A Safe Place to Land

Sometimes in life or in business, we challenge ourselves to take a risk, to leap of the cliff and hope we learn to fly on the way down. Sometimes we surprise ourselves with how quickly and how high we fly. But sometimes, we just can’t manage to make it work. And in those moments, we need a parachute to ease the fall, or we need safe place to land.

Sometimes, we don’t consciously take a leap of a cliff – sometimes, we’re just running as hard as we can to keep up with the pace of life and our current situation. Sometimes, we are running so fast, and so hard, that our feet just can’t keep up – and we take a fall. And in those moments, we need a safe place to land.

Sometimes, we simply have an overpowering need to trust in something bigger than us. We need to be able to simply fall backward – to fall into trust and know that we will have that safe place to land.

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I think we sometimes fall into that safe place without ever really consciously realizing or acknowledging that place. We fall into the Lord. We fall into our spouse. We fall into our friends. We fall into our family. We fall into our co-workers.

So this morning, I’d like to challenge you to to really think about your safe place(s). Think about where you go (or who you go to) when you have no answers. When you have no strength left. When you have an idea or a passion, but have no idea what the next step should be. When you need a shoulder, or a laugh.

Nacogdoches photographer - black and white engagement photo in natural setting

Think about that safe place, and spend time there. Spend time pouring into that place. Spend time in prayer or fasting; spend time thanking that person. Spend time investing in them. And make sure you are being a safe place for someone else.

We all need that safe place to land. As mothers, we need women who will encourage us and let us know we aren’t the only ones second-guessing ourselves. We aren’t the only ones exhausted and worried we aren’t enough. As business owners, we need other entrepreneurs who will say “I understand” and we know they do. We need those folks to encourage us to keep going, to learn what we can from any failures and do better with the next risk. To help us celebrate in risks that pay off. As Christians, we need other believers to encourage us to dig deeper into our faith and reach farther into our relationship with God. As spouses, we need that partner to be a rock for us in hard times, and be laughter in days that are tough. To be there by our side in the good times and to be the first to raise a glass in honor of our achievements.

 

We all need a safe place to land. And that’s ok. Let’s just make sure we’re appreciating that place, and offering it to others.

Rejecting Perfectionism

As I was walking along the beach this past weekend in beautiful San Diego, I started to pick up a shell or two. So many beautiful shells were left in the wet sand because they had chips out of them or cracks running through them. They were left behind because they weren’t perfect. They were incomplete. The desire for perfection was drastically limiting my options.

I think a lot of the time being a perfectionist or A-type can work in your favor. It can make you focus on the details and make sure that all bases are covered. It can assure that you continually put forth nothing but your best self. It can set a high standard of achievement. It really can help.

And then there are the times that it doesn’t.

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I’ve always been a perfectionist… whether it was beating myself up after winning a game because I hadn’t made every play, or being angry about that one B I got in college. I’ve pushed myself to reach a certain standard, and when I didn’t, I’d be my own worst critic. Motivating, yes – but healthy? Not always.

There’s the stalling effect that perfectionism can have because you always feel like there’s something you could make better, preventing you from ever finishing. There’s the overwhelming pressure of it all. I’ve noticed this tendency coming back more and more lately.

There’s the pressure to hold myself to a standard of blogging everyday, even though I initially set the standard at at least a few times a week. Give it about two weeks of actually posting every weekday, and BOOM. A new standard is set. It’s a good thing – I love seeing the feedback and hearing how people have reacted positively to what I’ve posted. But then there’s the part where it’s taking time away from sleep and from spending time with family – especially Max. There’s the stress of trying to pre-blog for when I am traveling.

Then on top of that, there’s the pressure to write things that matter and will impact people, rather than just writing to write. Don’t get me wrong, I always want to make sure my posts have value. Whether it is a glimpse into my family life so that future clients can get to know the person behind the camera (plus doubling as a descriptive family photo album), a motivational quote to hopefully be just the right words someone needed to hear, or a session recap that highlights my amazing clients in the way they deserve.

