Last week, my beautiful friend Maria and I went on a little day trip to Wilmington, NC. It was my first time there and I was pleasantly surprised. The town is right on the beach and the downtown area is incredibly charming; there are many cute restaurants, fun boutiques and pretty houses to look at. We had a lot of fun walking around, getting lunch and going to the beach. If you live nearby and have never been there before, I highly recommend it, it’s the perfect place for a quick getaway with friends.
One of the reasons we decided to go on a little trip somewhere was to take some pictures for First Class. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while but kept putting it off. I’m not a huge fan of getting my picture taken and was not particularly looking forward to that part; but Maria, who is blessed with great photography skills, recently acquired a super fancy, 5 million pixels, mega lens camera, and we both managed to get the same day off work, so I felt the time had come.
The actual posing part was not awful, but I have to admit that I need to work on my modeling skills, I lost count of the number of times Maria tried to get me to do something different from my go-to stance.
After we got back from our trip, we decided to go ahead and run through the pictures and at least eliminate those that were completely unusable. This was the part I had been dreading the most. I don’t know many people who enjoy looking at pictures of themselves, I’ve even heard of actors and actresses who confess they find it hard to watch themselves on screen. I don’t cringe every time I look in the mirror but for some reason when I get my picture taken, it’s just like, ew. But I knew this was something I needed to just grit my teeth and get over. As we went through the pictures, I felt that familiar sinking feeling I was accustomed to experiencing whenever I saw my picture; but as we went through more and more of them, I felt that feeling ebbing away. Later I tried to understand why this had happened.
Part of it, I know, was what they call the “mere-exposure” effect, which says that the more you are exposed to something the more you like it simply because you start to become accustomed to it. But I think another, more significant, part of it was the fact that I saw that I wasn’t perfect, I didn’t look like an airbrushed model…and I was okay. I came to terms with the fact that I am not perfect-looking. But the thing is you don’t have to be to be valuable, or even beautiful. If you take care of yourself and take the time to look presentable, that should be the extent to which you worry about how you look. Beyond that is where those yucky feelings of unworthiness kick in, which do nothing except hold us back from success and happiness.
I work hard to make sure I eat good foods and exercise regularly, I take the time to wear clothes in which I feel confident, but that’s it. It used to not be enough but now it is.
After years and years of battling with self-esteem issues, I finally feel that (at least for the most part) it is something I have overcome, and all it took was a picture for me to realize it.