You're considering booking a session but then you hear that little voice:
“I need to wait until (insert statement about unnecessary self-improvement here)."
"I'm waiting until I lose that 7 pounds... I want my bangs to grow past this awkward stage... My teeth aren't white enough... I really need to tone up first."
Sound familiar? I hear you. I don't always love everything about myself either. One day I might feel great, my hair is perfect, those jeans fit just right and I am on top of the world, but the next?
"How long has that wrinkle been there? .... Those extra pounds turned into the shadow of a second chin overnight! .... Is THAT what I look like from that angle?"
Those apps on your phone are flooded with photos of perfectly styled families, flawless hair, and glowing skin. It’s easy to get sucked into the comparison trap from time to time, to feel like your REAL and your RIGHT NOW aren’t worthy of documenting, simply because they don’t seem to measure up to the highlight reels you so often scroll through. You’re not alone, heck, I’ve been there myself. Negative self-talk happens, but what counts is learning to quiet that voice and show up as you are.
I know that there isn’t a single person on this planet with the same combination of ambition, intelligence, compassion, curiosity, and creativity that makes you, you. No one can replicate the same dreams, the same stories, or the same love that fills a life. We are all unique, amazing, and freaking beautiful. We are absolutely enough.
So, why then, while knowing all of this (and truly believing it), do I sometimes still feel that ping of self-doubt when I catch a glimpse of a snapshot where I don't look my best? Well, I really can't answer that, perhaps it’s because I'm human. Perhaps it's a hint of guilt for choosing to have that glass of Pinot Noir last night instead of hitting the gym (actually, strike that, I’ll never regret that decision). Maybe it’s because no matter what I believe and know to be true, the negative thoughts just linger sometimes. I love who I am and I appreciate the body I’ve been given, but sometimes it can still feel impossible not to carry the weight of what we’ve been taught to compare ourselves to.
Here’s the thing though. When you push that all aside, when you stand in the center of a world that boasts such outrageous beauty standards and you realize that you are enough, that you are freaking marvelous, inside and out. That’s when true change happens.
See this photo? This was the result of an afternoon self-portrait session that came of me trying to take my own advice and get in front of the lens more often. When I downloaded the images I immediately flagged every one of them as “rejected,” planning to permanently delete them because I genuinely loathed the way that I looked. I’m not sure what distracted me that afternoon, but I’m glad that it did, because when I stepped away and returned I had a new perspective.
I didn’t look at this photo and see it as a thousand imperfections. I looked at this and I saw it for exactly what it is.
The feeling captured here is one of favorite feelings in the world. I am adored. I love another human being more than I ever thought it possible to love. That all natural I’m-about-to-bust-out-laughing face that I’m making while wrapped up in Sam's arms so accurately depicts the joy that I feel with him. I am so fiercely in love with this man and with the way that he loves me that I just want to shout it from the rooftops. If this is what that looks like, honestly, that's okay with me now. It's more than okay actually, it's incredible. Even if my eyes are squinty and my chin imperfect, my life is freaking beautiful. I am freaking beautiful, and I'm learning to show up just as I am.
So let's recap here, shall we?
Who you are at this very moment is enough. You are enough. Even if you don’t agree with that yet, learn to, because to be honest, who you are right now is who you are right now. Maybe you'll change a little in a few weeks, maybe you won't, but this is who you are in this moment. Stop deleting awesome snapshots of you and your partner or photos of you and your children because you wish you looked different. This is the version of you that your husband adores, the version that your children admire and that they’ll remember, so please, learn to love it too. Love this stage of your beautiful existence enough to preserve it, document it so that your children and the people who love you can hold on to these moments and find joy in them for years to come. Document it so that you can look back and see how beautiful this life truly is, how beautiful you are and always have been.