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Accept. Be Grateful For . Love . Yourself.

We all do it. I wish we didn’t, though. And I’m making a promise to myself to stop.

We make comments about ourselves along the lines of:

“I hate the way my arms look.”

“I wish my hair was straight.”

“You are going to need to Photoshop me.”

“I have the worst wrinkles.”

Why did I wear that outfit? I look fat.”

It has become such a common bad habit for people to make negative comments about themselves. To make it known that their are certain parts of us that we hate. For me? It has always been my face and my posture. I have never liked the way I look when I smile really big (my BFF and I have lovingly dubbed the creases I get in my face when I smile really big  “the dents”) and my posture is god awful and then there are my puffy eyes (my left eye has been chronically puffy since pre-school and I have been asked more times than I can count if I have a black eye). I catch myself in a mirror sometimes and I notice these things right away. And seeing myself in a video? Extra-double cringe.

Why in the world do I focus on the things I don’t like and instead of noticing the things I really do like about myself? Why is it much more common for people to tell others what they want to change about themselves instead of the things they embrace and love about how they look? This needs to change.

 

I was recently on creativeLIVE for three sessions, each were 7 hours of filming, for something called Restart. This included lots and lots of time being filmed while talking, photographing, eating, looking awkward, laughing, and observing.

I wasn’t planning to watch the course afterwards out of fear, but curiosity took over and I made myself watch some of it the other day. I started out feeling horrified. I was pointing out every little flaw that I saw in myself. It was sad, really. But, then, something came over me and a giant wave of acceptance hit me like a ton of bricks. And I smiled. All of a sudden, I had this feeling that I am okay with myself. I am okay with how my eyes get huge and my forehead wrinkles up when I’m talking and that I slouch and that my voice doesn’t have Adele’s sultry quality to it and that I sometimes look like I was in a boxing match and that I have “the dents” when I smile. Because these things are part of me. I felt a warmth towards myself that I can’t say I have ever felt before. There was something about forcing myself to watch what I actually look like, while talking, laughing, crying, that brought acceptance. It was very powerful for me.

I decided that I am done pointing out my faults to myself and to others. Done. I have worked really hard to try to continually better myself as a person, so why in the world do I keep knocking myself down? It’s very counter-productive and I have been focusing on being more efficient lately…so, it only makes sense.

So, I have made myself a promise. If a negative thought creeps in, I will kick it in the shin. Or bust out a ninja move on it. And replace it with a positive thought. I am replacing hate with gratefulness and acceptance. And I know this will take practice. It can take time to change a pattern of automatic thoughts that I have had my whole life. I won’t beat myself up if a negative thought creeps in. Instead, I will acknowledge it, replace it with gratefulness, and move on.

 

Life is too short to not live it positively. Too short to be our own worst enemy. Although, even if life was too long, we still shouldn’t be so negative and mean to ourselves, but you know what I mean.

And I’m challenging anyone who reads this to start replacing their own negative thoughts with positive thoughts! To be grateful and to feel acceptance of yourself. To heal from the inside out by loving yourself. Let me know how it goes for you and I’ll also post an update from time to time with how I’m doing.

 p.s. Thank you to my beautiful friend, Stacy Gendreau, for giving me the notepad 100 Gathered Thoughts (For My Dear Friend) & Papers for Brilliant Ideas & Laundry Lists, which is where I took the quotes from.

April 3, 2013 - 2:14 pm

Gretchen Korf - Awww Nikki! We all feel that way about something. You’re right tho, we must bust some ninja moves on those ugly thoughts!! I never thought a negative one while watching you on CL. I just saw a poised, beautiful, open woman in front of me.

April 3, 2013 - 3:27 pm

Yasmin Sarai - It’s funny how we don’t see in ourselves what others who love us see. When watching you at cL I saw a lovely, youthful, funny, real and gorgeous friend. Nothing negative whatsoever! <3 Love the little paper quotes!

April 3, 2013 - 4:17 pm

Wedding Photographer Barrie - I completely agree with Gretchen & Yasmin, I was impressed with your CL appearance, not a single negative thought! You hit the nail on the head, life is too short to not live it positively :) Great post Nikki!

April 3, 2013 - 4:58 pm

Rebecca Anne - Beautiful post. I especially feel that us women photographers probably deal with this the most! haha Very well stated. Lovely post.

April 3, 2013 - 5:04 pm

Ryan Greenleaf - Oh my gosh. Love love love this post. I actually found my posture straightening up at my desk when you were talking about it. I definitely agree with you about taking those negative thoughts and substituting them with a positive one. Oh, and I may have to steal that first quote about stained glass ;) Love you!

April 3, 2013 - 5:58 pm

Amy - I absolutely love this!!! It is so important for people to feel good about themselves and to be happy with who they are. I am taking your advice and I will replace negative thoughts with gratefulness and acceptance!!!! Well said Nikki.

