Very often, as women, we downplay our achievements and look for the negatives in our appearance or abilities. Maybe we’ve been taught that showing off costs popularity or been influenced by the ideal woman as perpetuated by magazines, commercials and stories retold in films, songs and tv shows. My teen years were spent wishing my tummy was smaller, breasts bigger and hair straighter. I longed for a golden tan rather than the smattering of freckles that seemed to spread across my body like ants carrying sugar to their nest.
Fast forward to my thirty sixth year on earth and I have developed much more self confidence and learned to be myself in ways I never could twenty years ago but that little negative voice is still there.
One of the downsides of digital photography is that we can take a hundred photos from every angle, add a filter, Photoshop it up and create an ideal version of ourselves. When everyone does this, we can start feeling like reality is ugly and shameful.
It used to really bother me when someone tagged me in a photo I didn’t like. It felt like someone had uncovered the real and disgusting me. I felt exposed and raw. I used to feel the exact same way when someone insulted me or didn’t like me. I never took it as a reflection of their character but proof I was unworthy and wrong.
We can look at images of ourselves and tear our looks apart. We see what we don’t like about ourselves rather than the picture as a whole. I know many women who have achieved epic physical feats but hate the photos of them doing it because they think they look hideous. I wasn’t thrilled with my official Great Eastern photo a few years ago but I have grown to love it cos it documents a moment in time when my body did something amazing that not everyone can do. I am now happy I ran 13.1 miles regardless of whether I looked pretty whilst doing so!
It’s time we started embracing what we can do, taking pride in our achievements and knowing that looking pretty isn’t the whole point of who we are.