Self Confidence with Photos

Self Confidence with Photos

Lets just get real here, self confidence is beautiful.  

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Not everyone can pull this look off though.  As a photographer it is my job to help my client to feel confident, beautiful, handsome, or sexy depending on what your session is about.  The main feeling I want my client to have is confidence during their session.  When they feel confident the end result is a better photo and remembering that feeling when they look at their photos.

Take it from me, a girl that went from weighing 150 to 280 pounds, self confidence was not my forte let alone jumping in front of the camera.  When a picture was taken of me the first thing I would see is all my flaws….look at my double chin, GOD IM SO FAT!

BUT WAIT! In today’s society, the outward appearance is what we base our self confidence though.

 

WRONG!!!!

Yes, that is one part of having confidence, feeling and accepting your body the way it is.  Seriously though, what I am learning is it is so much more than just your body image.

A good friend of mine just told me that she loved to see how confident I am getting..???? wait, but I still haven’t lost weight and I haven’t seen you in a couple months…how the heck am I getting any more confident than I was before?

SELF CONFIDENCE = BELIEVING IN YOUR SELF AND YOUR ABILITIES

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How does this translate into Photos?   One of the hardest photo shoots, yet most rewarding, is the boudoir shoot.  Where a man, woman, or couple become vulnerable to their audience.  If the photographer is not confident in their abilities their clients will feel it as well.

As a client you can….

The number one thing your can do to help is to get to know your photographer and let them get to know you.    It is so important to get to know your photographer.  What they like in general and about themselves, so that way you can help them relax and have fun with the photo shoot.

With boudoir shoots, as a client you are exposed.  If you are not confident or comfortable in their photographer the session will be awkward and more importantly the final product will not be flawless.  A photo is meant to evoke emotion and take the person to that time and relive that experience, so your photo might be the sharpest, most beautiful display of your client, however if you remember feeling less confident than you should that is what they will remember.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty….

It comes down to the fact that you are beautiful both inside an out.  Your inside make up is beautiful, so regardless if you weigh 120 pounds or 300 pounds does not play into affect at all.  Look deep inside you, what are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing the most? What are you good at?

Here is a doozy….WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR BODY?

Next time you look at a picture of yourself, regardless of what type of photo it is, take the time to see the good in yourself.  How your eyes light up, how you smile, how soft your skin looks, how much you enjoyed doing the shoot, how awesome your hair looked.  Once you have noticed the good about your physical aspects, start looking at the picture in thinking of all the good things that your able to do, be apart of, how much you are loved and how much you love others, how you help others.

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Make My Mind Stop! – 4 Suggestions

Make My Mind Stop! – 4 Suggestions

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When your mind is racing and all you want to do is to make it stop, what do you do?

There are so many suggestions out there from the holistic aromatherapy approach, to the go to the gym and sweat your batoody off, to writing in a journal.  Many entrepreneurs, especially the stay at home mom kind, have their brain hardwired to think all day long.  It never shuts off.  When you lay your head down at night thats what it is the worst.

I can understand this more than anyone, my mind goes a mile a minute, especially at night when I want it to shut off.

What bills do I need to pay?

What am I going to cook for dinner?

What affiliate programs can I join?

How can I get more people for my portfolio?

What books should I read to help others?

Am I even going to succeed at this?

This right here is when the spinout of thoughts turns negative.  Self talk is so essential to an entrepreneur, so anyone really.  If you continually talk negatively then that is what will remain in your life.

In the book, “Mindset Magic: Using Scientific & Spiritual Principles to Create Your Life” it states “that if you claim something (think something) and claim it to be true your subconscious mind or amygdala will accept and bring forth into your experiences.”  So basically, what this book is saying that there is scientific proof that you can bring into existence peace, calmness, and all things positive is we just BREAK THE BROKEN RECORD OF DOUBT AND NEGATIVITY IN OUR BRAINS.

What is the reason we always go to the negative?

Some will say that it is because we had some type of experience in our earlier lifetime that has created this negative aspect about ourselves or a situation and it just keeps repeating until something happens where that chain is broken.

For me, I have a lot of experiences in my lifetime that has created the Negative Nancy tape in my head, but as an entrepreneur I am most guilty of comparing myself to others.

Why can’t I just look like her?

When I look like her or sound like her I will make more money.

My business doesn’t look like hers so thats why I am not making money.

I need to look prettier, skinnier…..and the list goes on, and on, and on……..and on.

