Five Tips to Help You Love Seeing Yourself in Pictures

06/23/2016 07:00 pm ET Updated Jun 25, 2016

It’s summer time in the Northern Hemisphere and that usually means most of you will be going on some kind of vacation. I know we’ll be enjoying a vacation in southern California in a few weeks and I cannot wait to take a break to spend time with my two favorite people in the whole world: my husband and my son.

One of the best things about vacationing is that you get to experience new places, new faces and make new memories. To document all of these experiences, we usually take lots of pictures and/or video. I know many of you are cringing right now about this but hang on! Depending on how you choose to look at this, that can be good or bad.

Pictures and video are so wonderful because they literally allow you to relive the experience in a way that our memories will never allow us to do. Technology is so advanced now that we can take crisp, well lighted pictures and videos all from one small device!

That’s a good thing, right?

Well, for some it is. However, for women (and men) that struggle to love their bodies, all this picture taking and video shooting can really kick up a lot of strong sometimes painful emotions. So much so that many choose not to include themselves in pictures or videos because they have such extreme body shame.

I understand this all too well because even though I’ve struggled with body image issues a good part of my life, I didn’t let it stop me. I’m not saying I always liked the pictures I was in, but years later I was always so thankful that I jumped in the shot before they snapped the picture or started shooting the video.

I will be completely honest and tell you that when I look at pictures of myself from several years ago, I do lament a bit that I’m no longer that weight. Look, I’m not perfect and cannot lie by saying that it has no effect on me at all, because it does.  

However, while those feelings do come, it’s important to understand that they don’t stick around very long. That’s mainly because I’ve done so much internal work to not get stuck in this kind of crap anymore!

I wanted to share some tips that have helped me “get over myself” and start jumping in more pictures and not giving a hoot what my weight is!

  1. I remember where I am in my life. When I look back at pictures from a few years ago when I was at my thinnest, I was a different person. I said that I loved my body, but I know now that that love was conditional. The condition was that I stayed thin. I learned to truly love my body when I gained weight after going on anti-depressant medication a few years back. I decided that I wanted to be happy and sane and if going on medication was going to get me there, I was game no matter what the cost.

  2. I acknowledge that my value is not tied to my weight. It took me years to fully comprehend this, but when I acknowledged that my weight didn’t lessen my value, or dim my light, or lessen the gifts I had to offer the world, everything changed for the better. I could still be the loving, compassionate, and amazing mom, wife, friend and coach that I had always been no matter what my weight was.

  3. Our weight is a moving target. We’re not intended to be at the same weight all our lives! Whether we like it or not, our bodies are supposed to change. Pregnancies, stress, aging and hormones (among other things) all impact our weight. It’s not just what we’re eating that plays a part! Like our lives, our bodies will experience many seasons and in order to enjoy all of them, we need to embrace this. Change is constant and a necessary part of life. Weight fluctuations are not an indication that we are weak or deficient in some way. They are simply fluctuations. No moral value needs to be applied to them. Just let that go, sister!

  4. The memory is what matters not the weight. When I hop into a picture or video, I do sometimes worry about how my body will look. Like I said, I’m not impervious to those feelings! Like most, I like to do a quick once over before the picture is snapped. So, I make sure my shirt is tucked or tidied up, my hair isn’t all over the place and that I’m not gabbing! After doing all of that, I remind myself that I’m capturing a memory that can never be replaced. Keeping that in mind always makes me smile even bigger!

  5. I remember that I’m more than my body. My weight nor my body define me. I remember that the people that are usually in the picture with me are people that I love or care for deeply. As our lives go by, some of those people may move out of our lives or may even pass on. So instead of stressing about my body, I remember that we’re celebrating the love or deep caring that we had for one another at that time. We’re capturing that moment of togetherness that may never happen again.

  6. The regret outweighs the weight. When you look back, you will notice that you didn’t allow yourself to be in pictures and/or video, and when you remember the reasons why, you’ll likely have regret.So, instead of worrying about the weight, think of the regrets you’ll harbor by not being in those pictures.

So the next time someone is getting ready to snap a few photos, jump in and smile big!

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