Givers. Takers. Fakers.

Elizabeth Craig Photography-3Do you know the difference? Do you know which is the hardest to spot? I didn’t for a long, long time but I’m happy to say that I can spot each pretty easily now.

Listen, this is important to hash out. I never really thought about any of this until I was utterly exhausted due to giving all of my time and energy to the Takers and Fakers. So much so that I had no time left to give to the Givers. That is seriously unbalanced. My last post was on Personal Responsibility and this post goes in tandem with that one.

Why is this a new theme for me? Because, for a long time I wrote about self-love, self-care, and self-appreciation and you all know how important those topics are for me. I think one of the most complex, joyous, disappointing, nurturing, careless and extraordinary relationships you’ll ever have in your life is the one you have with your Self. Goddess knows it takes time, so much hard work and tenderness to even remotely begin to unravel that kind of love, trust, and self-guidance. A HUGE, GINORMOUS part of working all of that out is understanding the dynamics of how infinitely intertwined the behaviors of others towards you play a role in the journey of Self. As you get to know your Self, it’s so important to then understand the role others play in that reflection.

Givers. There is likely nothing I can say here that you don’t already know, but let me give it a go. You know the Givers. They are the folks that share a reciprocal relationship of giving and taking. The balance is clear in everything they do. They take when they need, but they balance that with giving when they are needed. We cannot go through this life without needing help, so don’t be disappointed when a Giver needs to be given to. Think about your closest circle right now. You’ll know who these friends and family members are, instantly. They’ve always been there for you. They raise you up when you’re down and knock you down when you need it. They are honest, forthcoming, givers of love and also givers of tough love. These are the ones you keep close to your heart and protect with everything you have. If you don’t have any of these, get them. Get them now. No one can make it without them. Remember to always lift up a Giver when you can. They don’t get lifted up nearly as much as they should. Typically, they are the ones that never get recognized because their deeds are small. However, those deeds are consistent and the people they surround themselves with are consistently taken care of and lifted up by them. Today, I want you to think of a Giver in your life and thank them. Thank them deeply with true love. I can promise you they don’t get it enough. Recognition is not their goal, but it sure makes a person feel damn good.

Takers. These folks are pretty easy to spot as well. You know them. Always needing something. Always taking from others without appreciation or regard for what someone had to give up financially, emotionally, spiritually or mentally to give to them. They have distinct targets; the Givers that just can’t, for whatever reason, say no to a Taker. They don’t even realize that by giving to them, not only are they dramatically taking away from themselves, but they are instigating and stoking the fires of the Taker they are giving to, encouraging and enabling them to continue to take, take, take, with no responsibility for the aftermath. Another side effect of giving to a Taker is the it doesn’t just effect you; it effects everyone around you too. As an observer of this twisted relationship, it’s maddening because you typically sit on the sidelines, helpless to break those chains between a Taker and a Giver. If you are a Giver that has glued to a Taker, I highly recommend that you figure out a way to break that bond. I know that’s easier said than done, but you are doing the Taker a disservice, to say the least, but the true misfortune of this relationship is what it does and will continue to do to you. I’m not telling you to cut this person out of your life, but you need to ask yourself an important question here: What have you got to lose by saying No? They will be angry? So what?? They will not talk to you?? Awesome! Then you don’t have to put yourself out all the time for their selfishness and mistakes. I guarantee this:  your happiness and lightness of dropping such a load after the initial reaction will be soooooooo worth it.

Fakers. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh…..Fakers. These are the tough ones. GAH! Oh my Goddess you guys…Fakers are the WORST! Fakers can be super hard to spot because they come off as Givers. They come off as kind, helpful and they actually do give, occasionally. But if you peel back the layers of the moments they give, you will see that there is ALWAYS an ulterior motive that was calculated to truly only benefit them. It takes a keen eye and if you’re not super observative or have the ability to think like a Faker, they are sooooo easy to miss, and before you know it, you’re giving and giving and giving while you sit and wait for the Faker to give back to you the things they promised if you gave of yourself to them. It still happens to me occasionally, but I am so happy to say that my eye has become quite sharp in spotting a Faker. So, how do you spot a Faker? Think about the people in your life, and consider who has asked for things of you. This can be professionally and personally. Did they ask something of you, and then promise something in return but never quite got to that part for you? Oh and sometimes there is a good reason why they never quite got there for you. But how many times has this happened? Now think of this: does this person or people have a track record of leaving others in the dust as well? Believe me, if they are a Faker, they absolutely leave a trail of broken promises behind them.

