In 10+ years of blogging I’ve taken 1000’s of photos of myself. Photos than I can look at, compare, analyze. Did Iook better here? Or here? Why do I look like this now versus then? It becomes a thing, where you constantly search for ways to compare yourself to a younger, better version. I’ve done fitness programs where you take progress photos, and those in themselves force you to compare whether you look better or “worse.” It gives you a defined before and after. which is great when your after shows improvement, but what happens when you slip back to the before?
I’ve spent years and years creating a story for myself where I am nothing BUT my body and what it looks like. It has revolved around anxiety and control, and how I used my physical self as a way to feel in control. I’ve slowly moved away from this in the past year, and it has taken daily work and the willingness to observe myself outside of what I look like.
Recently I heard someone ask, “When have you felt the most authentic version of you,” and is there a photo of it? Years ago I would have picked a picture of me in a bathing suit, looking really good. That is where my self esteem was, as long as I looked good on that particular day. If I didn’t look good I’d sink into a hole. I’d be anxious and I’d come up with an extreme way to “fix it.”
Today, when I think of when I feel the most ME, I think of this picture. It was on my 40th birthday this in August. I’m standing in my half renovated new home, in front of a homeade cake. I had spent the day with my family and the night with my friends. It was a good day, filled with good food and I’m in an old teeshirt and sweatpants and I felt incredibly BLESSED that day.
When I think of my most authentic self I think of feeling joyful, happy, open, full of light, creative, and nurturing. None of it has to do with what I look like in a bathing suit. It’s about how I feel versus how I look.
How do you want to feel? ✨