Picture Imperfect: How to feel authentic & beautiful in every photo

I took nearly a hundred pictures this Christmas. Pictures of food, presents, people, and pets. As you can imagine, not all of them turned out well; some were blurry, some had closed eyes, and some caught errant hands or feet in the frame. I deleted several of these for obvious reasons.

When I looked at the photos of me, I paid close attention to each one, scrutinizing minor details of my facial expressions and body placement.

I almost got lost picking myself apart in each picture.

Then I was reminded that the self-judgment wasn't worth my time. I accepted that the camera had captured an authentic view of who I am, and no matter my feelings about it, this was how I looked. And I decided to be okay with that. 

Once I let go of my expectations of perfection, I was able to see the beauty in the photos, the moments of joy, and the memories.

In this digital age of photography and social media, it's become easy to put forth only the best version of ourselves. We are tempted to delete the unflattering photos, and keep only the best shots. 

But we begin to believe that's the only way to go forward. 

We start to think that every photo of ourselves has to look a certain way to be worthy, leading us to either go through a series of retakes, give up on the task, or avoid having our picture taken at all.

There's a better way.

What if you take that picture where your nose looks too big, your hair isn't just right, or your smile is uneven, and instead of feeling ashamed or embarrassed or less-than, embrace the look. Own it. View yourself through the lens of love.

When someone is taking a photo of you, rather than imagining how flawed you may look to others, immerse yourself in the feelings of the moment and let your body be a reflection of those emotions.

Let joy surge to your face.

Allow excitement to spread to your eyes. 

Let your love for the moment lead the way.

Next time you review photos, give yourself some grace. Don't instantly reach for the delete button when you see one that doesn't look perfect. Keep some of the imperfections as evidence of your humanity and authenticity.

Think, This is me, and I love myself.

Find a photo of yourself that you think is unflattering and pin it to the wall or set it as your home screen background. Can you find the beauty in the picture?

Some Doorways from this week:

  • The ramp in my van FINALLY got repaired, so I celebrated by going to Target by myself. While I was there, I ran into two people I hadn't seen in quite a while and was able to catch up with them. It was a beautiful afternoon of independence!
  • I intentionally made time to sit in the silence with the lights on the tree this season, reflecting on the day and my gratitude. The peaceful moments were beautiful.
  • I was visiting a friend in the cancer center at the hospital, and she had just mentioned that she wished the therapy dog would visit more often. Ten minutes later, this sweetheart of a dog came into the room and snuggled up next to my friend's chair.


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