Show and Tell

It’s kind of my “thing:” telling people to value themselves and make time for themselves and LOVE themselves. I’ve built a photography business around it, people pay me to travel and speak about it, and goodness knows I write about it every chance I get. Every client who walks into our studio gets the pep talk before, during, and after their photo shoot. “You’re good enough exactly as you are! Showing up for yourself is the ultimate form of self-love, since love is proven by action.”

And all along the way I tell myself I love myself too. Of course I practice what I preach, and I never waiver! How could a woman who’s built a business from reminding other women of their inherent beauty and value FORGET that she also must show herself love?

The answer is, I don’t know but forgetting to love myself is all too easy. The worst part is, I don’t notice it until I start to hurt.

Have you ever taken a relationship for granted? Maybe it’s your best friend, your parent, your spouse, your sibling - One day you wake up and you realize you’ve done nothing to show them you love them in AGES. Maybe you’re like me - you struggle with depression so you don’t realize that you haven’t talked to this or that friend in months, and when you realize it the guilt is crippling. Or maybe you’re really really busy. Work, life, and responsibilities take over. You tell the people close to you that you love them, but maybe they don’t believe you because you don’t show it.

Likewise, have you ever taken your relationship with your SELF for granted? Goodness. Welcome to my TED talk: “How to neglect yourself, ignore yourself, and run yourself ragged in order to prove something to “everyone” (?) and then lose sight of your purpose in the process.” I joke about this - because it’s such a struggle for me. It’s easy to TELL myself, and everyone else, that I love myself. But it’s another thing entirely to SHOW it.

Life as a creative is not linear. There isn’t a ladder you climb - instead there are mountains and valleys. I usually don’t realize I’m out of a valley until it’s a month or so behind me. And when I left for vacation two weeks ago, I was nearly burnt out. I had nothing left. I ran away for a week, and that helped. But it wasn’t until I returned and started to actively SHOW myself I care about ME that I started to feel alive again. I’m not just talking about face masks and pints of ice cream. Honestly, for me, ice cream is not self-care. Ice cream makes me bloated and tired and cranky.

For me, self-care is making time for myself. It’s getting the massage I need so my shoulder doesn’t go numb from the hours I spend each week at the computer. It’s planning parties for those who are dear to me. It’s asking for help from people who are happy to help me. It’s driving an hour to see a beautiful film that will inspire and refresh me. It’s making time for people who fill up my heart, and spending intentional time with them. It’s choosing what’s best over what’s easiest.

It’s SHOWING myself I love myself. After all, showing is much harder than telling.

One of my favorite things to tell my clients when they arrive for their photo shoot is, “You did it. You showed yourself love today. Just by carving out three hours to be pampered and have fun, you showed yourself love. And you’re going to feel better for having done it.”

So when you feel tired, depleted, and empty, ask yourself what you need - just like you do when your spouse, child, or friends are upset. Then LISTEN. Finally, act. Show yourself you’re worthy of whatever you’re trying to believe - and friend, eventually you’ll believe it.

-Mitzi


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