Self Acceptance Isn’t a Dress Size; It’s a State of Mind.

IHang on tight…this joyride might be a bit long. Give me a break though…it’s been a while since I’ve made you read through a book-length post, and I think you’ll like this one.

I have so. many. women. that come into my studio because they are either on a downward spiral of self-hatred and are at their wits end, trying to crawl out of the bucket of mud they voluntarily crawled into, or they are on an upward trajectory from hitting that rock bottom place and have reached a point where they are proud of their efforts and hard work and want to celebrate with a session with me.

Wanna know something funny? Yeah, not “ha ha” funny, but “holy shit. Seriously??” funny? Both of those women I just told you about are truthfully in the same place emotionally about their state of self love and self acceptance. Yeah, one might be a bit more depressed than the other, but neither of those women have truly accepted themselves for who they are. And I mean, who they are after they’ve unzipped that klutzy thing we call a body and are left with nothing else but our souls.

Wanna know how I know that? Well, for one, I’ve photographed enough women in 13 years that I believe I qualify for a pretty darned-educated opinion. And for second, I just photographed one of each within a timespan of 2 days.

My title perfectly explains why: because self-acceptance isn’t a dress size; it’s a state of mind.

This beautiful, strong and incredible woman you see in these photos is a lovely example of all of this and in such a good way. Faced with some medical difficulties with her 2nd child, she had her moment of reckoning with her own self and decided enough was enough. She needed to make a change. A change for herself and a change for her family. So, one decision, lots of effort and hard work and 100 lbs. later, this GORGEOUS woman now helps women emotionally and physically reach a place of positive health. That’s amazing! I mean, that’s just simply incredible to me. And you know what? That’s what we women are built to do. We figure something out and we share it. We intuitively know that we are meant to build up love, tear down hate and when we learn the secret to both, we know it’s our job to make it right for others. And that’s what Amy does. She makes it right for others.

She told me how she’s in such a good place, but also a confusing place. No one told her what life is like once you lose the weight. No one told her what the stopping point was, or that really there is no stopping point. What amount of weightloss is enough? In the beginning you think “AH! I can’t wait to get there!” And then you do, and you don’t feel it. It doesn’t feel like the “there” you felt in your mind when you dreamed of it. It feels different “here”. Restlessness, confusion…is there more? Should there be less? No one told her how to reckon with the new self that was inevitable. The smaller self. The self that now weighs less and is what she thought would be the answer all along. What now? Where’s that feeling of **siiiiigggggggghhhhhhhhh…..I’m finally HERE!

We’ve all been there ladies. We’ve lost the weight, gained the weight, lost the weight…tell me truly: how many of you reached the point of 100% joyful once you lost the weight? And I don’t mean happiness. I mean joyful. One is fleeting and cannot be counted upon. The other is a state of being and is a foundation upon which the rest of your life is built upon. I’ve been there. Shit, I’m still there. I’ve gained and lost. And now I’m in the “gained” part again. Tell me if this sounds familiar: I now look back at the time I lost the weight, and just needed to lose 5 more. “If I could juuuuuust get down one more dress size….” Yep. And now I look back and I am so sad for that gal. Sad because I got there. I did the work and I got there and IT WASN’T ENOUGH. I did exactly what that weight loss program told me to do and it did for me exactly what it said it would AND IT DIDN’T DO ENOUGH.

And then I realized…IT’S NEVER ENOUGH. IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH. I’LL NEVER BE ENOUGH.

Waiiiiiiit a minute. What? What did I just say? “I’ll never be enough?” Did I just say that??

My dears: when will you be enough? When the dress size is one lower? When the boobs are one size bigger? When the wrinkles aren’t so noticeable?¬†And why? Why are you not enough? And what makes you enough? And who decides if you’re enough? Who makes these rules??

In my 13 years I have certainly learned one very important thing I want you to think about. The reason I say that self acceptance is a state of mind is because I have, as of yet, to meet a woman that doesn’t have a hang up about something about her body or physical appearance and I have photographed women from size 0 to size 24.

In fact, I’ve had more size 0 through 4’s have more self-loathing than my 14 through 24’s. It has nothing to do with size, my friends.

I think the reason we have such problems with our bodies is because we somehow inherently know that it’s the body that’s the issue. They’re clunky, heavy, they damage way too easily, they get in the way, they require so much care…I mean honestly, what the hell good are they anyway?? We’re all just souls trying to figure out how to operate with these crazy suits of skin and man, it is freaking hard.

So what does this mean and what do we do? It means you have to reset your mind, ladies. Remember, YOU define what success is. YOU define what joy is. YOU define what is ENOUGH. And may I let you in on a bit of a secret? You’re enough. You’re worthy because you are. You are here. You are walking around on this earth, and that means that you are worthy.

Have you ever looked at another woman and thought ‘She’s not worthy. She’s not worthy of love because she’s too skinny/too fat. She’s not worthy of love or self acceptance because she’s not dressed this way or that way?’

Then what makes you so unworthy??

I don’t know about you, but from now on, I’ve decided I’m going to start taking my soul for a walk. My soul is the perfect size at all times. My soul is kind, generous, curious, funny and smart. My soul deeply cares about other souls and believes deeply in the kindness of other souls. My soul never judges any other soul and in fact honors every other soul. And most importantly, my soul would never ever judge my soul.

It’s not easy, ladies. I know it. You know it. I’m not saying anything here you don’t already know. But what I’m trying to tell you is that this life isn’t about your dress size. Do you agree with me that there are so many other, super duper more important things in this life to experience and learn? You have so much to learn in this life. You have so much to experience.

Are you just as exasperated as I am that we’re wasting all this time on a fucking dress size? Of all the miracles in this universe…from the smiles of our babies, to the free fall of falling in love, to the shock and awe of simple human gestures of kindness and love…and we’re worried about the number on that tag inside that piece of clothing.

“She was a woman of size 14. Her size is what defined her and her size is what made her successful. Because of her size, her children have learned what is most important in this life. Her size is what embodied our friendship. Her size is what her husband will remember and cherish the most. There are so many amazing memories we shared, but her size is what I will remember the most. Her size changed the world.” –read no eulogy ever.

We are not our resumes. We are not our deeds. We are not our dress sizes. No one will remember or care what you did for a living. No one will remember or care what you did on a daily basis or how you made your money or what you did with it. No one will remember most of what you’ve ever even said to them. But they will remember how you made them feel.

And that, my beautiful souls, will have absolutely nothing to do with your dress size.

Are you ready for a body revolution? Then #putthefuckingbathingsuiton

Who’s with me?
Believing in Your Self Worth | Elizabeth Craig Photography-1Believing in Your Self Worth | Elizabeth Craig Photography-2Believing in Your Self Worth | Elizabeth Craig Photography-3Believing in Your Self Worth | Elizabeth Craig Photography-4Believing in Your Self Worth | Elizabeth Craig Photography-6Believing in Your Self Worth | Elizabeth Craig Photography-7Makeover by At Home Beauty.

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