More than 60% of women feel ashamed of their appearance.

 

We live in a culture dominated by the art (and slick marketing techniques) of photography. There are images of women everywhere – and most of those images are posed, altered and taken under prime conditions, making the subjects look inhumanly flawless. As actress Keira Knightley puts it:

“I think women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame.” -click to tweet

Even at a young age, we start to judge ourselves against impossible standards of beauty. Knowing we can never achieve the kind of beauty sold to us by the media, we tend to compensate in one of two ways – either by avoiding the camera at all costs or taking loads of selfies and only sharing those that make us look really good.

In the meantime, we have no idea what’s really happened to us. We’ve lost some of the pieces of ourselves, and those pieces have been forgotten along the path that stretches out behind us. We’ve written new stories about ourselves, about what we look like and who we are, and those stories are based solely on the pieces of ourselves that are still in our possession. In short, our story is painfully incomplete and out of focus and the worst part is, we often don’t even realize that fact. -click to tweet

Well, what about the rest of your story? Do you really see yourself in the mirror each day? Do you let others really see you? Is your vision of yourself in focus?

How this course came to be:

Self-image and self-esteem have been issues very dear to me since I was a teenager and first started noticing my deep discomfort with my appearance. In my twenties, I vacillated between obsessive-compulsive beauty habits to just "giving up." In my 30's, as my self-awareness continued to blossom, I began berating myself for berating my body (and you can guess how helpful that was).

After publishing Glowing: Soulful Skincare, my hypocrisy became glaring. Here I was, extolling the virtues of radical self-acceptance and I still struggled with despair when I looked in the mirror. Too fat. Too frumpy. And oh, those scars on my face.

In the early part of 2014, I began a project that I hoped would help me start to heal my self-image issues on a more fundamental level than I had previously achieved. Spiritual practice, while essential, was not getting me to the finish line. I knew I needed to supplement it with a physical challenge.

Thus began my journey into selfies and self-portraits, one that has helped me see myself in a whole new light. I stopped seeing myself as a flawed shell and started seeing the beauty beneath it all. I began to pick up all the pieces of myself that I had lost along the way. I was able to re-write my store. And… I came into focus. -click to tweet