Last week I talked about my personal decision not to post “before and after” photos of my body. If you haven’t read “No Body Comparision | Why I Don’t Do Before and After Photos” yet, I recommend that you take a moment and check it out. Because, this post is the result of the interesting and thought provoking ideas that came from the discussion surrounding that post.
There as such a beautiful dialog that emerged from the comments on social media, in regards to that post. I loved the way so many people were open minded and willing to consider different perspectives on the concept of “before and after” photo posts. Some of that commentary and dialogue led me to considering alternatives that I consider more loving, and body positive than before and after “comparison” photo posts.
I do believe that it is quite possible to use photography as a way to document and celebrate our body journey, in fact that is what my project “Captured Freedom” is all about. There is something beautifully liberating about using photos to connect with how we feel about our bodies and ourselves. Even if you are not able to do a professional photo shoot like the ones featured in the Captured Freedom project, you can certainly use your own camera as a tool for body celebration. Here are a few simple things that you can try:
- A Body Journey Photo Journal– If you have committed to a healthier body relationship by choosing to make healthier, more loving choices in your life why not create a photo journal? You can photograph each step of your body journey along the way. Snap pictures of your body, your food, your fitness, and your spiritual practices. Be sure to capture anything and everything that documents what you are doing to love your body more. You can set the intervals to be daily, weekly, monthly, etc. However, be sure to take pictures on a regular basis, so that your journal will be FULL of memories. You can keep the photos on a digital platform: Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Google+, etc. You can also use a physical platform: a photo book, a large vision board, or even a wall in your home. The key things to remember are: to celebrate and not compare; to capture as many photos as possible. Think of how a parent photographs a child through every stage of life from birth. The best thing about this journal is that it can be ONGOING you don’t have to get to the point of completion.
- An Autobiography of Selfies– An autobiography is a self written story about your own life. A creative way to do this could be through the use of selfies. A “selfie” is a self taken photo. If you are looking to embrace true authenticity, this is a great way to do it! You can select a timeline (six months, a year, two years, etc.) and document yourself through authentic selfies. That means no pretentious posing or modeling, rather photos that show your true emotions, in the moment. With each photo you can document your feelings, thoughts, and physical conditions that describe that selfie moment. This could be a great way to see how you develop holistically over a period time. You can choose to keep the photos private or to share them with others. Both ways will bring revelation and healing to your life either way
- Flashback Forgiveness- This form of photojournalling is less about current and future with more focus on the past. You can gather as many photos of yourself as possible (physical and digital) from birth to today. The goal is to look at each photo and connect with how you felt about your body and yourself in that moment of life when the photo was taken. You can document your authentic feelings and label them “Flashback” . Remember to release judgment around any feelings and be authentic. If you hated your body or yourself at that moment in life, be honest about it. Write it down. If you were ashamed of your body and yourself in that point of life, document it. After you write down your authentic feelings about the photo under “Flashback”, then write down your words of healing under “Forgiveness”. For example if you have a photo where you felt body shame you would write:
Example A: “I hated my body. I was ashamed of myself. My acne was embarrassing and I was extremely overweight. I wanted to be loved and tried everything I could to get attention. I turned to (food, drugs, sex, money, etc) for acceptance and validation. Even though it wasn’t the best for me, I did what had to do to feel better and survive. “
Example B: “I was happy with my body at this point in my life, but I remember being sad with my family life. My parents were not very loving or affectionate and I didn’t feel secure or safe. I decided at this point that I would always protect myself no matter what and closed off my emotions and vulnerability to others”
Example A: “I forgive myself for hating myself at this point in life. I forgive myself for the choices that I made that were harmful and detrimental to my body. I embrace love and acceptance for who I was in this photo and I use those lessons to be a better person NOW”
Example B: “I forgive my parents and loved ones for not loving or accepting me at this point in my life. I forgive myself for choosing to abandon my own emotions and vulnerability. I embrace love and acceptance for who I was in the photo and I use those lessons to be a better person NOW”
Out of all the projects, I have done this one and I believe it may be one of the more challenging. However, it is also one of the most rewarding. This project can potentially bring freedom to your life from conflicts with your past. When I did it, I had the support of a life coach, to help me work through my feelings and emotions. If you choose to do this project and would like support, find out more about me here. Let’s connect and see how I can help you!
You know the old cliche’ “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Using photo journals to document your feelings, emotions, and thoughts about your body and yourself is priceless. I’d love to hear your feedback on these projects. Do any of them speak to you personally? Are you willing to try any of them? Have you already tried any before? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or with me on social media. If you would like to speak privately, please feel free to contact me:
Phone: 404-997-8814 | Email: Ivy@SeeBodyLoveSelf.org
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