I’m so in awe of your smiles you’ve shared this week. So grateful. If you haven’t checked out the #beyourownbeloved hashtag on Instagram…I highly recommend it for a dose of inspiration in your day! And I’d love to hear how this experience has been for you!
I’ve had a lot of smile realizations come up this week and have been loving reading alongside the photos of folks participating what they are realizing too.
One of the biggest things is this realization, which of course I’ve known before now but really hit home in this context.
We are so much harder on ourselves and our SMILES than we would ever be of anyone else.
Why do we walk the world thinking everyone is seeing us critically when in reality we are the most critical of ourselves?
And while it can be so powerful to have people tell us what they like our smile…we have to be ready and willing to see it ourselves, in our own time and in our own way.
Which is why I really wanted to do this experiment and why I’m so grateful you are reading this post.
So, to end this experiment, I wanted to ask you…what if we let in the love?
That’s the other thing I’ve realized this week…that sometimes we hide love away from ourselves.
As I’ve mentioned, finding that one way I like to smile in photos was SO powerful. Yet after only doing that smile for years I realize that by not letting myself authentically smile on the days when I really wanted to, I hid myself away from more love.
It reminded me of the way I used to hide my body behind extra baggy/flowy clothing. Even though I felt good in those clothes, I couldn’t really see my body and when I started to wear more fitted clothing I realized there was a body under that flowing clothing I could have seen with love all along…
I think, especially in the case of our smiles, it’s easy to hide behind a posed smile and I want to continue to reserve the right to. But I realized that by hiding my teeth, by hiding my authentic smile in moments when I truthfully wanted to smile…I was hiding love from myself.
I was hiding the potential to love my smile just as it is.
I wasn’t even offering myself the option.
I think as women we are brilliant at that. Hiding ourselves under baggy clothing. Hiding ourselves by playing small. Hiding ourselves behind negative words we share about our body aloud to friends.
We are hiding and holding back our potential for self-compassion.
We all have it.
We weren’t born hating our bodies or being critical of our smiles.
When we first smiled at someone as a small child, would we have ever imagined it would be something we would some day need to make peace with?
Let’s reclaim the inherent right to see our own bodies without critique. I’m not talking vanity here. Just the inherent right to see ourselves without critique.
And in order to reclaim that, we get to make that choice.
To choose love or hate.
To choose kindness over critique.
Sometimes, its even awaiting us in a smile, isn’t it!
I have a specific activity to end this week but of course…if there is a certain way you are craving to smile today, go for it! This is about you sharing your smile, so bring it on.
For our final selfie experiment, I’d love for us to meet that woman in the mirror. The one who we may often see with critique but who indeed has been waiting all this time for us to see with love.
In the Be Your Own Beloved classes we only do a few activities with the Mirror (I’d actually LOVE to do another Making Peace Experiment with the mirror sometime….let me know if that would be of interest) but this is one of my favourite ways to take a mirror photo, that doesn’t feel as vulnerable as a full body mirror photo but at the same time is such a powerful way to connect with ourselves in the mirror.
Your task is this. Just like in the example photo above. Get right next to the mirror.
- Cheek to cheek or play around with angles and find a way that works for you.
- Take a lot of photos and play around with having your eyes open or closed…or do what feels right to you!
And most importantly, smile with her. Smile at her.
Send her some love today.
I truly can’t wait to see your photos today. If you’re joining us beyond this week we’ve been doing it live, please don’t hesitate to share your photos. Feel free to tag me too. My Instagram name is @viviennemcm or if you are tagging me on Facebook to see it, please use the @BeYourOwnBeloved page to tag me! Or please don’t hesitate to add your link in below too!
I also want to thank you for being a part of this! It has truly been a joy in my days this week to see you exploring seeing your smile with kindness. If you feel drawn to explore more self-compassion through taking selfies, the class Beloved Beginnings is a self-paced class you can start at any time! It is super beginner friendly (even more gentle activities that we’ve been doing this week) and is also super affordable!
I’m also starting a brand new session of Be Your Own Beloved on Valentine’s Day! It is going to be a bit different as I’m adding some things to it! More instructional videos (about how to find your timer, how to take selfies) as well as videos sharing more about Being Your Own Beloved. Plus, the price hasn’t gone up (though it will after this session)!
I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose.”
― Margaret Cho
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