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Society today looks at the exterior, your skins, your hair, your nails, you clothes, what your driving, where you live, as depicted in this image by Meg Gaiger from Harpy Images. If you do not fit in societies cookie cutter mold or what “the Jone’s” dictate as what’s in then your not part of it, your labeled, your an outcast.

The fact of the matter is, it all comes down to one thing….HOW WE FEEL ABOUT OURSELF.

What? What the heck does that mean?

My feelings are controlled by my thoughts and when my thoughts are negative then my feelings will be negative.  It is basically the proverbial chicken and the egg at that point.  When I feel I am not up to someones or myself’s standards my thoughts will find that negative tape and play it over and over.  On the other hand, when I am feeling confident, loved, on top of the world, worthy my mind will play the positive tape.

I know this has to be confusing, am I making any sense?

So, the key to stopping that negativity in your head will come down to what you want to do to help yourself.  Here are a few suggestions that will help when the Negativity Monster comes after you:

  1.  Come up with some positive mantras.    I am beautiful. I am worthy.  I am going to be the success I know I am going to be.  I am loved.   Remember, get your subconscious to understand it is true and forever change the tape and your life.

  2. Meditate or Breathing Exercises.   Mediation helps with relaxation, clearing your mind, and pulling you back into the present moment.  Being present in the moment is important because when we are over thinking or having a racing mind it is due to either looking towards the past, which is full of regret, or the future which is full of fear. 

  3. Soak in a Hot Bath.    ****this is my favorite method****  This is not something that is a medical explanation here, it is simply one of my personal methods to helping calm my mind.  Running a hot bath, maybe some bubbles, a good book or some candles and just zone out.  This is also a great time to combine mediation with this method.

  4. Journalling.  Writing what your thinking and what your feeling is so important on finding out the real, striped down thinking is all about.  Do not hold back, by raw, be real, be authentic in your writing so that way you can either look back and laugh, look back and realize you have had this issue before and it is creating a pattern, or look back and see how far you have come.

  5. Gratitude Lists.   Thinking of something positive will hopefully make you see and think of ho amazing your life really is.  

  6. Sleep!

There is so many other methods out there.  I can spend days and days listing them all.  Most people, actually 1 in 5 people have anxiety and depression, which can be tied to a chemical imbalance, but can also be tied to experiences that a person has gone through or is going through.  So, spending the time to uncover what is really going on will help you get through to the other side.

The mind, our thoughts are all an amazing thing.  Just like our bodies we need to take care of it.

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That Area…you know, that hurts!

That Area…you know, that hurts!

Completely and utterly blessed!

It is so very easy for me to say this when I am having a good day or more importantly things are going MY way.  If it’s not going my way then I am a very large 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum both in my head and to everyone that will listen to me and not want to listen to me, just let it go.

I don’t know why I do this, maybe because I haven’t grew out of that little child within me or maybe it’s because I just feel like I am right (That’s the sales person in me), or maybe it’s because I just like to debate…and that just boils down to wanting to be right.

Ever just come across a person that just irks you, that makes you lose control of what you say or do…it’s just an automatic reaction?

There is someone that I know that gets so under my skin and I love this person very much.  So many of my friends, family, and my sponsor say that the qualities that I see in this person is what I harbor in me and that is why it bothers me so much that I cannot control myself.  I practice a program and they do not, so I have to hold myself to different standards.

Most people in recovery will tell you…if it makes you feel something then you should look at it or what step are you practicing?  When it comes to this person I do not practice steps.  This person is controlling, selfish, and self-centered.  There is always motives when they do something.  When they are nice there is always a hidden agenda.  They will tell you they love you and that they care, but the only way to show it is to buy you something and then throw it in your face.  Love is not materialist anyway.

Overtime, after knowing them you see the real them…and I was always asked if you know they act like this, then why do you let it bother you so much?  You can say that I hold them to a different standard, I seek their approval, that I want to see them happy, but yet nothing ever makes them happy.

ENOUGH! THIS IS THE PROBLEM….WELL WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

The solution is within me, it’s my decision, my choices to entertain such negativity.  If they are exactly like me, an addict, but they do not have the drugs or hit their bottom yet to know they have these issues then I have to compassionate.  I have to listen to what is being said to me and not just react to everything that comes out their mouth or what they do.

I was told that if they are use to me being defensive, argumentative, and verbally aggressive than that is what they always expect of me.  How can you change anything if you do not do something different?

Step 1 – I cannot control them only myself and my reactions.

Step 2 – Do something different.  Instead of run at the mouth or cause myself grief; listen, be more agreeable, be loving towards a person that is sick.

