I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the camera. As a natural extrovert (ok, show-off) I never shied away from an opportunity to get in the spotlight.
But having it documented, immortalising myself on film…hell to the no!
As my weight went up and down over the years, fuelled by disordered eating and self-loathing – so too did my feelings about photos. I remember getting my prints back from the chemist (yeah I’m a child of the 70’s) and poring over the shots – beyond happy when I found a ‘good’ one and devastated when I came across a ‘bad’ one.
So much worth was tied up in what the camera captured.
About 9 years ago I had my third child. A third girl! I wanted more for them. I wanted them to look at me and see a woman happy in her own skin.
So I decided to make a change. Cue a montage of me in therapy, journaling, and wandering along the beach staring thoughtfully into the distance. Gradually I unlearnt everything I thought I knew about food, eating and mental health. It was hard work, but I pushed through.
My body is now fuller, rounder and squishier than it’s ever been. And honestly? I’m ok with it! I take photos and videos of myself all the time for my business. I can even look at those photos and videos of myself without horror…sometimes I even think I look cute 💁♀️ (say what?!).
It’s no big surprise women in particular really struggle with body image issues. At every turn we’re told we’re not thin enough, young enough, beautiful enough. We live in a world of body pressure and honestly, it’s crap.
It’s time to flip it on its head, embrace our beautiful selves and work the camera in our favour.
In reality we are so much more than what we look like – we’re business owners!! We have to be clever, resilient, adaptive, creative…how we look is the least interesting thing about us, no?
In business it’s crucial to put ourselves out there on our websites and social media. Humans connect with humans, and by embracing every damn part of ourselves we show an authenticity that connects us with others.
There’s a ripple effect when we make ourselves visible in business. Having a photo/video shoot is not only a way to celebrate all you’ve achieved, but a great way to bravely show up and empower the women around you. Your daughters, your friends…your clients! You’re asking them take the first step of working with you or buying your product. How about you stand up first?
One of the best things I did to gain acceptance in my own body – hold on to your hat here comes my tip – was to diversify my social media. I know you’re thinking ‘Whaaaaat?! That’s your best tip Michelle?’ but hear me out.
I could see that all I was feeding my brain were images of women I wished I looked like but never would. So I deliberately sought out women that actually looked like me doing cool things and being successful. Then I added in loads more diversity – people in larger bodies than mine, disabled bodies, different coloured bodies.
It’s not an exaggeration to say this has changed my life and how I look at the world. I can see the beauty in everything…it’s like I took the red pill and now I can see the matrix!! I’ve essentially reverse brain-washed myself with anti-beauty standards, and I’m bloody here for every second of it.
I encourage you to take the first step. Diversify your social media. Stop the negative self-talk when you look in the mirror. Start photographing yourself more and get used to what you see. And if you’re still really struggling come and check out my camera confidence course. It’s a deep dive into body positivity and self-confidence, and I know it’s going to change your life.
You deserve to be seen as yourself. Your whole, beautiful self.
Are you with me?