There’s the pressure of trying to get sessions edited, blog posts done and galleries posted in no time flat – while also working a full time job and being a wife & mother (AND trying to find some “me” time for reading or time to find ways to keep growing my photography & my business.

 

Now with all of that being said, PLEASE don’t get me wrong. I LOVE these things. I LOVE my clients and getting their images to them quickly. I love the therapeutic nature of writing and how it can connect me with people. I love the feeling of accomplishment and the routine of posting each day on the blog. I love being able to share bits and pieces of my life and struggles to help uplift others. But letting those things turn into the pressure of perfection is not ok.

 

After a little while of walking on that sun-drenchced beach, it dawned on me that it would probably be better to have the cracked shells, the broken ones – they would serve as a reminder that perfection isn’t necessary. That beauty can be found in the broken parts too. Time and experience had worn those shells, and they’d made it through – and there is beauty in that. I hope these shells can serve as a reminder to you, just as they do for me, that perfection is not necessary. 

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Let’s Start A Revolution!

“Ugh…. I haaaaaate this picture of me!”

“O my gosh I look awful!”

“I’m soooo not photogenic!”

 

We’ve all heard it (or something along those lines). I’d be willing to bet we’ve all said it at some point or another. If it’s not 100% perfect, or completely airbrushed, we say it’s not good. We verbally beat ourselves down by beating down the image. It has become an epidemic…. And I’m tired of it. Y’all, we need to quit beating ourselves up! We need to quit fixating on the flaws. We need to quit tossing out decent or good photos because of the tiny things that we dislike.

Sure, let’s be real honest here. Not every photo you take is going to be the most flattering. Not every day is going to be your best hair day. Some clothing or make-up choices may need to simply be let go into the fog of memory rather than immortalized in an image. A bad photo is a bad photo, and that’s ok.

But that doesn’t mean we need to focus solely on the negative in what really are decent (or even good) photos. Just like anything else in life… We can always choose what we focus on. We can choose to see the positive. The pretty. The handsome. We can choose to not give the blemish, the tummy bulge or the gray hairs the power to pull us in. Let’s not let the decent photos be deemed bad because we can’t see past the few things we don’t like. For example:

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This is a fairly good photo, but I admit I instantly focused on the fine lines around my eyes and the bags underneath them. Then I took a second to realize that I love the way my hair looked that day. I’ve got a genuine smile, and how can any photo be bad with that sweet baby girl in it?!?!

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Again, not terrible, but all I could see at first is my ear sticking out of my hair like I’m some sort of elf. Also not a fan of my very sad lack of a tan… I need some sunshine in my life! But I’ve decided to focus on how my cheekbones look good and my earrings look cute.

Like I said.. I’m as guilty as the next person of having photos of myself that I (irrationally) don’t like. Photos where all I can see right off the bat are the things I think aren’t flattering. I’m still guilty because I know I’ve got worse photos of myself that I could have chosen for today’s post. But I’m making the decision that when I have that initial negative reaction like those at the beginning of this post, I’m going to try my best to flip it on it’s head. I’m going to find at least one thing in the photo I do like. I’m not talking about great light, or a great background, or perfect exposure or any other photographic skills. I’m talking about me. I’m going to find something about me that I like in the photo.

 

I’m not going to do this occasionally, or only when I have to do it publicly.

I’m challenging myself to do it every time. With every photo.

And I’m challenging you to do the same. 

The next time you take a photo, if it’s one you’d toss or you start to focus on the negative, I challenge you to put it out there and say what you decided to focus on liking instead. Let’s start a revolution of photo love. Starting loving your photos, and it will keep you loving yourself.

 

Use the #PhotoLoveRevolution hashtag on Instagram and Twitter so I can see the beauty you’re finding in yourself, and challenge your friends and family to do the same. Let’s work together to stop feeling like the only good photo is a “perfect” photo. Who knows, we really could start a revolution…

 

 

Share this with friends and family, especially the women in your life, and encourage them to join in the #PhotoLoveRevolution!!