Learning to Love You Always

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Yesterday we had family pictures taken. It’d been a significant amount of YEARS since we’ve had the last ones so it was long overdue. I’m all over getting my kids pictures taken often. I take DAILY pictures of my kids. But family ones??? Not so much. My sweet husband would say, “We really need to schedule those” and I’d reply, “Yep, that’d be a good idea.” aaaaannnnd then, another year would go by.

There’s a reason for this and I know I’m not alone in this so today this post is for all of you who find yourself shying away from the camera/mirror/reflection of themselves in any kind.

I had this limiting belief that I’m not photogenic. I didn’t like having my picture taken, especially professional ones. I’d see so many beautiful people in these portrait settings and a part of me would long to have my own family pictures taken but then that voice in my head would remind me that having that meant that I’d need to be IN the picture and that I’d never look as good as the picture I was looking at. So I wouldn’t schedule an appointment.

After our last baby was born (over 6 1/2 years ago) we did get family pictures taken. My kids were absolutely adorable in them; my husband, the cutest. Me? not so much. I’d look at the pictures and see every single flaw. I’d see a body that I wasn’t comfortable in, hair that was wild and unruly, a smile that I didn’t like, etc. But then I was introduced to Brooke Castillo and the work she does – the work I do now – because it transformed the way I see myself. I want to share a few insights today – in case you too might be struggling to love your reflection.

My thoughts were very negative towards myself. I directed my focus to hone in on all the flaws I had and I didn’t like looking at pictures of me, a reflection of me, and no way did I like looking at an actual scale. I learned that our THOUGHTS* create how we FEEL. If I was having really negative thoughts about myself you can bet I was feeling crummy

Brooke gave me a new perspective to try on. She asked me to think about my children and how I think about them. How I think about them when I see a goofy picture of them. How I saw them when they weren’t quite ready for the camera to snap that candid shot and it looks like they were in the middle of saying something – you know those pictures. And I did think about them and I love them, ALL OF THEM because they’re my kids and I don’t see any flaws, I just see and feel love towards them. Did that one off picture mean that they’re flawed? No, it’s kind of funny and endearing. Is that how they always look? And even if it were – would I love them any less??? Of course NOT!

If then, I could see only love towards them – even in goofy, flat out “what on earth???” pictures – why couldn’t I offer that same love to myself?

That was step one: Awareness. WHY don’t you like pictures of yourself? Why can’t we love all of us? Why do we have this obscured vision of ourselves?

Step two: Thoughts. We can’t love all of us because we’re not having LOVING thoughts about ourselves. This is going to be more of a challenge at first – especially if you’ve believed things about yourself for a very long time – like I had. See, it’s VERY DIFFICULT (near next to impossible) to lie to your brain. You can’t go from the thought: I hate how I look – to – Oh, my goodness! I look AMAZING! Because you’re NOT going to believe it. You even try to think that for a second and your brain is going to fire back a TON of reasons and evidence to prove that statement false. It’s going to pull up every flaw and reason that that statement isn’t true leaving you feeling WORSE than you did before. Don’t try it. It’s not fun.

What I can offer you instead is to start small. You need to give your brain a direction and you want to avoid giving it another negative thought to think about so give it a neutral thought instead. Try this,
from: I’m so ugly. I hate how I look – to – I’m a person. That’s it. I’m a person. That sounds strange – obviously you’re a person. BUT the beauty is that your brain just wants something to think about – you giving it that statement fills the need to put something there and also, it’s true. It’s neutral so it’s NOT going to fire anything back at you other than, “yup, that’s true”.

Starting small and neutral offers you a stepping stone OUT of the land of negativity and INTO a better, more positive place. You still can’t go from “I’m a person” to “I’m the most beautiful person on the planet”. Again, you’re going to get push back there. So give it another stepping stone. “I’m a person and I have worth.” Keep adding to this one step at a time. FIND true, wonderful things about you and it’ll eliminate the need to talk negativity to yourself. It’s true! Try it.

In the morning when you wake up and you have to walk by the bathroom mirror and you see your reflection in all your morning glory – DON’T let your brain fire whatever it wants. Prepare AHEAD OF TIME what you can say instead. Jody Moore says this one and I love it, “There I am”. That’s it. It’s a fact. There’s no need to add anything else on to it. Just, there I am. Then you can add on from there. There I am. I’m alive and well. I’m awake and ready for the day. My body is functioning as I need it to. I am a Child of God. I am capable of doing amazing things.

Do you see how this line of thought is going to offer you much more positive feelings than berating yourself? Negative talk doesn’t help you – it doesn’t serve you. No one has made lasting change by being shamed into it. True change happens from positivity, from love. That’s the true motivation and that’s what happened to me.

I tried shaming myself for YEARS only putting myself in turmoil each and every time. It didn’t help. I didn’t change. When I started small and decided that I would say a neutral or a positive to myself instead of a negative my world started to shift. I started to see my worth. I started to see a different person staring back at me.

In pictures, I decided that I was going to love all of me just like I love my family members in every single picture I see of them. All of the beautiful, picturesque ones to the cross eyed, part laughing part talking ones too. I decided that no matter what the picture looked like I could either say a neutral – there I am – or a positive. That day was so much fun. You can tell by the way we’re so freely laughing.

So yesterday, family pictures…the photographer was sweet and would show us a few pictures after taking them and my brain REALLY wanted to fire some things back at me but I have agency. I get to choose what stays – even in my head….and I’ve gotten pretty good at it so I just said self, what an amazing day you get to spend with your incredible family. I’m so glad we get to document this beautiful day of my beautiful family in our beautiful love we have for one another. My brain quieted down and agreed. It was a beautiful day.

It can be for you too. Remember, learn (process of trying again and again) how to love all of you – each angle, reflection, mid sentence picture of you. If you can’t say anything nice – state the obvious – there I am. I promise you it’ll offer you so much freedom and peace and love towards yourself – and since YOU are the ONLY one that gets to feel what’s in your body – the nicer the thought, the nicer you’ll feel.

Let me know how it goes for you! I’d love to hear your progress!

Sources: Brooke Castillo at The Life Coach School
Jody Moore at Bold New Mom

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