How I Learned to Love Myself

In my last post, I mentioned how photos used to be something terrifying for me. I HATED photos of myself (almost as much as I hated myself — but that’s another story for another time). I’ve shared with a few people how I came to hate photos so much. The gist of that story is that my physical flaws were often pointed out to me in photos; it got to a point where the flaws were all I could see. It didn’t matter if someone else said it was a good photo, I winced every time I looked at it.

My brain, when looking at an old photo, went something like this:

Yeah. That’s about right.

After years of thinking this way whenever I saw a photo of myself, I found it impossible to ever think I was pretty — in a photo or in general. SO many people feel this way. I’ve pretty much never met a person who did not question his or her appearance — especially in a photograph. Many people “screen” the pictures that are taken of them and will BEG for certain ones to be deleted because they’re “ugly,” “terrible,” or “embarrassing.”

The problem with thinking this way…with having a brain programmed as illustrated above…is that, for me at least, it made me HATE myself. And, moreover, it made me hate ON myself all the time. When I finally started working on learning to love myself, the first place I started was with photos. I decided if the practice of pointing out all of my flaws could make me instinctively SEE the flaws and criticize myself, then doing the opposite and pointing out all of the positive things (no matter HOW much I disliked the picture) would be the best way to help me always see the beauty.

I started with the very same pictures that I criticized.

After I worked through all of the pictures I’d criticized, I locked myself in my bedroom and took out my digital camera. I took HUNDREDS of pictures, and then, I sat down and looked through each one and forced myself to name at least ONE positive thing about every single picture.

I’ve done this for years now — 3 years now to be exact. And while I still see the flaws instinctively, I also instinctively STOP myself from naming the flaws, and I clearly and easily see all of the positive things. Along with this change has come an even more important change — I TAKE PICTURES!

I take pictures of everything! Every time my boyfriend and I go out and do something, I pull out the camera. I LOVE pictures now! Old pictures, new pictures, bad pictures too. Now that I’m living life — I want to remember it for forever! I also take every opportunity to look like a FOOL in my pictures (as long as what I’m doing isn’t foolish). And, even when I take the silliest most childish pictures ever, I can still see the beauty:

Aaaand even when I can’t see the beauty, I can still see the FUN!


4 thoughts on “How I Learned to Love Myself

  1. Great post, Lisa! I still pick apart pictures of myself in a negative way and I need to stop! I love the visuals with the negative and positive viewpoints.

  2. Love this post! Strange how we train ourselves to be so critical. I am 46 years old and about 80 pounds overweight, and I can’t look at myself in a picture. I am going to try this. I need to look at myself differently, and so far, I am having trouble with that. Keep up the good work! Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Sometimes I still have trouble looking at pictures of myself. But, when I catch myself having that gut “eww” reaction, I stop and do what I talked about here. It’s a looong process undoing negative self talk! I hope this works for you too. It doesn’t matter WHAT you look like, you’re worth loving — including being loved by you.

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