Thursday, June 20, 2013

Seeing Myself As I Am

Last weekend I went out with some friends. Beautiful, intelligent, caring women who have recently become a part of my life. I'd been looking forward to this night for weeks.

We met, we hugged, we gushed over how good it was to be together again. We sat and in-between talking, ordered, and, somehow consumed, good food. We caught up on our lives and discussed future plans-new homes, campaigns, travel and children. It was glorious. Simply glorious.

At the end of the night, as we began, reluctantly, to say our good-byes, everyone whipped out their phones for pictures. We flashed and snapped our happy faces. And, after this amazing evening, with women who clearly care for me and who I am, I looked at the picture and cringed. "Ugh. My hair looks so dumb."  I resisted the urge to delete the photo, mainly because it captured this night that I never want to forget.

Later, I looked at the picture again. No, my bangs did not look just-out-of-the-salon perfect, but then, they never do. And, holy smack! Who the hell cares? My friends obviously do not. I'm pretty sure not one of them sat there and thought, 'Sheesh. Julie's hair is a mess. Can't be her friend anymore.'  They love me for me, not the shell that my personality, heart, mind and spirit are wrapped in.

Once again, I'm faced with that question of  'Why?'
Why do we beat ourselves up?
Why are we so critical?
Why can't we love who we are- the way others do?

I know I'm not alone in this struggle. I've come to realize that most women look in the mirror with critical eyes. And, when I see someone who looks 'perfect', she is probably worrying over some flaw that only she is aware of.  And, even if our flaws are apparent, again, who cares? We all have them.

So, I am taking on a challenge- to love myself. As. I. Am. I am going to study this topic and try my hardest to find a way to stop the crazy critical talk that spews inside my head. I will share what I find, and if you have any insights, I'd love to hear.

One last thought, from one of my favorite women (who I met once, can you say starstruck?) Elaine S. Dalton-

"Could it be that we have been deceived by false role models and persuasive media messages that cause us to forget our divine identity? What could be more deceptive than to entice us to do nothing or to be busy ever texting... What could be more deceptive than to entice women, young and old, you and me, to be so involved in ourselves, our looks, our clothes, our body shape and size that we lose sight of our divine identity and our ability to change the world through our virtuous influence?"

Here are the pictures-undeleted and unedited-


Jenny, Abby and Holly

Carly, Heather, Aleisha (me in the back)
(Melody and Polly-you left too soon! June, Shannan, Meg, Jenny, and Amy- we missed you!!)

14 comments:

  1. You all look great!! Sooooo sad I missed it! When is the next one scheduled? LUV YA!

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1. Your hair is gorgeous (love how you call your hair your 'bangs' btw)

    2. If you loved yourself as much as we loved you we probably wouldn't love you because you'd spend too much time loving yourself and not others that you wouldn't be the you we love! (that really doesn't make as much sense typed out as it does in my head :-/)

    Be you because we love you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That sounds like an absolutely fantabulous evening. There is nothing better than the unabashed love of good friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true. Love and laughter make everything bearable.

      Delete
  4. Had so much fun with you! I love this post.i think I will take the challenge along with you! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! We can conquer this self-critical thing one picture at a time.

      Delete
  5. I'm always afraid people can see my terrible skin, my wrinkles, my thinning hair.... I agree I think all women struggle this way. I lecture my daughter on being grateful for all the beautiful qualities she has rather picking herself apart, but I openly do the same. I'll take the challenge too. Looking for the good taking the focus off of what I don't have (a smaller nose)! ...workin' on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a process, but one we can accomplish. (I always look at you and wish I were as gorgeous as you are.)

      Delete
  6. I relate. For me, it's the frizzy hair and my nose. And my arm fat. I'm quite sure everyone sees me coming and thinks only of my arm fat. Have you seen this project? http://www.chookooloonks.com/new-faces/ If you don't know about Karen, you may want to check her out. Her whole mission in the world has to do with the idea that we are all beautiful BECAUSE of the things that make us different. Her photos and writing express this notion beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that blog, Tara, thanks for sharing it.

      (Arm fat is the bane of my existence. My husband swears no one notices, and I feel EVERYONE does.)

      Delete
  7. You all look beautiful in that envious "I am happy & having fun with my peeps" way. Thank you for reminding me not to continue deleting every picture of me with my chins. Because there will always be chins, but not another photo of me with my boys at their first all-together piano recital. Love this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is a HUGE issue for me--not in the I spend hours in front of the mirror trying to be perfect before I leave the house way--but in a I avoid the mirror at all costs way and I am generally horrified by photos of myself too to the point where I turned down the opportunity to have my photo taken with the musical group The Barenaked Ladies (who I LOVE!)because I dreaded what I would look like in the shot. Let me know if you find the magical cure--or at least a Band Aid that will make it feel better for a while. ;)

    ReplyDelete

Tell me what you think...