Submitted by Volunteer Christine Hanwick
How many times a week to you get tagged on Facebook or post a selfie? And in how many of those pictures do you overanalyze, criticize or untag? How many times do you retake the selfie you post? Are you critical when you look at other peoples pictures?
My boyfriend is a photographer and I never used to let him take pictures of me because I hated looking at them. I’d cringe because I’d always find what I considered to be a flaw in myself. But over the last couple years I’ve been playing with just letting him take pictures, and not always giving into my inner critic that wants to delete them if they are less than what I deem as flattering. You know what else I’ve found? The less critical I am of myself, the less critical I am of others–and that’s a true gift. So if you’ve ever found yourself in the same place–retaking pictures, cringing at tags–check out some of the tips below inspired by an article in the Huffington Post. A little self-compassion goes a long way.
1. Don’t Delete or Untag. (Unless the photo is inappropriate.) Use this as an opportunity to let go of the idea of “perfection” and to let go of the way you want others to view you.
2. Find the Positive. Instead of looking for what’s wrong, challenge yourself to look for what you like about yourself in the photo. Are you silly? Do you like your smile? Or focus on the good memory and feelings from the moment.
3. You are a Work in Progress. If you tend to be a perfectionist–even when you’re working on self-improvement–you probably tend to be hard on yourself. So give yourself a break. If you find yourself judging, just notice that. “OK. I’m judging.” You don’t need to beat yourself up about it. Just notice it come and go and try again to be kind in the next moment.
4. Take a Break from Social Media. Give yourself some designated time limits for social media (if you feel like it helps). Take a 15-20 minute break to just tune back into your body. (I find this to really help with body acceptance.) For example, try taking a walk without music or your phone and just focus on your breath and your steps. Or try a body scan–there’s plenty of apps that you can download.