seeing myself in pictures


*This is not the post I set out to write! This started as a fitbloggin recap….


I smile in all my pictures.

I am happy until I look at said picture.

And I see my huge arms, double chin, big belly, thunder thighs, etc. If I am smiling in the pictures, my eyes almost disappear.

Wait, what?!?

Why do I think things like this?!?

I actually like myself. I have a good time and I have fun in the moments. In those awesome moments, I don’t even think about what I am going to look like in the picture. I simply enjoy the moments.

But when I look at the pictures of myself, in those happy moments, I nitpick my supposed flaws.


I had a bit of an emotional meltdown (or two or ten) at Fitbloggin. One was during the amazing Self-Acceptance discussion led by Karen, Mara, and Shauna. I don’t even know where to begin, I was listening to everyone’s stories and I felt the first few tears slip from my eyes. Then my cheeks were totally wet and I could barely see through my tears. Before I knew it, I was full on ugly crying.

I am so conflicted – on one hand I LOVE myself. I am a great person with a big heart. I could go on to tell you all the ways I think I am wonderful, but I am not that kind of person. Just know, I know I am awesome.

I DO NOT believe that my outside if awesome.  But I don’t hate myself or the way I look until I look at a picture of myself. Or look in the mirror.


Last night I wanted to get started on a fitbloggin recap so I started to look for pics on twitter. (I was terrible and took very few pics with my camera)

I started looking at the pictures and after seeing my smile, I noticed my flaws.

Then ALL I SAW were my flaws.

Then I tweeted….I put it out in the universe…and my friends responded….and I cried.

I need to see myself the way my husband and friends see me. Why can’t I ??

I realized this is broken thinking.

I don’t want to be broken. I want to like me, inside and out, in person and in pictures.


photo source

I am not sure where to go from here or how to make it easier or better but I need to be nicer to me. I am still conflicted as to how, because I do like myself but not the way I look….does this make sense? I know I am not perfect and I don’t want to be perfect, but I would like to be able to look at myself in the mirror or in pictures and not hate everything I see.


10 responses »

  1. First of all that creepy picture of that ‘kid’ with the scissors….WTF! Too sacry for 10am! Second, I am glad you know you are awesome, because you totally are. There actually isn’t a word in existence to adequately describe how freaking awesome you are! Love you!
    But…I know what you mean about looking at yourself in pictures and nitpicking. I am like that too but not with pictures, with my image in the mirror. I have such a screwed up sense of how I look that when I see mself and all my flab and skin and double chin saggy raisin-like boobs and thunder thigh and my really crazy looking stomach that kind of looks like an ass I am almost disgusted with myself. No, not almost. I am. It is hard not to be when I look at me and see all of these ‘flaws. But you know what I say- screw that. They are only ‘flaws’ if that is what we allow ourselves to think of them. I (and by that I mean we) have to start thinking of our features as what they really are- part of our amazing selves. Our thunder thighs are a good thing- they are strong and powerful like us. My crazy looking belly is like that because I am healthy now and if that is how it will look for the rest of my life then damnit I have to be proud of it. You should be proud too. Switch over to a positive perspective on these traits and see if you can find the ability to love them. That’s my two cents. Love you girl!

  2. I’m going to try to comment and ignore the fact that creepy scissor kid is freaking me out. 😛

    We are our own worst critics, and I don’t know what to say to make you stop feeling that, because I absolutely loathe the way I look in pictures too, but you are beautiful, and awesome, and beauwsome (just go with it)!

  3. I’m so proud of you. Writing this post must have taken so much strength. Once you have recognized a behavior, the power it has over you is gone. You will see yourself the way we see you.

    You are such a beautiful girl…you bring smile to people’s faces and when you hug me, I know you care. That’s why I love ya Jen! xoxo

  4. Wow, I could’ve written this post … well, except for the freaky creep kid. WTF?! Just like you, I always just live in the moment when I’m with friends and have an awesome time! I don’t even think about what I look like or anything … until I see the photos. Like you, I begin to pick apart all my “flaws” and forgot all the wonderful memories associated with said photos. I really need to work on that whole self-acceptance thing!

  5. I think most of us feel this way at some point. Even people that do not need to lose weight find fault in how they look. All too often we can’t see the forest for the trees.

  6. {{{Jen}}} The very first step is to soften your eyes when you look at yourself in a photo, or mirror. Continue to breath (we tend to hold our breath, or breath shallowly, when upset). Unlock your posture. Unscrunch your shoulders. Soften those eyes. Relax the back of your throat. See? I bet you didn’t realize it was tight. Acknowledge reality, WITHOUT HARSH JUDGMENT. This is not a blame game…yourself or others. Mobilize your best. Your best will change depending on whether you’re healthy or sick, tired or full of vim and vigor.

    A Self-Acceptance Experiment (by Martha Beck)

    The best way to improve your situation is to accept it. Unconditionally. Warts and all. Rejecting failure is the reson that denial exists. If it’s unacceptable for you to be [fill in the blank], then the truth is sheer horror. Yet lots of people think this kind of self-loathing is ‘motivational.’ ~ Martha Beck

    1. Think of something virtuous that you haven’t been able to make yourself do.

    2. Now feel the anxiety of believing you must do this undone thing. Really rev up the intolerance. Hate on your fat thighs, your weak will, your laziness. Insist on immediate, total. permanent change. Scream at yourself.

    3. Notice: do you feel more or less inclined to fall back into your bad habits? Do you feel more or less like eating, spending, or stalling? And by the way, how happy are you?

    4. Designate the next 10 minutes a time-out from life – a little vacation you’re going to take for the sake of this experiment. Release your anxiety, self-hatred and non-acceptance. Say to yourself, “For these 10 minutes, it’s all right to be as fat as I am.” Or

    5. Next, drop your resistance to your emotions. If you’re angry at yourself (or anyone else), tell yourself it’s okay to be angry. If you’re scared, tell yourself it’s okay to be scared. You don’t have to like these feelings, but let them be as they are.

    6. While accepting your outward truth (what’s really happening) and your inward truth (what you’re really feeling), notice how tempted you are to indulge your bad habits.

  7. I am with Miz – what you see is not what we see. But I can totally relate to every word you said and wanted to hurl myself under a big American yellow school bus at the sight of myself in many FB photos. But then after feeling crazy for a few minutes it mellowed into, “oh well. it is what it is”. It’s hard being kind to ourselves but I’ll keep on practicing. And I will also keep annoying you and remind you that you are fucking gorgeous and awesome 🙂

  8. =((( I know it’s a very common thing for us to dislike our pictures or when we see ourselves. That’s part of the reason I’m a huge proponent of using photography as a powerful tool to see yourself as beautiful on Grow Soul Beautiful.

    Just this morning Vivienne McMaster posted a fabulous piece on the importance of self-portriats. She does an amazing job of capturing herself as beautiful. You might check out some of her courses and follow her blog- she’ so inspiring & I just adore the work she’s doing with body-love and photography.

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