What women believe about their self-image.

Women are constantly faced with a multitude of expectations and societal norms when it comes to their appearance and self-perception.

We all have a distorted view of ourselves in some way. The self-image we hold in our mind's eye is based primarily on the opinions of others. Our parents, social spheres, and culture have manipulated us into believing we must look and act a specific way to be attractive, likable, and accepted.

"Many of us follow labels given to us by others."

Falling Victim to Overgeneralized Labeling.

Even when a label is untrue, we consider it factual. Sometimes, we make additional assessments and create beliefs based on others' behavior.

These labels can come from something as simple as your mom announcing to the world, over and over, how cute your chubby cheeks are and then scoffing at someone at the store who is holding extra weight. "Is that how she thinks about me?" I thought to myself at the age of 9.

If that didn't get the message across, then it was the time she put me on a protein shake diet at the age of 11. "I guess I must be fat then," I thought. "If I become thin enough, maybe Mom will accept me." Please don't think I blame my Mother. She was wonderful and always did what she thought was best for me. I understand now that she suffered the same conditioning.

I've labeled myself as a heavy person my entire life. And even now, after overcoming self-hate and loathing to self-love and acceptance, I still struggle with my self-image. I am simply living up to that expectation of myself.

Photo of Gina as a baby
Portrait of Gina in Jr. High School
Portrait of Gina at 18.
Selfie of Gina 5 years ago.

Self-acceptance and Self-love are Key to Breaking Free From Societal Norms.

Can you relate? What are your labels? What mean things does your ego say to you over and over again? 

We are addicted to our thoughts and allow them to take control. One of the ways we cope with them is by lashing out, withdrawing, or numbing the pain. An interesting article by John Crimmins, Ph.D. explains, "Self-defeating behavior inhibits success regardless of one's desires, goals, or values... and is often caused by low self-esteem and negative self-talk."

"If you want to feel better about yourself, then accept and love yourself exactly as you are."

The best version of YOU is accepting and integrating all the characteristics you deny and reject about yourself. When you become aware of your labels or the coping mechanisms you've developed over your lifetime, you see that it's all an illusion. Only then can you break free from what society deems "normal."

If you want to successfully present an authentic and dynamic personal brand to the world, you must start realizing you already are one. Our imperfections, or what we think are imperfections, make us unique, genuine, and relatable. To truly become the brand, you must harness your self-confidence and use it to shape your narrative and brand.

Understanding Your Purpose and How You Serve Others.

As an experienced portrait photographer, I can make any woman look good enough to be on the cover of a high-fashion magazine. Not just because she looks good but because she is beaming something special within her. Some may think, "Is that truly an authentic representation of who she is?" I believe so. I may have the gift of drawing it out of someone. But I know that for a brief moment, she feels significant, which allows her to express her inner power. It's incredible how self-acceptance will enable her to shine her true essence. If only she knew that power was lying dormant within her always. 

We all make a valuable contribution to this world. However beautiful or grim you think the world is, we make a difference in the lives of others.

Two essential steps are discovering your true purpose and knowing your life's goal to implement it.

I create images of women who shine their true essence. I know what my secret sauce is. I ENTER A FLOW STATE when holding a camera and taking portraits. I figured out how to do it and feel joy and excitement while working my genius. My goal is to live authentically and to help others embrace theirs. I have fulfilled my purpose if I can positively influence just one person to shine as her true self.

What is your purpose? What is it you love doing that positively impacts the lives of others? Feel free to comment below if you'd like to share.

Want to shine your essence? 

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