Step 3 – Trust that the differences that I do portray will change the relationship dynamic.

Caveat: I do not have to accept the unacceptable!

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Hold up?  What does that mean?  I do not have to be a doormat.  Being agreeable does not mean letting them just walk on me and being taken advantage of.  For me, it’s always been all or nothing.  I do something and give it my all or I just will not do it.  Remembering that caveat protects me from going to extremes when trying to practice the steps that I have in my life.

There is so much more that I could say about this, but really that sums it up.  Its really just that simple.  The program I am in is just that simple.  I do not practice this perfectly, but it’s getting better.  If any part of this post has reached you, if you are still reading and going….wow, Andrea I know what you mean I can relate to this; I have a person in my life exactly like this and I do not know what to do…then just stop, know that you have a choice.

 

 

 

Ego, Pride…and a relationship?

Ego, Pride…and a relationship?

I have been focusing on the past or at least reflecting on the past and incorporating it into today’s issues; let’s fast forward to right now though.

I need to get this out!  I want to discuss something that is very current in my life right now.  Actually, there is a lot I want to discuss that is very current, but I want you to understand about me and my struggles of my past during active addiction.  Otherwise, I am just another crazy person out there rambling.

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I am overwhelmed.  I am struggling.  I am in fear and not operating in faith.  How does a person who has conquered so much in her life say that I am crippled in fear?  Fear of failure, fear of success…change, that is what is really the root of it.

How many times can you say, I faced my fear and overcame it?  I can say that it has happened a lot in my life.  When I do face it head on there is nothing but positive that radiates from the experience.  Even if the experience might have not turned out a complete success there is always something to be learned.

Right now, at this very time in my life, I can tell you about every bad thing from the financials that I am drowning in, to the lack of effort on both sides of the relationship with my sponsor and I, to the complete fear of making the decisions necessary in my life to change it.  For anyone who is in recovery or new to recovery, yes you can even experience a bottom clean.  This is new to me though, but the beautiful aspect of it all, the hope shot as we call it is, I can choose what my bottom is and I can change it at any time.

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What I am really struggling with is I AM HARD HEADED AND STUBBORN.  I have this situation in my life (ok, well a couple of them actually) where I need help.  What’s new, right?  The real problem lies within my ego and pride actually.

Pride…Ego! No, not me!  I have low self worth how can I ever have an ego?!

I think I can do this all myself…EGO!  I do not need help…EGO!

When I was with my son’s father he handled everything, he did everything, I didn’t even know how to pay bills or balance a checkbook (which thank god for online account because I still am pretty horrible at it), as a result he referred to me as one of his children, which I resented him for that for many years. Hindsight is 20/20 though, finally understanding that I was a child in every way.  I acted like a child, I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and went to any length to get it. When I left him I didn’t know how to do much, to pay bills on time or even pay them at all for that matter or anything else that adults do.

From that point on I vowed to myself that I would not let another man take care of me.  Where I come from or what my lifestyle consisted of was money always brought some form of power or manipulation.  In recovery, we strive to become fully self supporting declining outside contributions. I am a very literal type of person, so to me that statement means I should be able to do this on my own, to be able to work this tradition.

In actuality, this mean I should be able to get to the point where I can do this on my own.  Basically, what I am learning is as long as I am doing THE BEST I can that sometimes we need help and when God blesses me with the help do not deny it or it blocks other blessings.  I cannot wrap my mind around this.  There is always a catch, right?  There is always some ulterior motive, right?

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At work they gave us a little pot with dirt in it.  We are all growing plants at our desk.  Mine starting sprouting and it sprouted fast and tall, but thin and weak.  It died.  I gave up on the seedling, it withered to the dirt.  I placed my little green pot on the window seal at work and left for the weekend.

What the heck does this have anything to do with what you were talking about Andrea?

To my surprise I came to work on Monday and there was a strong seedling with bigger leaves and a thicker stem growing!  The moral of the story is, things are not always as they seem.  Sometimes when I rush to get things done or try to hurry through them because I think I can do it all myself that can cause that opportunity to die.  But when I can add a different perspective and take my time in a situation a strong foundation is able to be built and flourish.

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I don’t know if that made sense or not, but when I came in on Monday and saw that seedling sprouting (I named my seedling Bertha) all I could think of is how I related to my situation, were it needed the help of the sun to warm the soil and the water I gave it to help it grow.  It needed the help or the beautiful plant couldn’t grow.  The only remedy to pride and ego is humility.  That is admitting and accepting help when it is truly needed, that is part of loving yourself and having a healthy relationship with yourself.  I am not the great I am!

