If I asked you to name 10 things you DON’T love about your body or the way you look you could probably come up with them pretty quickly right? But what if I asked you to come up with just 3 things that you DO love about your body and the way you look it – would it be more challenging?

I’ve been doing Taryn Brumfitt’s online embrace program and I have to say that it was eye opening for me to realise how many parts of my body I don’t love and would like to change, as opposed to how many I actually like – it was 10:3!

I’ve been working on embracing myself and accepting my body and the way I look including the thickness of my hair (yes that’s a thing) and I thought I was making some progress. But when I had to sit for a photo shoot recently, I started to get a bit stressed and anxious about it, and my issue with chronic pain started flaring up, and I started getting vertigo and felt a bit nauseous.

I thought I’m going to have to change the shoot date, until I realised all these ‘symptoms’ were just my fears about how I would look in the photos – would all those things that I don’t love be glaringly obvious to the rest of the world? And doesn’t the camera add 10 pounds? How many kilos is that? Eeeekkkk!

I decided I could shrink from the world because I’m not the perfect size, and my hair is not luscious and thick, and my right eye is a different shape to my left eye, and I didn’t get time to get all the dead skin off my heels, OR I could #embrace myself for all my imperfections and uniqueness, accept that this is the body I was lucky to be born in, and choose to love myself and step out into the world (or at least onto the verandah for the photo shoot).

And I did.

And when I looked at the first few photos that Amani took on her camera, I breathed a sign of relief (I may have even smiled).

They weren’t bad like I had imagined. They weren’t bad at all. My makeup looked fab thanks to my sister, Marian. My hair was pretty good. Sure, my eyes were different, but hey, so were Elvis’. And even though, if I’m really honest, I would still love to lose a few pounds (or is it kilos?) I can look beyond my outside appearance and the gorgeous kimono I was wearing, and see all the beauty that is inside me.

Like my willingness to move beyond society’s expectations of what beauty is; what success is; what being a good mother looks like; and how thick my hair should be! To figuring out what I believe in; what I’m passionate about; what’s important to me; and what beauty means to me.

These photos are beautiful because they capture me – just as I am.

So #Ihaveembraced (or at least I’m learning to) and I am hoping it’s not too late to model this to my own daughter. To teach her, after years of shaming my own body that we are not what we look like or what we do, or what we own, or how others see us. We are, in each of our own unique ways, beautiful, whole and complete – just as we are.

Stay tuned for more pics from my photoshoot with the incredibly talented Amani Lindsell from @thewomenspic

I would not have been so comfortable and at home in myself without Amani’s gentle guiding hand and gracious eye! With her husband, Richard she has just launched a new website The Women’s Pic and also offers photography shoots for women for business, lifestyle or just to capture your truly beautiful and awesome self!

If you want to embrace all that you are, check out @bodyimagemovement and while you are there support her campaign to raise funds for an Embrace Kids doco, so kids can learn to embrace young and start to change the culture of what is beautiful.

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