At this point, I’m pretty used to photoshoots of various varieties. I know what to expect. I know what not to expect. What I do know, is that a photoshoot always presents an opportunity to choose one of two paths: to love yourself or to not accept who you are as perfect.
I remember the first time that I did a photoshoot. It was with one of my best friend’s, Alyson, and my brother. She gifted us with a shoot to give my parents some really lovely photos of us siblings. I’m pretty sure I spent about 2 weeks worrying about it (in my head) and 3 days actually preparing for it. I spent three days thinking about outfits, buying outfits, working out, eating less and really obsessing over my body and how I looked. The morning of the photoshoot I waited in such intense anxiety, trying on outfit after outfit and obsessing over every single element (ironing my shirt, worrying about creases, whether my hair was straightened enough and of course whether or not my legs looked fat). This was a few years ago now (around 6 years) and up until this week, it seemed so far away. I could barely remember being like that.
And then this week happened. For several reasons, I found myself back in a space of being severely critical and negative about my body. And underneath that, I’ve been very judgmental of myself. Not feeling good enough. From different instagram accounts, to friends I see, to the clothes I’ve worn, to the way I’ve been waking up (and the thoughts I’ve been thinking); I’ve basically been in a hyper active state of judgment. And the worst part, is that my method of feeling better is: coffee. Over the years, I have created an association between caffeine and feeling good about myself. Caffeine makes my mind move faster, causes faster elimination and supports that feeling of just feeling empty and light. The thing is, I am pitta (in Ayurveda), and I tend to be the type that can take coffee at a certain time, but if I am drinking under a state of anxiety, it just increases it aggressively. So, the result is a fiery internal war against, well, me.
As I woke up this morning, with the thought of an upcoming photoshoot, I felt horrible. Not only do I have my period (which has been pretty horrible over the past few months- a sign of internal conflict no doubt), but I generally feel ‘not good enough’. The best part is that this photoshoot just so happens to be a fitness shoot with two very beautiful and fit ladies. Enter really horrible thoughts. You’re not good enough, they aren’t going to like you, they’re going to wonder why you are there, the clothes won’t fit properly. You name it- I thought it.
And so I had a choice. I could cancel, I could starve, I could spend the next few hours running, OR I could choose to change my thoughts. I could choose to stop in my tracks, breath in, and reconnect with something much greater and way more powerful than fear: love.
The thing is, it’s not like I am new to this. All of the concepts are not only self-practiced but I also work with clients and groups on the regular in this practice. The reason I am writing this is 1) for myself and 2) to show that we are all human. Even when we know the way out (or through), it doesn’t always mean that we will take it.
- Stop following and focusing on social media that is triggering (self-judgment, criticism, negativity) and instead surround yourself with supportive content (self-love, body freedom)
- Social media can be a huge space of comparison, fear, judgement and doubt. What accounts do you spend the most time on? What thoughts go through your mind when you are browsing? Do you watch any instastories or snapchats that leave you feeling less than or that you need to change who you are (or how you look)? It might be time to take some time away or at least pay attention to the dialogue that shows up.
- Spend more time working on your mental exercise rather than your physical exercise
- We allocate a lot of attention to how we look and how we take care of our bodies. Physical fitness is such an important concept in our lives. What about mental fitness? What do you do, daily, to exercise your mind and take care of your thoughts?
- Fill your body with food and drink which support it (and creates happiness, peace and joy internally (mind and soul too))
- Instead of starving ourselves, or consuming products that may not actually be good for us, turn to consuming foods and drinks that support your body (hydration, nourishment).
- Remind yourself that it is not about you (when people see photos, they don’t see you, they see themselves)
- I know that it’s hard to believe that people think about themselves when they see photos of you, but it’s the truth. When we see photos of other people, we immediately go into a state of comparison. So if you are worrying about how people are going to judge you, just remember that the judgment is less about you.
- In a moment of intense self-doubt or fear, ask yourself how you can better support yourself to feel loved and perfect in that moment (aka how can you accept yourself as PERFECT RIGHT NOW).
- In these moments of intense self-judgment, ask yourself how you can be a more supportive friend to you? Would you say what you say to yourself, to your friend? If a good friend came to you with your worries, how would you respond? Your internal dialogue is an important part of determining how you feel- so how are you going to speak to yourself in those moments of fear, doubt and pain?
And that’s it. Quick and simple. As always, this content is very much inspired from my own experiences. Lately, I’ve been experienced more doubt than usual and my “critical mind” has been more or less running the show. In my own practice, I spend time really going into why that is and where it is coming from. What events in my life are pushing me into a space of doubt and fear. When you go into these spaces you can ask yourself:
- What am I scared of?
- What event is coming up that I’m worried about?
- What has just happened that has made me feel ‘not enough’?
Once we bring awareness to the “why” and “what”, we can choose a different trajectory. We can choose to be compassionate and really love us for who we are. Because underneath all of the pressure and desire to be perfect, lies a younger version of who we are – who just wants to be accepted as who we are, right now.
Let’s start there.
RETREAT in COSTA RICA with ME!
ps. Are you feeling connected to this content? Well, we will be covering THIS and SO MUCH MORE around holistic transformation, ritual, connection and sisterhood on my Living in Light Retreat in COSTA RICA. There are just 4 spots left. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to chat more and BOOK your spot!