What makes it so tough to spot a Faker is their ability to either be so kind and sweet or their ability to make you think they are actually going out of their way to help you. But the truth is, you either walk away burdened with tasks to help them, or you walk away feeling bad about yourself because in their “effort” to help you, all they’re really doing is pointing out what they believe your weaknesses are and what you “should” be doing, because what you are doing is either wrong or not enough. Ahhhhh….yessss…it’s starting to sink, right?? The kind and sweet are a bit easier to spot because they just simply don’t deliver on their promises. Eventually you’ll catch on and then hopefully you’ll decide to cut that off at the neck. But the other kind is so much harder because it comes as the Faker helping you. But each time you walk away from hanging out with them you feel awful about yourself, but you just can’t explain why. Then you go home and spiral down a path of self-loathing for a while, get back up and move on…until you meet with this person again…and then it the spiral starts all over again.

These are the people you just cut off at the neck. You don’t even have to tell them if you don’t want to, but yes, the Giver always feels they need to be honest and open. However, I caution you on this because there is a greater chance of you walking away blaming yourself, specifically because of the grand ability of a Faker to spin everything back onto their side. If you must communicate to walk away, do it by email, then block them and walk away from their response. I’ve done both talking and email and the feeling is one that I cannot explain. It. Feels. So. Damn. Good.

Lastly, be careful not to assume you are a Giver all of the time. Every person in your life brings out something in you. Some bring out kindness, some anger, some irritation, some an eyeroll, some a giving nature or humor. But make no mistake: I guarantee you’ve been a Taker and/or Faker at some point. So, as hard as this is, try not to judge. The point in all of this is to protect your Self and your own journey, making sure you don’t get derailed away from the path you’re supposed to walking and the life you’re supposed to be living.

Ok–so lastly lastly: give the Takers and Fakers the middle finger and walk away. You’re too special, precious and extraordinary to waste your time on them.

#youreworthitElizabeth Craig Photography-1Elizabeth Craig Photography-5Elizabeth Craig Photography-4Elizabeth Craig Photography-6Elizabeth Craig Photography-2Elizabeth Craig Photography-7Makeover: Jamie Newhouse
Muse: Jamie Newhouse
Location: Hip at the Flashlight Factory

Boudoir Photography Workshop Wrap-Up

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photography Workshop -2So happy to finally be able to give you my Boudoir Photography Workshop wrap-up from my time in Estes Park, CO!

So let me say this: it was awesome. I think what I loved most about being a part of the Photo Rehab 2018 Workshop was that it was immersive. There was no separation from the instructors and the attendees and we all spent all of our time together. Does that sound weird? It shouldn’t; being able to have total access to everyone at pretty much anytime was seriously cool. I had so much fun teaching and getting to know everyone there. Also–there were 8 of us there, all teaching something different. Talk about getting some bang for your buck!

I had the pleasure of teaching a live posing workshop, providing two muses for the attendees to photograph. Krystle Coll flew all the way out from Pittsburgh to help me out with that and Paige Joelson drove 2 hours for her part as well. I can’t thank either one of them enough for agreeing to lay around half naked and let 20 people photograph them. And a GIANT thank you to Evans Stowers for the incredible hairstyling and Sameera Ahmed for the killer makeup on both muses. Thank you both for bringing it all to life for me! I rounded it all out with a styled shoot of Krystle, and invited all of the attendees to come and photograph if they wanted to. Take a peek at the film. It’s a good recap of our time there (plus you’ll get to see our special guest, Sven the Elk, make his debut).

Special thanks to Chad Braithwaite, the organizer and grand poobah of the event. I’m not typically a kumbaya kinda gal, but this was absolutely wonderful.

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photography Workshop -1Pittsburgh Boudoir Photography Workshop -5Pittsburgh Boudoir Photography Workshop -6Pittsburgh Boudoir Photography Workshop -4Pittsburgh Boudoir Photography Workshop -3

Going LIVE with Sharna Again!

Sharna Langlai-1Hey gang! Remember Sharna? If you don’t, Sharna, of Seek Spark Shine, was a guest on my Livecast this past summer and WOW did it get a good turn out! It was pretty obvious that we left everyone wanting more, so guess what? Here’s your “more”.

Sharna is going to be rolling through Pittsburgh for some classes (see below) and certifications for her students and while she’s here, we will be going LIVE at 3pm EST on 11.7.18 on my personal Facebook page. If you can’t make it, don’t worry; not only will I be posting the Live video on Facebook, but John will also be filming an extended video of Sharna as I explore her history with reiki, her life as a healing practitioner and all about her new book, Unexpected Awakenings: Navigating a Spiritual Awakening. You do NOT want to miss this!

And a super duper special treat for you: Sharna is holding an incredible workshop, Guide Speak, at a private home in Monroeville while she’s here.

Connecting with your Spirit Guides

We all have the ability to connect with our guides, and communicating with them can provide us with vital support and information on our path. During this workshop you’ll:

  • Understand who and what spirit guides are and how they help and support you.
  • Learn tools to communicate directly with your personal guides.
  • Practice connecting with and receiving messages from them.

