit or your haircut.
These explanations work to avoid any negative views of yourself or the people that are looking at you, and they are more based in reality. For some reason, people find it easier to believe that someone is thinking negatively about them rather than positively.
It will be more comfortable to think that someone is sickened by your flare than it is to think they like your hat. This is an unfortunate part of human nature that is common for most people.
As example one leads to feelings of increased stress, anxiety, hopelessness, example two leads to optimism and lower levels of stress. As stated previously, less stress leads to fewer psoriasis flares. Moving to example two takes work, but your body will thank you.