I don’t know about you…but this is outside of my comfort zone.
Of course, the selfie part isn’t for me (but it may be for you and that is totally welcome) but the smiling part is.
I mean, I love to smile. I like to walk the world with a big welcoming smile on my face, to greet people with a grin and to welcome the radiant smiles that they send back to me.
In fact, in my path to feel less invisible and more connected in my daily life, smiling has been at the core.
What about you? How do you feel about your smile outside of photos? How do you feel about seeing your smile in photos?
But as I mentioned in the first post introducing this experiment, when I look back at the last 8 years of taking self-portraits especially the past few years of really trying to not hide my smiles in the world…I don’t see that story told there at all in my photos.
Yet there is another one told there. One of a woman learning to see herself with kindness through her camera and that story includes finding a way to smile that in photos that doesn’t invite in my inner critics. One of a woman who found her smile comfort zone and has been really happy there!
As I’ve been teaching Be Your Own Beloved and other self-portrait classes over the past 4 years I’ve noticed that often we go through a cycle much like I have been with my smile.
When we are entering taking selfies and seeing ourselves with kindness through our cameras, everything is really vulnerable at first. Our inner critics may rise up and try to stop us. So we seek out comfort zones, ways to take our photos that we feel good about, angles we like, ways of shooting or processing our photos that feel good to us. This rocks. We are allowed to create comfort zones for ourselves and every one of us have them.
Then after we’ve happily been hanging out in our comfort zone for a while, things outside of that comfort zone ask to be heard. That’s really were this whole project has come from for me and I’m excited that you are here and wanting to explore your comfort zone (be it creating one or breaking out of it) around smiling in photos!
A few questions for you:
What is the story of your smile that you normally choose to tell in your photos?
What do you think your comfort zones might be?
Let’s chat for a second about what our goal this week might be?
While my goal is really to try to see my authentic smile with kindness and let a little more ‘me’ into the photo, to be less composed…your goal might be to find a way to smile (be it posed or unposed). There is no right or wrong goal to have this week.
This is an experiment too…so you don’t have to have a goal at all! It might just be to see what happens!
So how do we begin this journey to make peace with our smile?
Since we’ve chatted a bit about what our smile comfort zone might be…now break out of it! I promise this will be fun!
Here’s your first selfie smile experiment!!
Let’s get outside of our comfort zone! Here’s your task! Take a whole bunch of smile selfies, one after another! Go for it…try all the possible smiles you could do on for size. Get silly. Let your awkwardness or fear out. Try not to let your inner critic get in the way!
Here are a few examples of getting out of how I’ve gotten silly with this activity (you know…just in case you were worried about making a fool of yourself…I thought I’d make it easy for you and do it first)!
Part of the reason I want to start with breaking out of our comfort zone is well…because this process of making peace with our bodies can be playful, especially with our smiles. Now, after you’ve gotten silly, keep taking a few more smile shots as I have a feeling that’s when we might see our most relaxed & authentic smile too.
Alright, time to give it a try! Grab your camera or phone and go for it! Take at least a dozen photos if not more!
The more photos we take in this process the more likely we are to see that one photo that has us say “Oh my, that is a smile of mine I’ve never seen captured in a photo before”.
Then share your smile with us!
You might choose to share your favourite of the bunch of your photos you take today. Or you might want to share a collection of them! These mosaics of photos are just taken by taking a screenshot of my ‘Photo Stream’ on my camera, but you can also use an app like Party Party to make a mosaic or you can also make it into a GIF out of them too!
One of the powerful things about the Be Your Own Beloved class is that we take it in community (as opposed to a self-paced class) and we can support and encourage one another. Which of course we can do this week too.
Share your favourite smile shot using the #beyourownbeloved hashtag on Instagram and we can cheer one another on too. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your smile photo to cheer you on (and if you haven’t already, you can also list your blog or instagram link below too so we can come find you)! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments here!
Okay, let’s get smiling!
If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.