Recently, out of the blue, my 8-year-old daughter said to me, “Mom, you know who I love the most in the world?”
“Who?” I asked.
“My SEEELLLLF!” She asserted with glee.
“Amazing” I said. “Because you will always and forever be with yourself. People will come and go. Changes will happen all around you, but no matter what, you always have yourself. You’re always right there with you. So, put yourself first, girl. Love yourself loud and clear. Be who you are. Always and forever.”
Recently a good friend of mine and an amazing photographer and makeup artist, Melissa Hoffman, reached out to me and asked if I would like to do a boudoir photo shoot to help her build her portfolio. My first reaction was “No thank you.” I am not happy with my body right now. I don’t feel good enough about myself to be half naked in a photo. I don’t want to see myself. I don’t want my husband to see me. Maybe I should do a cleanse first. No. Now is not the time.”
That voice was determined and persistent. It wanted to be heard. It wanted to talk me out of loving myself exactly as I am, right now. And then I heard another, quieter voice—my own words to my daughter—“Love yourself loud and clear.”
And so, I resisted that critical voice in my head and I said YES to Melissa.
The boudoir shoot surprised me. There is power in accepting yourself wholly and completely and letting yourself be seen. I let go that day and let the camera see me. I didn’t hide. I let curves that didn’t used to be curves reveal themselves. I let my hair down, messy and raw. I tapped into the feminine strength of vulnerability and softness that so easily gets buried by perfectionism and fear. I wore red lipstick (something I never do) and I loved it.
When I got the photos, I cried. I saw the woman that I’ve been striving to be—the one I want my daughter to see. I saw strength, power, trust, softness, resliance, femininity, acceptance. I saw fierce self-love.
“Put yourself first, girl. Love yourself loud and clear. Be who you are. Always and forever.”
So this is our practice, again and again. How can we love ourselves more deeply? How can we accept ourselves more fully? How can we lift the veil of perfection and stop hiding? How can we start to quiet the inner critic that holds us back? What can we say YES to that will help us become more of ourselves?
Sending you Valentine’s Day wishes of deep self-love.
P.S. New programs are kicking on off in April for The Practice®. Enrollment is now open.
P.P.S. If you are interested in getting a shoot done, Melissa is offering a $300 discount for Bloomies off her full day experience. Email her and let her know you’re a Bloom client. I cannot recommend her highly enough. Go HERE to check her out.
Michelle Long, Founder of The Practice®