If you’re interested (and you should be), go here to find out more. I hope to see you there!

Personal Responsibility

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-3People-pleaser. What thoughts go through your head when you read those words? For a lot of women, reading those words turns into a head nod, like “Yep…that’s me. Totally”. It’s no wonder; we are just now birthing generations of girls that are actually being taught that they don’t have to be quiet, not only can they speak up and out, but they should. “You can be anything you want to be” actually means what it says in today’s world…it’s not just a saying on a soda can or a t-shirt.

I am a reformed people-pleaser. Well, mostly. I still find myself (rarely, thank goodness) in the aftermath of a situation where I somehow walked away with a responsibility I didn’t ask for, but somehow agreed to take on. But I am so pleased to tell you that my people-pleasing radar is very fine-tuned these days and I’m getting better and better.

Here’s the damn thing about being a people-pleaser: you are like a fucking magnet to people that take advantage of people-pleasers. It’s maddening! It took me YEARS to realize this, and I cannot begin to tell you all that I took on, took responsibility for, spent money on and shed tears for and usually for people that absolutely did not deserve any of it.

Then the concept of “personal responsibility” entered my psyche and the ruminations that have come with that have been a game-changer for me. I learned years ago to cut the takers out of my life and to beware of those trying to get back in, but I never examined the notion of “personal responsibility” in all of it.

At first, I began to apply this to me. I have a personal responsibility to myself to take care of me. I have a personal responsibility to spot situations that I would normally throw myself into the fire, but now back away slowly before I’m tagged in. Ahhhhhhhh….but now. Now, I have started to apply it to others and let me tell you something: I am free!! I am SO MUCH freer than I’ve ever been from that sick, nasty disease we call People-Pleasing. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh…..*big breath in. big breath out* It feels damn good.

My friend, Lola, introduced me to the flip of this concept and I am gift-wrapping this to give it to you. But listen, spotting situations where someone is trying to put a responsibility on you that doesn’t belong to you is hard. It’s even harder recognizing that it not only belongs to the person trying to dump this on you, but to hand it right back to them. It takes confidence and chutzpah. But here’s the good news: the more you do it, the easier it gets to spot and toss back like a water balloon just waiting for its target.

Homework: start honing your radar and recognize situations where your gut is telling you to stay quiet for a minute and reassess a situation where you would normally jump right in. Then, switch gears on that radar and start to recognize situations like this where the person dishing it all out is actually the one that needs to take it and put it right back on their own plate. You will have a MILLION reasons why they can’t. But but but but but…Stop that right now.

I can’t tell you how this has changed everything for me. If you’re anything like me, you think everything is your fault and everything is your responsibility. Wouldn’t it be AMAZING if you were wrong?? Guess what?  You are. You’re wrong. I’m telling you, once your radar is set to this setting it won’t matter how much someone tries to drag you back into a situation, you won’t go. It’s a visceral reaction that will serve you well.

So, go get yourself a bucket of personal responsibility today. Grab a big azz ladle and start dishing it out. Then give yourself one big azz high-five. You deserve it, girl.Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-2-2Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-1-2Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-4Muse: Savannah Letham

Support. Uplift. Cheer On. Inspire.

 

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Educator | Elizabeth Craig Photography-10

What do those words in this title make you think? Feel? I want them to call to you. I want them to make you think about what they really mean to you.

This is my call to you, ladies. This is my call to you to sit in your Self today. Not only do I want you to read the words in this title and consider how they apply to your Self, and if they do not apply to your Self, what you can do to make them apply, but also how you can apply them to women, period.

We come from a long history of having to compete with each other to survive. That no longer applies. Yes, we must fight harder than men, we must rise higher, be smarter and typically get knocked down more and if you are a brown person of the female gender, it is even more difficult. I mean….wayyyyyyyy more difficult. But we have reached a time when we can now take care of ourselves in a multitude of ways. The competition is over.

It is now time to re-focus that energy into a place where it can be most useful and that is with the entire female population. This is my challenge to you: to reach beyond yourself and give of yourself to women, or even just one woman really. Help me start this movement of recognizing that we are a tribe and frankly, we are all we have. We have each other.

Tell a woman she looks beautiful today. Tell a woman you see the stress in her eyes, but she’s got this and you know it. Tell a woman she’s a good mother. Tell her she’s strong, she will not only make it through this, but she will leap right over it with flames on the heels of her feet. Tell her congratulations, well done, keep trucking.

Tell her you see her, and what you see is a light that shines into this world like no other.

#tribePittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Educator | Elizabeth Craig Photography-5Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Educator | Elizabeth Craig Photography-7Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Educator | Elizabeth Craig Photography-1-2Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer | Educator | Elizabeth Craig Photography-6Muse: Ella Voss