Recently I, along with thousands of other photographers all over the world, tuned into CreativeLIVE as renowned wedding photographer Jasmine Star shot a real wedding as part of a live online photography workshop. It was pretty cool to watch, and from the pieces I was able to catch, I learned quite a bit.
At one point, when she was taking portraits of the bride and groom, she was talking about how her goal is always for the bride to feel 100% beautiful and confident on her wedding day. She mentions that the majority of women do not feel confident in themselves on a daily basis. That statement made me so sad, because it is true, and it should not be that way.
It seems to be one of the biggest issues in any woman’s life. We struggle to feel that we are beautiful, or smart, or “enough” in any given area of our lives.
When we are very young, we feel like beautiful princesses or ballerinas, and we know that we can be anything we want to be when we grow up. There are no limits in our minds and hearts. But as we grow up, we look back on that and laugh at our naivety. We begin to believe that we are just normal, and incapable to doing anything extraordinary. We see only our imperfections when we look in the mirror, only our shortcomings when we examine our lives. We limit ourselves because we believe our true dreams are too big and that we are unworthy of them. Often we even believe that we are unworthy of love.
Why does this happen to us? Why does this self-doubt seem to be an almost inseparable part of the female psyche? I think that it is partially a societal thing- our culture does not nurture confidence in young women. Rather, it teaches us not to be too proud, because then people will think we are arrogant and conceited. If we being to believe we could go after our dreams, and have anything we want, often there is a voice (whether it be from another person or in out own minds) that says we are being impractical and have our head in the clouds.
But isn’t it better to have your head in the clouds then to be laying on the ground in defeat?
The women I always admire most are the ones who have chosen not to listen to the negativity, who have fought off the doubts in their own minds and embraced the woman they truly are. They are totally comfy in their own skin, because they recognize that their beauty is from within and it is real. They chase after their dreams with confidence and determination, because they know that every single success story that has ever been, started with just another “normal” person, and that dreams are not realized my chance, but by fervently working towards them. (And also- that it is better to be truly happy and doing what you love, than to be miserable and have money. It's about redefining “success”… but that is a topic all on it’s own.) They find real love, because they know that they deserve it and they refuse to settle for anything less, ignoring the voice in their head that might them otherwise.
And because they have fought their insecurities- faced them, and worked through them instead of submitting to them- they have a lightness and a freedom that is recognizable. They are more beautiful, because they believe in their beauty. They do reach their goals, because they refuse to give up on them. They have a presence and a solidity that people fell when they are around, and they have more to offer others because they are not preoccupied by self-doubting thoughts.
That is how I want to be, and I know that getting there is a journey. It is about daily choosing not to believe the lies, and to walk in who I know myself to be. I think that any of those confident women I am thinking of would agree that the struggles never go away, it is just a matter of daily choosing how you will deal with them.
Sisters, you are beautiful and you can do anything. Own it. Choose freedom.