Today is a new day, new blessings, new start, new chances.

 

 

Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the Mirror

The the hardest thing to do is to look at yourself even though we see ourselves everyday; in the mirror, on social media, or the million selfies we need to take to get the perfect one.  I know what I see in the mirror isn’t really what others see because of my self perception.  Call it low self esteem, call it low self worth, call it whatever you want; the fact of the matter is most people can see the outside of me.  The single mom with a decent car, decent job, little place in the country, doing it on her own.  Most categorize that as being strong and independent.  What people don’t see is truly what makes a person who they are…the inside.

Today was one of the toughest days in my recovery so far.  I had to have this hard conversation with my sponsor.  I don’t want to leave her, but my needs were not being met.  Before I approached her though I did a lot of looking at me, my actions and behaviors.  I needed to know what was I doing to cause this disconnect.  As we all know everything starts and ends with me, so I can’t totally put this issue on her. 
As our conversation started flowing there was a lot of emotions that have been trapped inside me that came out.  Although we didn’t come up with when I was going to schedule more time with her because at this point I need some attention in my recovery or the fact that I’m being held on a step that in our literature states we should not hesitate on doing this step…and that was the point of the conversation. I really hate confrontation.


I say all this to come to a place where looking in the mirror is more than just the outside appearance which is 9 times out of 10, a facade.  The most painful things about me are harbored deep within me.  I am so afraid to let anyone see me as anything less than perfect.  That I have spent my whole life saying I do not want to be like my mom, yet those character defects that she possesses are what is ingrained in me so deeply, which makes it so hard to accept myself as well as her. The fact that, if I am not a good at everything, that I don’t show you that I am doing the work, then I won’t get your approval.  

After all we all just want to be accepted and liked.

I guess once we really see ourselves for who we are; good, bad, or indifferent there is only one thing that can be done…change I must or die I will.  Maybe not die on a literal sense, but there is a death that can happen on the inside or even spiritual death that can be just as painful as the real thing.  It can drag you to this place and keep you there…out of fear, out of denial, out of not wanting to do what has to be done.  Believe me I know I’ve been there both in and out of recovery.

I wish I could see what others do.  Maybe then I would be able to say that I like myself more than what I do.  Don’t get it wrong,  I like myself a little, but I don’t accept myself.  Today, right now, it’s going to be a long road to change what I need to change to become the person I have always wanted to be and God intended me to be.  It’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it.


To the person reading this…that can relate…not just to the real life situation, but the pain of being this person that is struggling to be who they always wanted to be:  You are not alone.  I am here with you and maybe we can do this together.

Too Much Too Handle…Expectations on Ourselves

Too Much Too Handle…Expectations on Ourselves

“I am suppose to be further in life! Why haven’t I been able to do this right?  She did it this way, why wasn’t I able to do it like that? I am suppose to be making this much money, man I am such a stupid loser.”

Ever say this?  I know I have; sometimes a little bit too much.  I am always hard on myself.  I AM my worst critic.

When I was on drugs, I literally thought I was going to die high and there was no way around that.  What I thought about myself was not the greatest…I am too fat or I was a failure was the two biggest thoughts that constantly went across my mind.  Even getting high though, I had these preconceived notions, visions even for the way my life was suppose to turn out – Graduate at 18, go to college graduate at 23, get married at 25 and babies and a house by 28.  That was one heck of a plan and so much pressure I put on myself.  If I didn’t achieve this I was a failure.

This plan, these…expectations, set me up for resentments towards myself as well as others.  What I have learned in the last few years about resentments are that it always stems from me or a situation that happened in my life that started with… well me.  The choices I made in my life caused my life to go in a completely different direction.  Until I was able to let that go, to ACCEPT that things happen in life and it is not always going to turn out the way we EXPECTED.

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Needless to say, the only thing that has rang true with the vision of my life was that I graduate high school at 18.  Shortly after 18, I became a stripper, but because stripper was a dirty word to me I called myself a “visual entertainer.” I was determined to show my parents that I could survive on my own, whatever it took.  That was a very short career for me because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, I am a people pleaser, and it disappointed my dad.  Thinking I should be able to take on the world by myself, at age 18, was a very silly notion.

I am getting off topic a little, that will be for another post.  Due to the decision to work there and make it on my own, I got hung up in a lifestyle that takes a lot of people out of this world in a box.  One day in 2013, I woke up and looked around me; I was in an abusive relationship, in an empty apartment, I felt empty inside, and my relationships I had with other people were just as empty as the apartment I was living in was.

