We who live with body-focused repetitive behaviors are often overthinkers and tend to be perfectionists. We easily discount our healing progress when we have setbacks.
What does it even mean to have a setback? Don’t get hung up on “I have to stop picking/biting/pulling completely, or it doesn’t count.”
Our BFRBs serve a purpose. We pull, bite, and pick to soothe ourselves and regulate our nervous system. We cannot “just stop” our behavior.
That’s why it is crucial to celebrate small successes and recognize the progress in our BFRB healing. So, be proud if you picked only three spots instead of eight, pulled only four hairs instead of ten, or generally didn’t do as much damage as usual.
As perfectionists, we must learn to accept perceived imperfect skin and crooked hair. We have this unrealistic airbrushed image of us in our heads. But at the end of the day, nobody’s skin or hair is perfect. We are human; we’re “flawed,” and this is good! Imagine how boring the world would be otherwise!
So, take the pressure off yourself, define BFRB recovery through mini-goals, and ditch the all-or-nothing thinking. Even if you sometimes think you’re not making any progress, take a closer look—inward … not in the mirror or something, because that can be dangerous, as we know 😉
You make progress with every new attempt, coping technique, and self-help book. Every time you “fail,” you learn something new about yourself. And the more you know about yourself and your triggers, the easier it will be to prevent certain situations and control your BFRB.
Trust the progress and remember that healing is not linear!