On self-acceptance and the ability to heal our self-image / by Karl Ahnee

How hard can it be to "show your face" when you are use to remain behind the camera (in a "selfy oriented" society) ?

I've never really felt good about posting pictures of me... I did a few photo shoots, « as a model » because I was "young" and could use the money (though it didn't pay very well), because my sister told me that I could and should give it a try (peer pressure), and deep inside because it allowed me to get in touch with photographers and a field I felt naturally close to...

The fact however is that "posing" felt awkward back then and it still does somehow. Now posting a picture « of me » is another big step. It basically took me 7 years to post this one, and there’s still a part of me that thinks I probably shouldn’t have.

I guess what I'm trying to say here (will not fit in 1 post), is that getting in touch with our (authentic) self, lies on the path between self-esteem and self-acceptance. While self-esteem might be sustained by the "likeable" things we (and others) see in us, self-acceptance requires us to dive deep beneath the smiles, the looks and the style. All these can be faked or covered with fancy clothes, a fitness coach, a good makeup artist and photoshop.

Genuine self-acceptance is about getting on better terms with who we are. It is a tortuous path on which we get to face and accept all the not so good looking facets of ourselves. It is about dealing with past feelings of rejection, our own limitations, past shame and guilt we might be still holding on to (god knows why), it is about seeing and acknowledging unresolved anger and grudges. Talking about long-term goals here!

In her book, You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay refers to « the part of you that is pure love and self-acceptance »... well 7 years ago that part of me was probably hiding somewhere in the dark trying not to be seen for it feared being mistaken with weakness or scared to be met with criticism.

Today when I look at this picture « of me » I personally see a young man that freezes up when confronted. Someone whose jaws are always a bit tensed because of all the things he would like to voice out without knowing who to. I see a fragile boy with a hard look on his face, who would avoid getting to close to others, afraid that they might not understand him, like him or worst because they might as well turn their back on him at some point. I see someone wounded and that I still have to take care of today, someone that is flawed, biased and who regularly doubt himself.

What I’ve learned however, after all this time fighting the current, is that « it is OK to be me... it truly is » and the only true way to acceptance is in forgiving ourselves AND OTHERS.

Photo : Gilliane Soupe

Photo : Gilliane Soupe