Confessions From A Recovering Nail Biter (Nail Series Pt.1)

By Charity

  • Since I was a little girl, I dealt with nail biting and short and brittle nails
  • It took me a long while to trace this behavior back to an internal imbalance
  • My nails were also signaling to me when I was deficient in various nutrients

In my opinion, healthy and manicured nails are a sure sign of beautiful hands. There is a quiet strength that our hands exude when our nails are in healthy order. My nails have not always been as whole as they are now. 

I remember thinking about jewelry and carrying this belief that there was no way I could ever pull off wearing rings. I thought I was too rough with my hands, but since I liked rings, I thought I would just wear them on a necklace instead. When my husband proposed and presented me with the engagement ring (and after saying yes, of course), the next thing I blurted out was ‘I need to go get my nails done!!” I was embarrassed of my natural nails because I struggled to have healthy ones. 

Since I was a little girl, I dealt with nail biting. It took me a long while, up until my adult years, to trace this behavior back to an internal imbalance. Once I began to seek out remedies to repair my short and brittle nails, I was confronted with a pattern which had emerged over time. Occasionally I would luck out with some nail growth. But like clockwork, my nails would become brittle, chip, and tear in lockstep with the levels of stress and anxiety that I was experiencing. Nail biting did not represent the strong and confident woman image I wanted to show.

I tried so hard to stop cold turkey, instead of facing the things that were stressing me out. It really wasn’t until I looked closely at how little I was resting, and began to practice building in rhythms of slowing down, that I saw a change in the health of my nails.

Interestingly enough, my nails were also signaling to me when I was deficient in various nutrients. I am not sure just yet how to trace the deficiency down to the root, but the red flag that goes up if my nails start to tear or are slow to grow back is usually a good reminder that I should take inventory of how I’ve been caring for myself.

On an external level, I would apply a simple clear nail polish to help me visualize my hands with nice nails. They were too short to manicure, but there was something about giving my nails a layer of shine which helped me internally start to believe that I, too, could have beautiful hands and healthy nails one day. 

Self awareness was a huge part of this process for me - catching a moment when I’m deep in thought on something that might stress me out . . . and choosing in that moment to break the habit to replace it with a good one. As my nails began to grow more consistently, I would practice converting my tendency to tear off a nail, to using a nail file.

Once I started experiencing consistent nail growth, I found myself enjoying the sound I heard when I tapped my nails on a hard surface. For so many years I was unable to do this! Showing patience and kindness to my hands and nails led me to discover the natural beauty and health of my own nails.