Now, completely off drugs and living a “normal” life (what is normal, anyway?), I have a whole different set of expectations.  Why can’t I figure this out?  I am 3 years clean, I shouldn’t be acting this way.  They are 3 years clean and on step 6, why am I only on step 5?  I should have a great paying job, graduated college and starting to pay off my debt by now, my Lord I am 32 what’s wrong with me?  Why am I never enough?

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Why is it so hard for people to just accept life and live in the present?  Living in the present is a very hard concept, but if it can be done, will release a person from the expectations we put on ourselves.  Expectations have always caused me to self hate giving me the lack of self acceptance. I have learned to not place expectations on others because I do not want to be let down, but when it comes to me, it is so very hard.  In fact, 95% of the time the expectations on myself are what causes my greatest pains.

I was on the way to work today and was thinking, (That generally can get me in trouble.) but when you have a 40 minute commute there is plenty of time to think.  It hit me, everything stops in my life as a result of this.  Just looking back on my life the past couple of weeks it has become evident of this.  What I mean by this is because I think I should be able to do everything on my own, carry everything and be able to do it all flawlessly, I fail to realize that life can be harsh sometimes.  Recently, I have had a few “abrupt turns” in my path in life which has landed me completely stressed to the point of making myself sick and in the ER, dizzy from dehydration and bronchitis.

I say all this to make a point; to myself and whomever else this may reach, that I can’t carry this all by myself.  I expect perfection from an imperfect world and it causes nothing but depression, not eating, not sleeping, not drinking, and in the hospital.  It’s time to take life back.  Yes the bills might not get paid on time, yes I might not be a perfect recovery addict, yes I might have to make changes in my life to adapt to what is happening, and yes I MIGHT HAVE TO ACCEPT HELP.

Wooo boy, accept help, that’s a rough one!  Today, let’s look at life differently and let’s give ourselves a break.

Awareness is Key – Change is Possible

Awareness is Key – Change is Possible

From the blogs that I have read in the past I noticed a lot of the bloggers first posts were started with something to the effect of not sure how to start a first post.  Honestly, I do not know either, but something was posted to my FaceBook this morning that struck me hard that I figured would be a good first post because it is so near and dear to my heart.

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Click to hear his story.

August 31, 2010 – The day the breath was taken out of me.  I can remember that day so vividly.  I was with my boyfriend at that time finishing up my work from home opportunity I was working on.  The smell of dinner was filling the house.  Then…the phone rang.  I answered it and it was static, but I heard my dad’s voice very vaguely.  They lived in Fredericksburg, VA.  They tried calling me back and just static again and faintly my dads voice.  It was breaking up so bad and I knew where my dad was heading at that time.  He was headed out to where my brother lived.  That was the only place where cell phone service goes to die.

Finally, a clear connection.  Then those words that will stay with me the rest of my life, “He’s gone.”  My little brother was dead.  He committed suicide.  All I can remember was coming to my knees not being able to breathe, to think.  I just wept this cry that I don’t think anyone has cried before and screamed no!

This is something that happens on a daily basis here America.  Unfortunately, it is a subject that most just sweep under the rug.  That won’t happen in my family and if it does we can’t talk about it.  It is disease that is sweeping the nation silently, but luckily it is gaining a little more exposure and people are starting to realize it as more than the person’s fault they are the way they are.

Addiction, depression, bipolar disorder…suicide.  My brother was an addict like me.  His suicide note said he felt like a bad person.  Most people think that addicts; people with depression or mental disorders, they are misunderstood or they are bad in some way.  We are not like that at all.  We are good people plagued with this “monster” inside us that screams to be fed, so we make bad decisions.  That’s it.  Some decisions are more permanent than others.

Not all my posts are going to be this serious, but in light of it being Mental Health Awareness Month and specifically Mental Health Awareness Week it is important that the message be carried that this is real, this does affect people and everyone around you.

My brother did not die in vain though.  Since 2010, my family and I have connected with other individuals in our community that have similar stories.  Just in the last 6 years the numbers are growing significantly.  My father has spoke at the Out of the Darkness walk last year to let other know about his story to keep my brother alive.  Without awareness there is no possibility for change.  Do not sweep this under the rug and let’s bring this to light!

I am not sure this will have the effect that I am hoping for, but if I can reach one person with this and just let them know YOU’RE NOT ALONE.  If you want help, it’s here.  Just reach out.

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