I had a beautiful day out with a dear friend and an acquaintance a few years ago. We took a photo of all of us with my friend’s baby, and I posted it on Facebook. Just a few moments later the acquaintance reached out and asked me to remove the photo because she didn’t like how she looked. Pretty much anyone else who looked at that photo would have seen a few beautiful women happy together, but what that girl saw was an image of herself that didn't live up to her standards. It made me really contemplate the energy we put in monitoring our appearances in life and online.
How many times have you cringed when you saw a photo of yourself you didn’t like? How many times have you asked someone to delete a photo of you? I’m not necessarily advocating we go around posting our most unflattering photos, but I think we need to start seeing these for what they are: a microsecond in time. You are not defined by an image.
The truth is that you are you no matter what a snapshot comes out looking like. I remember spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Han, speaking about this in his book No Death, No Fear. In his seventies he looked back on a photo of himself as a teenager. He asked, “Who is this man? He didn’t die, but he is also no longer alive.”
Life is constant motion. Our cells are always changing. We are constantly aging, constantly moving, and growing. The sooner we embrace this the more joyful life can be. The more easily we accept our physical form the more quickly we can focus our time here on the things that actually matter. The worry about your appearance (and really, about what other people think about you) kills your joy. It comes from fear and lowers your vibration.
A photo is a moment. One little split second can be really unflattering and another can be very flattering. But what do those photos mean about you? How are you allowing them to define you?
If this is an area you find yourself struggling with you can experiment by taking a lot of selfies. Make tons of different faces, snap photos of yourself as you’re talking, and just stare at them one by one. Give yourself love as you witness each depiction of your physical form no matter what you look like. Each image is still you.
You'll probably find yourself cringing at a few, but as you work through them you'll begin to find humor in them. We'll be working with a photograph of ourselves in week three so this will be great practice.
Remember to keep journaling. Remember to keep giving yourself to this process wholeheartedly. Allow something new to come up. Allow yourself to let go. Give yourself permission to love parts of yourself you never thought you could—even a bad photo. Because you are not your mind or the ways in which your mind wants to control you. Take back control of your life. Let a photo be a photo and move your energy to the things that bring you joy.
I am more than my appearance.
I choose to give my energy to love.
Head over to the Facebook group and share where you're feeling stuck or where you've broken through.