Change the way you see. Not the way you look.
This is a statement that I've been contemplating for a while- trying to think of a creative blog post idea to spread the word about an amazing blog/book/project that I believe in with my whole heart: Operation Beautiful. (And Caitlin- I just got so excited because I had to italicize that since it's the name of your book now! You rock! Congratulations!)
If you've never heard of Operation Beautiful, I strongly encourage you to go to the website and check it out. It started as a small idea to brighten someone's day and has snowballed into something amazing that I know can change the lives of women everywhere.
This week, August 2-7, is a week dedicated to changing how you see yourself. So many women, including myself, suffer from bouts of low self-esteem and poor body image so we diet and exercise ourselves to exhaustion or burn-out. We're never ok just being happy the way we are, and it's truly a crime to miss out on your life because you think your thighs are huge.
So while mulling over this concept, I decided to do a blog post that terrified me a little. You see, I have a bad habit of seeing a picture of myself and wrinkling my nose in disgust because I think I look "terrible." I can't tell you the number of times that Robert has sighed at me in exasperation and said that I was not allowed to delete the picture because I didn't look "terrible," I looked "beautiful." I decided that it was time to change my disdain for myself on film by posting pictures that I "hated" and instead write things about them that I actually liked or maybe even loved.
Now, it sounded like a great idea, and really it was- but I ran into a little problem... I couldn't find any pictures that I really, truly hated. I was shocked and a little proud that I could even look at a no make-up, double chinned, bad angle photo and be able to say that I wasn't horrifically embarrassed by it. This fact really hit me while going through my wedding photos. Specifically, I thought about how most women diet and starve themselves to their slimmest self on their wedding day, and (while I had good intentions to lose a few) I actually gained a couple pounds in the weeks before I said "I do." Did I notice? Well yeah, when I was rolling in the grass on a blanket taking photos and the eye hook of my dress popped, I noticed. Did I care? Nope. (Well unless you count being slightly unable to breathe in my dress, but I got used to it pretty quickly.) Do I stare at the pictures with regret because I think my arms are flabby? No way. Seriously, There could have been a picture of me with milk flying out of my nose or a zit the size of everest and I would have thought I was beautiful in my wedding dress. And I was. I really was. See for yourself!
This reminds me of those "Stars with no make-up pics" on Tabloids, but despite the greasy hair and soft neck that I so graciously inherited from my daddy, I can look at this and remember the anticipation and excitement of getting all "gussied up" and marrying the love of my life!
I love the sheer joy in this picture. I love that my nose crinkles when I'm laughing. I love that I have baby hairs around my face that spiral softly. And I love the happiness radiating from my face.
My eyelashes are gorgeous in this picture. Usually I don't like pictures where I'm taken off guard, and years ago I may have not liked this one- but now I see it for what it really is: beautiful.
My face in this picture is the spitting image of my mother's. She's my best friend in the whole world, and for that reason, I will always find this picture beautiful.
My daddy means so much to me, and it was overwhelming emotionally to walk down that aisle. I couldn't tell if I was crying or smiling or both. From this picture you can tell that it was clearly both.
Despite the crazy hair from the wind, all I see is love in my eyes.
Quite possibly my favorite picture of the day. This is me.
A little crazy. A constant kid at heart. A bit dramatic.
And an all around beautiful girl.
I'm happy I finally realize that. I can't help but find these pictures wonderful because I remember how I felt. And I think that's a big step towards changing how you see... by first changing how you feel. If you can look at a picture and think about how much fun you had that night or how in love you were, you may miss your "big nose" or your "muffin top." And you'll see that you are beautiful too! And you truly always have been. Changing the way we look is difficult. Changing the way we see is a little easier. But changing the way we feel (or even just remembering the way we felt) may just be the key to it all.