In some ways, we all have a distorted view of ourselves. 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.
I wish I could say things are not what they used to be. The 70s and 80s were more superficial than they are now that is for sure. However, people today still feel they are not attractive or not good enough, in any way, to live up to society's expectations of perfection.
"...many of us follow labels given to us by others and ourselves."
We fall victim to overgeneralized labeling, and many of us follow those labels given to us by others or ourselves. Even when they are not true, we believe they are.
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 overweight at the grocery store. "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."
I've labeled myself as overweight my entire life. And even now, after overcoming self-hate and loathing to self-love and acceptance, I still struggle with my weight. I am simply living up to that expectation of myself.
Can you relate? What are your labels? What does your ego say to you while it sits on your shoulders and manipulates your thoughts? Over and over and over. This is an intriguing article by life coach and blogger, Lenora Boyle, on the top 30 Self-defeating Beliefs Among Women.
"If you want to feel better about yourself, then see yourself exactly as who you are."
If you want to feel better about yourself, then see yourself exactly as who you are. The best version of YOU is when you accept and integrate 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 become whole.
As an experienced portrait photographer, I can make any woman look good enough to be on the cover of a high-fashion magazine. Although, is that an authentic representation of who she really is? It might be. It's possible that in knowing for a brief moment that the world may see her as significant, she may express to me her inner power of self-acceptance and shine her true essence.
If only she knew that power was already lying dormant within her. She can be a person of influence. Not only seen as someone who is but actually is. All of the time.
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.
I create images of women who shine their true essence. I know what my secret sauce is. I figured out how I do it. I get joy in doing it. When I put a camera in my hands I enter a flow state. So, if I can positively influence just one person to shine as her true self, which in turn positively impacts the lives around her, and so on, then I have fulfilled my purpose.
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.
Help me serve my purpose.
If you're interested in getting personal branding photographs then I offer a complimentary Strategy Session to help get you started.