On seeing a photo of yourself and not liking it (round 2)
Last year I did a post on seeing a photo of yourself and not liking how you look. With this year coming to a close, I thought it would be a good time to revisit that post idea and add a new thought I’ve had on the topic.
Just like my last post on this topic, all photos used in this post are ones that caused some judgement to pop up in my head when I saw them.
When you are looking at a photo and feel disappointed at what we see, I good question is…who are you looking for in the photo? Are you looking for someone thinner/curvier/shorter/taller? To get to a place of body neutrality, you have to start looking for YOU. Your arms. Your belly. Your boob sagginess. Your inner thighs. Your cellulite. Your shoulder broadness.
If every time you look at a photo of yourself you are looking for someone else, someone you wished you looked like, you will always be disappointed. You weren’t made to have someone else’s body, nor do you need to have someone else’s body to be healthy.
As stated before in a previous post on the idol of thinness, not having our culture’s ideal body size is a great practice for finding your worth from something that isn’t your body. Tolerating the discomfort of being in a body size you don’t want forces you to eventually move to finding your worth in something else. I’m not against thinness, as some people end up thin when they care for themselves (just as some people end up with more fat on their body), but I am for calling out idols our culture has created. Idols that don’t enrich your life, but rather keep you distracted, depressed, lonely, and striving towards something that will make you physically and mentally less of yourself, typically at the sacrifice of something that wasn’t meant to be sacrificed. I am for an approach to health that focuses on healthful behaviors rather than one that focuses on achieving a particular aesthetic or weight.
I’ll end with something from my previous post that I thought was well said: I believe that you (and me!) deserve to have a positive opinion of yourself that does not change when you see a photo of yourself. Seeing yourself in a photo or in the mirror and mainly only seeing your body size may be a sign your body size is over-identified as who you are.
What do you think about this? When you see a photo of yourself do you typically tear yourself apart? Or have you worked towards a photo being a tool of acceptance, rather than a tool of change? One interesting thing I’ve found since having kids is that it’s the first time that when I’m in a photo with them, when I look at the photo, instead of looking at myself first, I look at them first because I’m so excited to see their poses and faces. Not because I think less of myself, but because I’m thinking of myself less.