April 3, 2013 - 6:38 pm

ashley fisher - Love this post. And love you my dear.

Just remember that we all think you are gorgeous and fabulous, so there’s no reason for you to disagree. :)

I think I want to print that last quote and hang it in my office, too. :D

April 3, 2013 - 6:41 pm

Corrie Lindroos - I wish more people, myself included would have a moment of acceptance. How freeing that must feel! Thank you for taking the time to write this beautiful and inspiring post!

April 3, 2013 - 6:54 pm

Kim Schepperley - Awwww Nikki! Thank you for this! I’m sure there is no explanation necessary. Xoxo

April 3, 2013 - 6:56 pm

Jenna Leigh - LOVE LOVE this Nikki! I think you are gorgeous on so so many levels and I want you to know that. What a great message, it is far too easy to focus on what we don’t like instead of remembering what makes us special, unique, and beautiful.

April 3, 2013 - 7:26 pm

Susannah Gill - Thank you Nikki so much for blogging that, it is something I have been working on recently and it was wonderful to not feel alone in that battle with one’s self! It was also great meeting you recently in Seattle at Tamara’s wrap up party!

April 3, 2013 - 9:22 pm

Adrien - I was there… I never saw any dents. Just a thoughtful, enthusiastic young woman with a lovely, sparkling smile. And now I’m sitting up a little straighter too :D

April 3, 2013 - 10:06 pm

Julianna Rennard - Nikki you are so beautiful and it just shows how humble you are within. I too have the same feeling and these are all great tips and I will put them to use. By the way, Nathan has the same dent on his right cheek that he too had to learn to accept.

April 3, 2013 - 11:59 pm

Jamie Bodo - Every single person in the world would feel the same way if they had an opportunity to watch themselves. The only way to get over it is to keep watching! Besides, just an FYI your legs looked PHENOMENAL in the 3rd reSTARt! :P

April 4, 2013 - 12:22 am

Andrea Scott - I loved reading this You are such a real person and I love that about you… you have permission to ninja kick me if you hear me talk negative about myself… we soooo need to change the way we look at ourselves! thanks so much for writing this!

April 4, 2013 - 12:29 am

Karthika - We all tend to be harder on ourselves than others do for some reason. Kick those negative feelings right out! and smile – you have a beautiful smile and a wonderful life…live it to the fullest :)

April 4, 2013 - 2:04 am

nikkiclosser - Andrea! I adore you :) We can ninja kick each other. Ha!

April 4, 2013 - 4:49 am

Kate O'Connor - Nikki I am so glad you wrote this brilliant post. It is an important post!
I can only imagine how difficult it was for all of you. I watched the whole thing and thought you ROCKED and were total hotties… But seriously, I am happy that you watched yourself and found your real beauty!
When I was 18 I had just started modelling and I had an accident. I totally smashed my face – cracked my nose and one of my eyes was half closed for more than two years. I had to wear an eyepatch for 3 months, had two surgeries, and I never looked the same. It took me almost 5 years to accept my new face and stop explaining why I looked the way I looked within the first five minutes of meeting someone… But now I feel SO grateful that I didn’t lose my eyesight – especially since I’m a photographer!! I was lucky! And it forced me to grow beyond my looks, and work on my life. I am really happy with my physical self and I feel free. I wish that liberation for you, and all women and men :)
If you ever catch yourself thinking mean thoughts, just ask yourself: what if your best friend’s boyfriend said those things to her… Unacceptable – so don’t be a “bad boyfriend” to yourself. Ninja Star!!!

April 4, 2013 - 7:54 pm

jenn of hello|inspira - nikki, i didnt see all of the things that you mentioned in this post. all i see is three beautiful, inspiring and very driven, hard working people! thanks for sharing this though! i am having a promo video done soon and i know this will attack me too!

April 6, 2013 - 8:15 am

Michelle S Hanks - This is how so many of us critique (aka accept) ourselves. We seem to think we are only ok if we make sure everyone around us is aware of the flaws. I’m happy for you that a peace has come to you and thank you for bringing the thought to my thought process.

April 13, 2013 - 12:25 am

Kristin Cooley - I love this Nikki. Having packed on the lbs after our wedding, then having a baby, and my thyroid troubles on top of all of that, I’m full of negative thoughts and insecurities about my body/appearance. I just made the commitment to work out (started this week w/ a personal trainer), eat clean, and most importantly stop focusing on all the negative and realize it’s a process, I didn’t gain all this weight overnight, so it’s not going to come off that way. Seeing myself in the gym mirrors is probably close to the feeling of watching yourself on video w/ CL…horrified!! Thank you for this post, it’s nice to know I’m not alone and even super adorably cute, fit, tiny girls like you have the same negative thoughts sometimes. :)

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