We were at home the other day when my 4 year old son says, “Mommy, can you take a picture of me?” So, I snapped a picture with an old digital camera that we had given him a while back. He proceeded to say, “let me see the picture mommy,” looked at it and said, “It’s so cute, it’s beautiful,” while grinning from ear to ear.
This got me thinking about how many times I’ve heard myself or others say, oh no, that’s a horrible picture, do not post that, or delete it. I know that so many times these words have come out of my mouth, all in the name of wanting to look better.
I have no doubt that we all start out as my son did, in awe of the picture itself and viewing them as so cute, coming from the most innocent place. However, somewhere along the line that changes, as we see our role models or people around us criticize themselves about how displeased they are with how they look in or outside of a picture. Society has influenced our beliefs and convinced many of us that beauty looks a certain way, and if we don’t measure up, we don’t look good and God forbid post a picture on social media or anywhere for others to see.
One particular set of pictures that reminds me of how powerful this stigma has been in my life is a set of pictures that were taken with my best friends, Tarah Long and the late, Jennifer O’Brien Leach, while she was in her last stages of life. We had some special photos taken of us, that captured some very special moments of us laughing and crying together, photos that we will treasure for years to come. The moments that we spent together having these pictures taken were priceless and so amazing. The photographer, Tiffany Noles, captured our friendship so very well.
Much to my surprise however, when I reviewed these pictures a few days later, all I could think about was how bad I looked in them, not focusing on the incredible moments we spent together. This moment was pivotal in changing my perspective of pictures that are taken of me. It made me incredibly sad to think that this had always been my focus up to that point in my life. Especially since the occasion of these pictures, taken with my friends, was one of the last moments we would all spend together. Because of this incident, nowadays my gut instinct might be initially critical, but I always go back to one thought: that, no matter what picture it is, it is an amazing one because my heart and other hearts are beating, it’s a representation of my life and the moments I want to treasure with my loved ones.
My challenge to you my friends, is to adopt my son’s perspective when you look at pictures of yourself. Because EVERY picture that is taken of you in which your heart is beating IS a beautiful one.