Memory Monday and the vanities of youth
I've been deep diving back into the year 1996 the past few days and working on finally getting my daughter's baby album done (she's 21 now!) and I have been cranking out the scrapbook layouts. I actually did create a paper scrapbook for her when she was young and kept this practice up to date for many years. However, it was filled with overcropped shape photos and clip art & stickers that made me cringe. And the book was huge and awkward to deal with. Now I'm going through these old layouts and turning them into modern pages using the Project Life App.
You know what's funny about these photos? At the time they were first developed, I couldn't stand the ones that had me in them. I loved all the cute snapshots of my baby girl, but I felt terrible about how I looked. I thought I had a double chin (I wish my face and neck were that thin now). I felt uncomfortable about how I looked. Keep in mind that my daughter was only about 8 weeks old here so I may have still been dealing with some postpartum feelings, but I still am embarrassed that I was so hung up on those things. What is really amazing is that My husband took the time and effort to take pictures of me with my brand new baby. He told me I was pretty. Why couldn't I believe him? How sad is it that we are so hard on ourselves?!
How sad is it that when someone shows us a picture of ourselves that we have to judge ourselves and feel ugly or unlovable in some way. I never do that when I look at pictures of people I love. I don't pick apart photos of my husband or children. Why do I do that to myself? I know I'm not the only one. I've even heard plenty of other people criticize how they look when they see a picture of themselves. I'm sure women do it more than men, but I also know that men are guilty of this as well.
I don't have an immediate cure for this problem, but I will tell you that if you put a picture away for 20 years and then pull it back out that you will feel incredibly different about whatever you thought your flaws were. Now I feel joy when I see myself as a young mother who is filled with love for her sweet daughter. I wouldn't trade that for anything. And I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that I look pretty darn good for someone who just had a baby, has a 3 year old (with yet undiagnosed autism), and who just moved to a new house a week before this picture was taken. I'd say I was doing great that I was all dressed up with my hair and makeup done!
I guess I hope that my perspective will help someone out there feel better about some photos that they might now think are the best. It's true that nowadays we can take multiple pictures without any worry of paying for developing. And we can see the results instantly and delete the ones we don't like. That's wonderful, but don't get carried away with the deleting. Don't throw away the YOU of today. I promise you will feel differently in 20 years. Hopefully, you can even feel differently about it right now if you remember to look at the image as someone you love. Imagine it was your child or spouse. Would you say those mean things about the picture then? How about we stop judging ourselves so harshly? This sure is something I want to get better at doing.
I would love to challenge you to pull out an older picture of yourself and find the beauty in it. Enjoy the memory and appreciate the moment in time it captures. Then practice doing this same thing with a more recent photo. Remember that you should love that person in the photo!