Sarah’s mission is to help people live a life of fulfilment; a life that is truly well-lived, meaningful, purposeful and creative.
Thank you so much for your contribution, Sarah!
Hi ladies, perhaps you can relate to this?
As a child, I simply didn’t like having my photograph taken.
I remember hiding behind the legs of my mum when I could. Or, I held my hands over my face or turned away from the camera.
As I got older I looked at the camera and smiled more, but I still always hated the photos when I looked at them.
I thought that I was too fat, my nose was too big, my hair too ginger and curly, my ankles too wide and EVERYONE looked much better than me.
That critical voice, there she was, every time I looked at a photo of me: “You are so ugly”.
Finding beauty instead of flaws
Fast forward and I am 42 years old. I can now see beauty in my photographs where once I could only see flaws.
I am now a Coach and, in this work, I have had to get visible on social media. I tried very hard to keep photos of myself to a minimum. After all, I have never been photogenic. I am not good looking enough to be successful in that way, right?
I have been growing the relationship I have with myself.
Related reading: Five simple steps to finding your unique confidence mix
Three ways I’ve improved the relationship I have with myself
- challenged and reframed limiting beliefs,
- cultivated gratitude and kindness to myself to build a more positive mindset,
- and shifted my perspective on judgement.
It’s an ongoing process but this year I cracked the ‘photo thing’ and invested in a professional photoshoot. And the best bit is that I had a thoroughly brilliant time, and now have photos I am genuinely proud of and that support my business.
I went from “I am ugly and hate having my photo taken’ to ‘I am enough, my body is amazing, and having my photo taken brings joy!”
Perhaps those of you who have had your portraits taken with the Johanna Elizabeth team can relate?
Are limiting beliefs holding you back?
I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.
So, if you can relate, here are some of the strategies and tools I’d recommend to improve your relationship with yourself:
Recognise and reframe limiting beliefs
Our beliefs impact our thoughts; our thoughts impact our behaviour.
We find clues to our limiting beliefs in the language we use e.g. I am/am not or I always/I never. I always hate having my picture taken, photos of me are never good.
To reframe, choose a belief that is really holding you back. Grab your journal and ask:
- SOURCE: Where did this belief come from? When did it start to show up? Who’s belief is it?
- PURPOSE: What purpose might this belief have served? Is it still relevant today?
- BEHAVIOUR: How do you behave because of this belief? What impact does it have on you and the people around you? What would your life be like if you didn’t have this belief?
- EVIDENCE: What evidence do you have to support this belief? What counter evidence do you have?
- POSITIVE LANGUAGE: What language can you use to re-frame this belief so that it is motivating and empowering?
- NEW BELIEF: Now write your new belief.
- REINFORCING: What is one thing you could do everyday to reinforce this new belief?
Research consistently shows that practising gratitude leads to a more optimistic and positive mindset (some results even suggest it helps people live longer).
My body has held three babies, given birth to two healthy children, faced the harrowing procedures of fertility treatment and has kept going when I didn’t look after it very well.
My face is the face that my children look to for love and that clients say is so kind and welcoming. It’s a face that can hold a safe, brave space so that they can get curious about themselves and make the changes in their life and career that they want.
A simple gratitude exercise is to write down three things every day that you are grateful for.
Shift your perspective on judgement
One of the beliefs that used to really hold me back was that people would judge me; my looks, values and what I stand for.
Two things have significantly changed this for me:
- What I have come to accept and know, is that I have no ability to make anyone think or feel anything. Someone will probably judge me. Am I really going to let that stop me achieving my mission?
- No one could judge me as much or as horribly as I judge myself. (This is very common and very human). I am kinder to my critic – she thinks she is keeping me safe from harm and I work very hard to notice that voice and kindly respond: ‘That’s not true. I am enough. I am loved’.
Be kinder to yourself
If I find myself returning to these old beliefs, I am kind and compassionate to myself.
I look at one of my new photos and remember just how incredibly grateful I am to myself for making that happen.
About the author
Sarah Fox is a coach, mentor, podcaster and founder of Do Good and Do Well, a community for changemakers who want to do good in the world without losing themselves.
You can find out more about Sarah and her work at: www.sarahfox.co.uk
Connect with her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahfoxcoach/